As Hurricane Florence approaches the east coast today with high winds and massive amounts of rainfall, residents of North Carolina will pay the price for political bias.
When North Carolina got bad news in 2012 about what its coast could look like thanks to climate change, the Republicans in office chose to ignore it.
They even passed a law that banned policies based upon such forecasts. The legislation drew universal ridicule. Comedian Stephen Colbert mocked the legislation at the time saying, "If your science gives you a result you don't like, pass a law saying the result is illegal. Problem solved."
But the problem wasn't solved. Far from it.
While other eastern seaboard states have been looking at the long term effects of climate change, and passing legislation addressing it, North Carolina remained mired in political hogwash. And denial of what could happen.
Fact: North Carolina has a long, low-lying coastline and is considered one the US areas most vulnerable to rising sea levels.
Instead of addressing the dire predictions coastal developers and their political allies argued the rise in sea level wouldn't be anywhere as bad as the models predicted. They claimed such forecasts could unnecessarily hurt property values and drive up insurance costs.
Orrin Pilkey, a retired Duke University coastal geologist said the state has failed to prepare for rising sea levels.
In a recent Op Ed he said, “Instead coastal development flourishes as more beachfront buildings, highways and bridges are built to ease access to our beautiful beaches.
Currently the unspoken plan is to wait until the situation is catastrophic, and then respond.”
That time has arrived.
Time for me to walk on down the road...