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North Carolina Bans Climate Change Data?

North Carolina Bans Climate Change Data?

The climate change debate has just taken yet another strange turn in the US state of North Carolina, where a new bill seeks to ban the use of climate change data for developing coastal regulations.  Proponents of this new legislation say that climate change projections based on research would spell a “death sentence” for coastal development. The death sentence they’re referring to involves the fact that with rising sea levels and more extreme weather predictions, insurance rates and building regulations will discourage people from doing business and further developing the state’s coast.  As a result they’ve come up with one of the more national and internationally ridiculed law proposals, banning the use of climate change research.

This new policy comes as a reaction to new research released earlier this month by US Geological Survey scientists, who indicated that the east coast of the US (which includes North Carolina) will be more impacted by climate change and rising sea levels than any other region in the country.  N.C.’s legislature became majority republican in the last election (2010) with particular help from the tea party conservative movement who by and large view climate change as weak and politicized science.  Sponsors of the bill have rolled out their own research that contains examples of how in some parts of the state, sea levels have actually receded.

Researchers from the state’s prestigious universities such as Duke and North Carolina State have called both the bill and its alleged scientific backing an embarrassment and a danger to scientific research.  Considering the recent political history of the United States and the fragile economic situation of the country, it isn’t beyond possibility that other states along the east coast would attempt to adopt similar policies to try and hold back new regulations that take into account major environmental changes in the near future.

Source: LA Times

Photo: ferret111 / flickr

Eric Hardin†, M. Onur Kurum‡, Helena Mitasova, and Margery F. Overton (2012). Least Cost Path Extraction of Topographic Features for Storm Impact Scale Mapping Coastal Research DOI: 10.2112/JCOASTRES-D-11-00126.1

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