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Virginia Lawmaker Says ‘Sea Level Rise’ Is A ‘Left Wing Term,’ Excises It From State Report On Coastal Flooding

Posted by Mulva 
Virginia’s legislature commissioned a $50,000 study to determine the impacts of climate change on the state’s shores. To greenlight the project, they omitted words like “climate change” and “sea level rise” from the study’s description itself. According to the House of Delegates sponsor of the study, these are “liberal code words,” even though they are noncontroversial in the climate science community.

Instead of using climate change, sea level rise, and global warming, the study uses terms like “coastal resiliency” and “recurrent flooding.”

Republican State Delegate Chris Stolle, who steered the legislation, cut “sea level rise” from the draft. Stolle has also said the “jury’s still out” on humans’ impact on global warming:

State Del. Chris Stolle, R-Virginia Beach, who insisted on changing the “sea level rise” study in the General Assembly to one on “recurrent flooding,” said he wants to get political speech out of the mix altogether.

He said “sea level rise” is a “left-wing term” that conjures up animosities on the right. So why bring it into the equation?

“What people care about is the floodwater coming through their door,” Stolle said. “Let’s focus on that. Let’s study that. So that’s what I wanted us to call it.”


There is a resistance to calling science what it is, even in the studies commissioned to investigate the impact of climate change. The reality is that coastal cities are spending millions to respond to rising sea levels, like Norfolk, Virginia. Norfolk spends $6 million a year to elevate roads, improve drainage, and help homeowners raise their houses, according to BBC. Already, 5 percent to 10 percent of the city’s lowest-lying neighborhoods have heavy flooding. The world’s largest naval base, based in Norfolk, is spending hundreds of millions to replace piers to withstand rising water. Yet they manage to make no mention of climate change or sea level rise in their response strategy.

[thinkprogress.org]
Ostrich... this is sand.

Sand... ostrich.
"I hope you don't drown with your head in the sand from the recurrant flooding."
Following this in North Carolina:

[thinkprogress.org]

At the Scopes Monkey Trial, Clarence Darrow gave a brilliant speech, but the cynical journalist H.L. Mencken told him "You may as well have shouted it up a waterspout in Outer Mongolia for all the effect it will have on your listeners ..

Ditto here.
I could mention that only one major political party is pursuing this "pretend it's not happening" course.

____________________________________________
Ebola - Being Contained in a Neighborhood Near Me.
I was born and spent the better part of my younger childhood in Norfolk. It's a shame to know what's happening to my home town. Even more of a shame to see this kind of response to it.

============================================================================

Tax the rich & raise minimum wage.
I don't approve of politicians dictating to scientists what language they can use in reports. However, since scientific reports have policy ramifications scientists should be careful to use terms properly. There is difference between subsidence, erosion and sea level rise. Erosion and subsidence account for the loss of shoreline in places like neighboring Maryland and further away in Galveston Texas. See [oceanservice.noaa.gov] and [docs.google.com]

Erosion prevention is the best approach so save shorelines. For example pass land use laws that prevent construction in areas unsuitable for development.
You know; keep pretending its not happening.

============================================================================

Tax the rich & raise minimum wage.
sardonicadonis Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> You know; keep pretending its not happening.

sardonicadonis,
I know! Too many people refuse to protect the environment if it means that they might have to say "no" to development and activity which destroy wetlands which naturally control and prevent flooding and erosion.
However, since scientific reports have policy ramifications scientists should be careful to use terms properly. - Curt

Are you referring to any specific report?
Mulva Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> However, since scientific reports have policy
> ramifications scientists should be careful to use
> terms properly. - Curt
>
> Are you referring to any specific report?


Mulva,
No. There are countless reports from scientists and researchers that influence policy. For example, the TransCanada Keystone Pipeline project is subject to, I am sure, many studies and reports. Of course, there are the FDR era flood control acts.
If you don't know of any reports that use those terms improperly, why did you make it a point to say that scientists should be careful to use terms properly?
Mulva Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> If you don't know of any reports that use those
> terms improperly, why did you make it a point to
> say that scientists should be careful to use terms
> properly?

Mulva,
I looked at over a half dozen articles on this, trying to find a link to the study. I never saw the original study, but all the reporting seems to indicate that sea level rise is the sole culprit in Virginia's loss of shoreline. Clearly that's not the case--subsidence and erosion account for most of the problem on the east coast. [en.wikipedia.org]

It's also not clear to me why the state of Virginia commissioned a study by Virginia scientists to make predictions about Climate Change sea level increases. Presumably, Global Cimate Change will cause the sea level to rise the same amount in Virginia, Maryland, Denmark or any other place. What is unique to Virginia is how they deal with development near the shoreline and how they protect their wetlands.
It's also not clear to me why the state of Virginia commissioned a study by Virginia scientists to make predictions about Climate Change sea level increases. - Curt

That's not what they were requesting the study for.

SENATE JOINT RESOLUTION NO. 76

Requesting the Virginia Institute of Marine Science to study strategies for adaptation to prevent recurrent flooding in Tidewater and Eastern Shore Virginia localities. Report.

Agreed to by the Senate, February 28, 2012

greed to by the House of Delegates, February 24, 2012


WHEREAS, relative sea-level rise has been identified as a threat to coastal Virginia, and relative sea level measured at Sewells Point, Norfolk, has risen by 14.5 inches since 1930; and

WHEREAS, scientists predict an additional 2.3 to 5.2 feet of relative sea-level rise in the Chesapeake Bay region by 2100; and

WHEREAS, the Norfolk-Virginia Beach Metropolitan Statistical Area ranks tenth globally in the value of assets exposed to increased flooding from sea-level rise; and

WHEREAS, many areas of Hampton Roads already experience extreme flooding from routine weather events, causing extensive damage to private property and public infrastructure; and

WHEREAS, the Port of Hampton Roads is a major driver of the regional and state economy, and must be protected; and

WHEREAS, Naval Station Norfolk and Hampton Roads' other military bases are vital to our national security, and their operational capabilities must not be limited by increased flooding; and

WHEREAS, the costs of adapting to relative sea-level rise far exceed the capacity of local governments and residents to bear alone; and

WHEREAS, there are many local, regional, state, and federal partners who have a stake in coordinating their efforts to address the problems associated with relative sea-level rise; now, therefore, be it

RESOLVED by the Senate, the House of Delegates concurring, That the Virginia Institute of Marine Science be requested to study strategies for adaptation to prevent recurrent flooding in Tidewater and Eastern Shore Virginia localities.

In conducting its study, the Virginia Institute of Marine Science shall (i) review and develop a comprehensive list of ideas and examples of strategies used in similar settings around the United States and the world; (ii) convene a stakeholder advisory panel for the purpose of discussing and assessing the feasibility of employing these strategies in Tidewater and Eastern Shore Virginia; and (iii) offer specific recommendations for the detailed investigation of preferred options for adapting to relative sea-level rise.

The study shall include the participation of the Hampton Roads Planning District Commission and its member localities and Old Dominion University. All agencies of the Commonwealth shall provide assistance to the Virginia Institute of Marine Science for this study, upon request.

The Virginia Institute of Marine Science shall complete its meetings by November 30, 2012, and shall submit to the Governor and the General Assembly an executive summary and a report of its findings and recommendations for publication as a House or Senate document. The executive summary and report shall be submitted as provided in the procedures of the Division of Legislative Automated Systems for the processing of legislative documents and reports no later than the first day of the 2013 Regular Session of the General Assembly and shall be posted on the General Assembly's website. [lis.virginia.gov]
Mulva Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> WHEREAS, relative sea-level rise has been
> identified as a threat to coastal Virginia, and
> relative sea level measured at Sewells Point,
> Norfolk, has risen by 14.5 inches since 1930;

Mulva,
The operative word here is "relative". That is the sea seems higher largely because coastal land in Virginia is sinking and/or eroding . According to [sos.noaa.gov] the sea level has been steadily rising since 1900 at a rate of 1 to 2.5 millimeters per year. Using NOAA's numbers that calculates out to about 140 millimeters (5.5 inches) since 1930. So two thirds of Virgina's shoreline problems stem from land use (really misuse) issues. The erosion and subsidence part of the equation is the part that Virginia legislators could most effectively and most immediately effect. But somehow erosion control and protecting wetlands don't get much attention.
The operative word here is "relative"... - Curt

Right. So what's your beef?

But somehow erosion control and protecting wetlands don't get much attention.

They don't? Why do you say that?



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 06/12/2012 10:22PM by Mulva.
Mulva Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> The operative word here is "relative"... - Curt
>
> Right. So what's your beef?
>
> But somehow erosion control and protecting
> wetlands don't get much attention.
>
> They don't? Why do you say that?


Aside from me, have you read commentary or any article about the loss of Virginia shoreline (in particular recent articles generated by Chris Stolle's edict) that mention erosion or subsidence? How many have you seen that focus on Climate Change?
Aside from me, have you read commentary or any article about the loss of Virginia shoreline (in particular recent articles generated by Chris Stolle's edict) that mention erosion or subsidence?

[www.google.com]
Mulva Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> I haven't done much reading on it.


Since you brought the issue up, I have. All that I've read, and that's about ten article so far, mention Climate Change or Global Warming and none mention erosion or subsidence. Which is odd, since the latter is two-thirds of Virginia's problem and the part that could be most readily addressed.
How about a sample article link?

You might also find this of interest: Spatial variability of late Holocene and 20th century sea-level rise along the Atlantic coast of the United States [www.sas.upenn.edu]
Mulva Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Aside from me, have you read commentary or any
> article about the loss of Virginia shoreline (in
> particular recent articles generated by Chris
> Stolle's edict) that mention erosion or
> subsidence?
>

Mulva,
As I wrote, I was asking about articles that in particular related the recent Chris Stolle edict.

But thanks for helping me to make my case. Your search for "Virginia erosion subsidence" yeilded about 1,730,000 results. (Did you notice that my post is fifth on that Google search?) Now Google "Virginia Climate Change". That yields about 34,000,000 results. So why would two thirds of a problem only get 1/20th of the attention? Seems out of whack to me.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 06/12/2012 11:09PM by Curt Anderson.
So why would two thirds of a problem only get 1/20th of the attention?

Because while there has always been erosion and subsidence, the current human-caused global warming problem is relatively new and carries with it far more serious implications.

Where did you read that erosion and subsidence are 2/3 of the problem in Virginia?



Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 06/12/2012 11:55PM by Mulva.
Google hits:

Virginia Stolle "global warming" - 71,200

Virginia Stolle erosion - 96,500

Virginia Stolle substinence - 67,000
Mulva Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> So why would two thirds of a problem only get
> 1/20th of the attention?
>
> Because while there has always been erosion and
> subsidence, the current human-caused global
> warming problem is relatively new and carries with
> it far more serious implications.


In regards to Virginia's shoreline, I don't see how you can draw that conclusion. Since 1930 the sea has risen about 5 inches while the land dropped about ten inches. Furthermore, there is nothing that Virginia can do to regarding Climate Change that will effect the univeral rise in sea level that could even come close to the much more profound effect they could have if they more assiduously addressed the problems of land use, erosion and wetlands, etc. in their state.

>
> So why would two thirds of a problem only get
> 1/20th of the attention?
>
> Where did you read that erosion and subsidence are
> 2/3 of the problem in Virginia?


From what you posted (and I quoted) and NOAA's site. See my post of June 12, 2012 12:18PM above
Mulva Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Google hits:
>
> Virginia Stolle "global warming" - 71,200
>
> Virginia Stolle erosion - 96,500

Look who is the author of the first two search results---moi! Notice how many of the top search results use the term "erosion". For example it's "erosion of his prospects for eventual national office", etc. Many of the others refer to some sheriff in Virginian named "Ken Stolle" and have noting to do with this issue.

>
> Virginia Stolle substinence - 67,000

You meant to search for "Virginia Stolle subsidence" And you'll get 56,000 results. Look who is the author of the first search result---moi! Many of the others refer to some sheriff in Virginian named "Ken Stolle" and have noting to do with this issue.
Thanks for the correction. That's still a lot of hits. I can see the problem with the word "erosion", but subsidence is a very specific term. If the word subsidence appears on the same web site as Sheriff Ken Stolle, then it's probably a pretty sure bet that the reference is about coastal flooding.
Mulva,
The biggest take away in your search results example is that Google rates the posts of little ol' me as the most relevant of all the thousands of results that person might see in their search for information about Virginia erosion and subsidence. That I am the preeminent voice on this topic shows that it's not getting proper attention.
Curt, I don't know about Virginia, but in Maryland they've been addressing beach erosion as far back as I can remember - way before anyone was talking about global warming. One thing they did, I think back in the 60s and 70s, was build jetties up and down the beaches. What causes you to believe that erosion and subsidence aren't getting proper attention?
Mulva Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Curt,...What causes you to believe that
> erosion and subsidence aren't getting proper
> attention?


Ipso facto, they haven't solved their problem or even the two thirds of the problem that erosion and subsidence contribute to the relative rise in sea level. I wonder if they have reduced the loss or solved any of their coastal-degradation problems? I've been to Virginia a few times, although I don't have a clear memory of their coast. I've spent time in neighboring South Carolina and there they are doing everything wrong in regards to protecting their shorelines.
Mulva Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> One thing they did, I think
> back in the 60s and 70s, was build jetties up and
> down the beaches.


Mulva,
Incidentally... "Sea walls, jetties, and bulkheads may contribute to erosion because they affect natural water currents and prevent sand from shifting along coastlines to replenish beaches." Source: [oceanservice.noaa.gov]
Yeah, there's a difference of opinion on measures like jetties. They've also done a lot of dredging and building up beaches. It's an ongoing problem, and everyone thinks they have a better way of addressing it.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 06/13/2012 02:34AM by Mulva.
"How high is the water, Poppa?
Six feet high and rising."

I wonder if they will try to change the words to the song?


Mac
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