Tides Rise In Norfolk: What Does It Mean?
The New York Times has a fascinating story about rising tides in Norfolk, Virginia and the reaction of local residents.
Many Norfolk residents hope their problems will serve as a warning.
“We are the front lines of climate change,” said Jim Schultz, a science and technology writer who lives on Richmond Crescent…No one who has a house here is a skeptic.”
Now, I’m the first one to mock climate skeptics when they use a cold winter as evidence that climate change is not happening. As the popular saying goes, “the plural of anecdote is not data.” So why do rising tides in Virginia mean more than a cold winter? The main reason is that it fits exactly with the predictions of the vast majority of climate scientists (much like their prediction of more extreme weather events).
The other reason that a story like this is important is that it highlights the irreversibility of climate change. If the vast majority of scientists are wrong about climate change then there will be large economic consequences from acting on it. Those are definitely significant and a reason we should be thoughtful about our response to the threat of climate change. However if the vast majority of scientists are right, then the consequence of doing nothing is that Norfolk and many communities like it will disappear.Click here for reuse options!
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