Global-warming forecast sparks battle in North Carolina

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Three years ago, North Carolina officials were warning that the Atlantic Ocean will be 39 inches higher by the end of the century, swamping homes on the Outer Banks.

In reaction, coastal residents joined forces with climate skeptics and attacked the science of global warming, according to a report in the Washington Post. The state’s Republican-controlled legislature ditched the projection, which had been advanced under the outgoing Democratic governor.

The state is working on a new forecast that will look only 30 years out and show the seas rising by no more than eight inches.

Environmentalists are appalled and North Carolina has been lampooned as a hotbed of greedy developers trying to “outlaw” the rising tide, the Post said. Some climate-change experts are sympathetic. They say the rebellion is an understandable reaction to sea-level forecasts that are rapidly becoming both widely available and alarmingly precise.

“The main problem they have is fear,” Michael Orbach, a marine policy professor at Duke University who has met with coastal leaders, told the Post. “They realize this is going to have a huge impact on the coastal economy and coastal development interests. And, at this point, we don’t actually know what we’re going to do about it.”