NC bill says only NC commission can calculate future sea level rise

A bill approved in the North Carolina Senate this week states only the N.C. Coastal Resources Commission can calculate how fast the sea is rising for state governmental purposes. The bill also states those calculations must be based on historic trends, which are much lower than a state-appointed science panel’s calculation.

The science panel projects sea levels to rise by more than three feet by 2100, which could threaten 2,000 square miles of coastland, according to The Daily Reflector.

But despite the science panel’s findings, the Commission said North Carolina should plan to see sea levels rise by about eight inches.

According to the circulated Replacement House Bill 819 – courtesy of Scientific American, “The Division of Coastal Management shall be the only State agency authorized to develop rates of sea-level rise and shall do so only at the request of the Commission.”

The bill goes on to state, “these rates shall only be determined using historical data, and these data shall be limited to the time period following the year 1900. Rates of seas-level rise may be extrapolated linearly to estimate future rates of rise but shall not include scenarios of accelerated rates of sea-level rise.”

The N.C. Senate approved the bill on a 35-to-12 vote Tuesday, according to Hampton Road. The bill will now go back to the House for a vote.

The Commissions’ use of historic data to make future projections generated a great deal of mocking from late night talk show host Stephen Colbert on Comedy Central’s The Colbert Report recently.