The Boss needs to be told about a fiendishly simple way of dealing with politically bothersome forecasts.
We don’t want to hear that our Budget surplus in 2014/15 might be a defict, for example. So slap a ban on the publication of the results of any model that shows anything but a surplus.
The same goes for unemployment forecasts, growth forecasts, and – of course – all those bloody forecasts that suggest the state coffers won’t be able to cope with the number of oldies in our community unless we lift the age of entitlement to superannuation.
Yep. Simply ban the forecasts and – for good measure – make it a prisonable offence (a) to engage in the modelling that paints disagreeable pictures of our future and/or (b) to disseminate this pap to the populace.
Yeah, it sounds a bit like King Canute’s commanding the tide to stop coming in (although he was demonstrating that his powers were limited and that some things were beyond his control).
But we are living in an era when turning back a tide of disagreeable forecasts and modelling results can be done as we learn here.
The State legislators in North Carolina show us how.
They have found a neat way of planning for the consequences of widely accepted predictions that sea level could rise by more than three feet by 2100.
They have banned the predictions.
That state’s Senate on Tuesday approved a bill mandating that only the state’s Coastal Resources Commission can predict sea-level rise for use in developing regulations. No problem there: It was the CRC that issued a report in 2010 saying the state should prepare for a 39-inch rise in sea level by the end of the century.
But the state’s coastal economic development group took issue with that number, citing flawed research, and said planning for such a high number would stunt development along the state’s 300 miles of coastline. And it got its own group of scientists to dispute the commission’s findings and applied enough pressure to get the 39 inches revised down to 15 inches.
That number’s likely to go lower: The new bill also would mandate the CRC predict sea-level rise based on historical data and ignore predictions based on climate change and melting glaciers. Historical trends suggest an 8-inch rise in sea level by 2100.
Obviously there’s a big difference in planning for an eight-inch increase in sea level and 39-inch increase, whether you’re dealing with coastal development, infrastructure or emergency services.
North Carolina – a coastal state of the USA – is not alone.
Last year, the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality deleted references to rising sea levels in a study of Galveston Bay. In Virginia, a sea-level rise study was approved by state legislators, but not until “sea-level rise” became “recurrent flooding.”
Other states, though, aren’t taking issue with the science.
The article that provided Alf with this information goes on to quote from a story in the News Observer in Raleigh, North Carolina.
It tells us what some other coastal states are preparing for:
Maine, an up to 2 meter increase by 2100; Delaware, 1.5 meters; Louisiana, 1 meter; California, 1.4 meters.
Which coastal states will better protect their coastlines, and residents, over the next 80 years? Only time will tell, of course.
Dunno what sort of planning we are doing.
Must have a natter with Steven Joyce. He is bound to know because he is Minister of Just About Everything Important.
But a chat with The Boss and Bill English is on the agenda too, to raise the matter of banning any forecasting that might undermine what we Nats are saying about this country’s bright future.
The official figures of the sea level in New Zealand are freely available from the website of the Permanent Service for Mean Sea Level here.
Gotta say it is comforting to find Eketahuna North won’t be too much troubled by what has been predicted.