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Climate deniers poised to take over North Carolina's scientific committee on sea level rise

The state continues to believe that ignoring the problem will make it go away


Lindsay Abrams
May 22, 2014 12:27AM (UTC)

North Carolina, the state where all three GOP Senate candidates are competing to see who can best deny the reality of man-made climate change, faces over 3 feet of sea level rise in the coming century: a fact that, in 2012, the Republican Legislature formally voted to ignore (and which, in light of recent news, is likely an underestimation). And the hits to the coastal state's hopes of preparing for its watery future just keep coming: A science panel put together by the Coastal Resources Commission, a committee designed to study the effects of sea level rise, is about to be overtaken by climate deniers.

Climate Progress has the scoop on nominations for the Science Panel on Coastal Hazards submitted by current member Larry Baldwin, himself a climate denier. Unsurprisingly, Baldwin's top picks all appear to believe, as he does, that sea level rise isn't a real problem.

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Presenting the proposed all-star team:

  • Nicola Scafetta, a researcher with the Duke University Physics Department, who calls man's contribution to climate change "significantly overestimated.”
  • David Burton, the science adviser for an economic development group that contends that a warming planet wouldn't bring about accelerated sea level rise. "If you want to get a balanced answer from somebody on a highly politicized issue, you need to have a politically balanced panel," Burton told E&E News, explaining why more Republicans were needed on the panel.
  • Robert Brown, who argues against preparing for sea level rise, because it would mean spending time and money on an unproven problem.

Reflecting on the committee's troubles, current panel member Spencer Rogers, an engineer with the North Carolina Sea Grant, mused that things could be worse. "Not many states in the nation have a legislative requirement to study sea-level rise," Rogers told E&E News. But others threatened to quit if the panel became overrun with partisans in place of scientists. Not, of course, that any of that will stop the waters from rising.


Lindsay Abrams

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Related Topics ------------------------------------------

Climate Change Climate Change Denialism Climate Skeptics North Carolina Republicans Sea Level Rise

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