What fools these mortals be….Shakespeare

Sea-levels on planet Earth have been rising and falling for millions of years responding to natural dynamic geophysical forces, cooling and warming climate changes and the gravitational influence of its moon. Daily tides vary from a few inches to many feet in various locations. Rarely, earthquakes shift the tectonic plates or volcanoes erupt and create unusually large and temporarily destructive tidal waves. Earth’s seas are ever changing, dynamic systems.

For millennia people have lived with, learned to adapt to and thrived near these environments, despite seasonal threats from cyclonic winds and flooding rains. This is the world in which we live—with powerful, natural conditions we cannot control.

Unfortunately, we also live in this world with people who believe that government agents must control our lives because we citizens are too stupid or foolish to figure out what’s best for us and how to achieve it. Enter another political, meddling agency here in North Carolina.

The Coastal Resources Commission “oversees development in the state’s 20 coastal counties,” as stated in a recent Wilmington StarNews article by Kate Queram. (http://www.starnewsonline.com/article/20140731/ARTICLES/140739944/0/search)

This political group has been interfering in the affairs of coastal people for years. It’s revealed that they possess crystal balls that predict future natural events including, not long ago a “controversial sea-level rise report,” as Ms. Queram described it.

Looking deeply into their globe, the CRC soothsayers predict an event that will occur nearly 100 years hence. The CRC concludes that people along the Atlantic coast in North Carolina must prepare for 39 inches of sea-level rise by the year 2100—not 26 inches or 48 inches, but “39” inches; and not next year, or thousands of years in the future, but in 86 years. This prophetic arrogance exceeds only the audacity of special knowledge upon which it is based. From whence does that awareness come?—not from experience or credible science based on observations and experiments.

The CRC appointed a pseudo- “science panel.” These North Carolina judges of nature bought into the “findings” of a worldlier group: The Intergovernmental Panel for Climate Change. Those political activists have for years promoted a theory that man-made “pollutants” cause atmospheric temperatures to rise. The concocted unproven theory energizes environmental activists and duped politicians to predict all manner of catastrophes including, unusually high sea levels expected to arrive at arbitrary times.

The IPCC promotes fears, predicts disasters and demands government policies to restrict our use of Carboniferous fuel based on mathematical models. They and supporters reject empirical evidence from scientists who refute their “consensus” and “settled-science” claims. Science has nothing to do with consensus and theories proposed are never permanently established while doubt remains of their validity. Not understanding this, or willfully ignoring it, the CRC Panel drafted a policy which “originally recommended that coastal communities prepare for a 1 meter, or 39 inches, of sea-level rise by 2100.”

Any rational, educated person knows that no one can predict future events. Properly trained meteorologists know that weather events can only generally be forecast a few days in advance. Predicting the future may help give the appearance of wisdom, but it is foolish.

Knowing that the CRC was on very shaky ground, the State legislators put a moratorium on any “official rates of sea-level rise for regulatory purposes” and required the CRC to compare actual historical data with the guess-work based on predictive models. Also the final report will include an economic analysis; something rarely required of government planners.

CRC Chairman Frank Gorham, realizing their credibility was at stake, backed down the predictions to 30 years. Yet he had the audacity to say, “People can think in 30-year time frames.” Some individuals may think that far ahead, say planning for retirement, but no one can predict future events—either manmade or natural. Further, we know that politicians and government planners are notoriously wrong about their schemes on how we should live. So, what’s next?

I predict the CRC Panel will continue bodaciously toward drafting a report “update” that will come up with a predicted sea-level rise. I also predict that what we will have here, rather than recognition of errors, mistakes or blunders, is a failure to communicate. Margery Overton, chairwomen of the science panel, said that in their original report they didn’t overlook historical records from tidal gauges along the North Carolina coast; rather they didn’t “emphasize it so much.” And, we can predict that evidence questioning the predictions of rising sea levels will be unavailable.

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About R. E. Smith Jr.

Mr. Smith writes essays and commentary on politics, American history, environment, higher education and culture. He's been published in print media and at blog sites for about 25 years. Smith's formal education includes B.S. and M.S. degrees from the State University of New York and Syracuse University. He has earned a 21-credit hour Certificate in Professional Writing from the University of North Carolina-Wilmington. Training/work experience: NYS Ranger School; U. S. Army, Corp of Engineers; soil scientist and forester with USDA; Assoc. Professor at SUNY; real estate agent; small business owner.
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