When political figures avoid discussing sea level rise and climate change by proclaiming, "I am not a scientist," they need to complete that defense by stating, "but I am willing to listen carefully to them."
Failing to become educated on these important topics is essential, since many who use that excuse as a shield are responsible for our building codes, land use plans and developement strategies, all of which will affect us for years to come.
As government and private sector leaders grapple with the myriad of options to adapt to sea level rise, they must understand that the science of sea level rise research continues to increase, both in data, velocity, and understanding. The simple fact is, scientists know more about rising seas today than they did just one year ago.
That means laws, codes and regulations need to be continually updated as human understanding of rising seas advances.
Responsible leaders who work with scientists to understand what we do know, to properly plan for the middle of the century, will help fill the void in the incomplete defense, “I am not a scientist.”
Join commentator Mitch Chester for a discussion of how leaders and science must work together for the near-term future of vulnerable coastal regions.