HICKS COLUMN: State looks foolish in denying global warming

Sure climate change is natural, but right now it's changing 10,000 to 40,000 times faster than it did in the past.

It's about time South Carolina stood up to climate change and declared that it doesn't exist.

That'll teach the environment.

The Department of Natural Resources has wisely amended its “controversial” climate-change study. It dropped an executive summary that had the audacity to state as fact the notion that temperatures are going up at an alarming rate, and that all sort of other pesky developments now threaten the planet.

That scientific mumbo jumbo has been replaced by gems of wisdom like this from DNR Director Alvin Taylor:

“Some have argued that the natural variability and chance have been the major influences over climate change, that this is a natural process, and that climate scientists have been overreacting.”

There you go. No matter what 99 out of 100 climatologists say, as long as one scientist says they're wrong, we can choose to ignore it.

And the fact that that one scientist is on Big Oil's payroll.

But Taylor is obviously smarter than his predecessor, who was let go after daring to acknowledge the existence of global warming.

He has figured out that in politics, facts don't matter.

Darn statistics

Unfortunately, the Earth has an annoying tendency to do whatever it darn well pleases.

And College of Charleston professor Phillip Dustan will tell you it's changing. Sure climate change is natural, but right now it's changing 10,000 to 40,000 times faster than it did in the past. Yikes.

And we can't ignore it just because one political party, with a disdain for science, wants to deny it for electoral gains.

“It's irresponsible to say we don't believe in global warming and therefore it's not happening,” Dustan says. “We're just beginning to see the beginning of climate change.”

In other words, naysayers can go to the beach and stick their heads in the sand all they want, but pretty soon they are going to be under water.

Deny, deny, deny

It won't be long before South Carolina follows its sister state into further lunacy. Last year North Carolina considered redacting data from a report on sea-level changes so coastal counties wouldn't have to deal with it.

That makes about as much sense as the time scientists noted a serious decrease in oxygen levels in the Cooper River caused by too much development. Rather than slow development, the Legislature changed the legal amount of oxygen required for the river.

Fact is, Hurricane Hugo was nothing compared to what's coming. Just look at your insurance bill — big business knows the score.

But if we choose not to believe in climate change, it can't happen. Right?

It doesn't matter that DNR didn't change the meat of the report, nobody is going to read that. They are going to point at our cooler than average spring and pull out that old chestnut about “Where's your global warming now?”

And it will continue to get a laugh — at least until we're buying beachfront land in Hanahan.

Reach Brian Hicks at bhicks@postandcourier.com.

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