Finally there are dreaded changes in sea level. The sinking of Tidewater Virginia is as responsible for sea level rise as is global temperature change. There’s no climate commission that can stop that.
But there are adaptations that can happen — like not building back into areas that get naturally inundated by strong or large hurricanes, unless the homeowner assumes 100 percent of the cost of flood insurance. Today, the public picks up over half the cost. As a consequence, pretty much every home that went down in Virginia’s last big storm — 2003’s Hurricane Isabel — has been rebuilt, and will be knocked down again by the next whopper.
If the climate commission will come down hard on subsidizing vacation homes in flood-prone regions, they will actually accomplish something. But there is simply nothing the commission can recommend that will do anything about global temperature or sea-level rise.
Patrick J. Michaels is Director of the Center for the Study of Science at the Cato Institute and was Virginia State Climatologist from 1980 through 2007.