Public Release: 

EARTH: Denying sea-level rise

American Geosciences Institute

Alexandria, VA - In 2009, the North Carolina Coastal Resources Commission (CRC), a body that controls and regulates coastal development in North Carolina, asked 13 members of its advisory Science Panel to prepare a report on the state of sea-level rise in North Carolina. After the report was published, there was a subsequent maelstrom regarding its utility and validity.

In this month's issue of EARTH Magazine, Orrin Pilkey and Alexander Glass from Duke University describe what happened.

Based on the latest scientific studies both locally and globally, the Science Panel's report concluded that by 2100, a 40-centimeter sea-level rise is highly likely, a 100-centimeter rise is likely, and a 140-centimeter rise is possible. Although the panel did not advocate for any particular response or policy, they recommended that a 100-centimeter sea-level rise should be adopted as the basis for any future coastal management plan.

Opponents said that, if implemented, the new regulations for development would cost developers and homeowners a fortune. After a fierce legislative battle, the opponents advanced legislation that effectively requires no consideration of sea-level rise in any planning until the Science Panel can produce a new report by 2015. How will local political decisions like this affect development along a coastline that is facing rising seas?


Read the full article online at

Check out other great articles in the May issue of EARTH Magazine. Discover how whales got their peg teeth; see if salt formations make good waste disposal sites; and get lofted with bacteria all in this month's issue of EARTH.

Keep up to date with the latest happenings in Earth, energy and environment news with EARTH magazine online at Published by the American Geosciences Institute, EARTH is your source for the science behind the headlines.

The American Geosciences Institute is a nonprofit federation of geoscientific and professional associations that represents more than 250,000 geologists, geophysicists and other earth scientists. Founded in 1948, AGI provides information services to geoscientists, serves as a voice of shared interests in the profession, plays a major role in strengthening geoscience education, and strives to increase public awareness of the vital role the geosciences play in society's use of resources, resiliency to natural hazards, and interaction with the environment.

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