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North Carolina’s attempted ban on sea level rise is a boon for Global Draining researchers

News broke yesterday that NC-20, a lobbying group for coastal development that, among other things, thinks property owners should be allowed to dump chemical waste directly into our watersheds, is sponsoring legislation that would outlaw outlaw sea level rise. Ignoring the fact that you can’t actually sue the ocean, what they’re actually promoting is a law that would prevent the state from using any sea surface model that extrapolates future ocean trends using anything but a linear regression. Essentially, they’re making it illegal for the state to anticipate future changes to the coastline, plan and prepare for potential flooding, or restrict development on transient barrier islands.

Several other blogs have been highly critical of this move, pointing out how massively boneheaded and anti-science it is, observing how cynical NC-20 must be to try to pawn off low-value real estate by legislating an artificially inflated price, and bemoaning the state of our state’s scientific understanding. Longtime readers will not be surprised to learn that Southern Fried Science does not share these views. Indeed, we see this new legislation as an opportunity to finally gain recognition for our rigorously assessed, completely transparent, statistically sound theory of Global Draining.

What in the world is global draining? Over two years ago, I sat on the beach recording changes in sea level over a period of time. Based on those measurements, I concluded unambiguously that not only was the sea level falling, but it was falling at such a prodigious rate that the ocean will be completely empty by 2026! Following some in-depth (pun. intended.) discussions with Dr. Craig at Deep Sea News, we decided to revise those initial estimates to a much more conservative, but still dramatic decrease of 0.15 inches per day. The conclusions are unavoidable. The ocean is draining, it’s draining fast, and unless someone steps up to plug the hole, there won’t be a North Carolina coastline, just vast stretches of Piedmont, occasionally interrupted by Bermuda.

So why does NC-20 give me hope? Because under this new legislation, which requires sea level models to be linear extrapolations using only historical data from after 1900, Global Draining is now a completely valid and scientific(tm) model for predicting changes in sea level! After 2 years on the side-lines as a maverick theory, our observations will finally get their day in court. This should be a great boon for NC-20 and other coastal development groups, as once global draining is recognized as law, huge tracts of new coastlines will open up, and continue to open up. Current coastal residents will be force to buy new property as their houses move slowly inland.

Global Draining may not be the economic boon the North Carolina needs, but, given the current spate of ill-informed legislation, it’s the economic boon North Carolina deserves!


*for anyone interested in a take down of why the anti-sea level rise legislation is completely bogus, check out Global Climate Change: A Primer by North Carolina’s own coastal dynamics expert Orrin Pilkey, which, though written almost a year ago, directly addresses the “science” behind this recent, bizarre piece of legislation.

*While we welcome informed debate, we’re not going to waste our time with tedious and thoroughly debunked climate change denials. If you’re argument has been covered ad nauseum on on Skeptical Science, please don’t post it here.


Deep-sea biologist, population/conservation geneticist, backyard farm advocate. The deep sea is Earth's last great wilderness.


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