Friday, October 7, 2011

The First Casualty of Climate Change: Sensible Land Use Policy in the Bay Area

In general, we agree with James Altucher and others that the vast majority of media commentary (mainstream or otherwise) is nonsense intended to fill you with a sense of dread and helplessness. This is part of the reason why Golden State Liberty takes a tone different from other political websites; we want our readers to know about developments with the potential to threaten their liberty, but we don't see how it helps to indulge in conspiracy-theorizing or doomsday scenarios in which all of us are powerless. Unfortunately, the vast majority of people are willing victims of others trying to scare them. And the biggest scare story around these days, without question, is climate change. This story goes as such: a group of scientists took a few decades' worth of weather data, fit an equation system extrapolating climate patterns many millenia forward and backward in time, and concluded that the end of carbon-based life will result unless we allow the government virtually unlimited control over our lives and property. And few places embrace this doom and gloom more than the San Francisco Bay Area.

To give an example, the San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission has adopted new rules requiring new shoreline land developments to prove that their benefits offset the costs of protecting buildings from rising sea levels. Never mind that the prediction of a 55-inch rise in the water's level by 2100 (the reason given for the change) has been debunked by the scientists who originally made it, with even alarmist scientists conceding that the rise in sea levels isn't occurring nearly as quickly as predicted. Never mind that science underlying the climate simulations has been called into serious question by the Climategate emails. And never mind that the empirical data with direct relevance to climate change (e.g., the NASA satellite study, and the more recent CERN study) have blown holes in the anthropogenic warming theory. As with all things pertaining to climate change, this is less about responsible policy and more about politics and control. The Commission itself seems determined to make a statement of their own importance. "What we’re doing today goes beyond the Bay Area," said Chairman Sean Randolph. "It has national significance." And naturally, environmentalists are pleased. According to David Lewis, executive director of Save the Bay, "These policies discourage projects that would develop in dumb places." Again, it's about control.


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