A rather interesting lecture today at the legislature by John Droz, who has figured prominently in the state’s debate over sea-level rise standards.
Some takeaways: Apparently, many of our state’s scientists are actually anti-science and environmentalists are accepting their ideas in cult-like manner. Or something. (Update: here’s the link to a larger version of the slideshow, entitled Science Under Assault.)
There’s a breathtaking amount of irony in this presentation. Pretty sure this story will be making the rounds of various science blogs in short order.
You can watch some of the presentation and decide for yourselves. BTW, this will totally thrill those of you who enjoy watching someone read you a 150 or so slide Power Point presentation.
No one with any sense is arguing that it is not real, although this year during the sea level rise debate several North Carolina legislators enjoyed waving around copies of a copy of Newsweek from the 70s that featured a teasing headline about a new ice age (guess if it’s a headline it must be a scientific consensus, right?).
The fight, unfortunately, is whether humans have anything to do with it. It should not be a big fight, but it serves entrenched and wealthy interests and so it is. Science be damned for profits. That provides the financial fuel to support the opposition, which has made denial a cottage industry for activists and a dependable source of campaign cash for politicians willing to take the right positions.
Here in North Carolina, the climate change conflict has a twist. The question isn’t whether humans are causing change, but whether we should do anything about it.
During our legislature’s debate on the subject, we saw people in opposition to new policies who probably do understand that climate change is real and man-made. But pushed by deep-pocket coastal development interests they’re determined to fight it from becoming a basis for public policy as long as possible.
While that’s damaging enough, the way they’ve gone about it has made it worse. Rather than appeal to pragmatism and cautioning against a too-fast approach in the remedies, they’re cynically using deniers to push their point. They’ve chosen to fight the science and not the policy.
The battle in North Carolina is not just about the coast. As the chart above for Raleigh and for places in the mountains and Sandhills show, climate change will affect the whole state. We may not be able to understand the effects as well as we can understand the fact that the sea will rise, but a rapid rise in temps will impact our lives and all living things around us. There are many choices ahead in what to do, but the only one sure to hurt us is nothing.
In this election, people need to know where those who want to represent them stand on this issue and whether they believe in basing policy on science at all.