Why the N.C.’s Outer Banks perilous approach to climate change matters

June 26

A man fishes near condemned homes in Nags Head, N.C., in June. (Nikki Kahn/The Washington Post)

North Carolina’s Outer Banks have always been a touchstone for me — in as much as anyone can associate permanence with sandy islands being perpetually tossed  around by tremendous wind and water forces.

The Banks and I go back to 1954 and Hurricane Hazel when I was an infant. They mark many parts of my life. So, I read with great interest The Post story by Lori Montgomery about how real estate officials in Dare County and other coastal parts of North Carolina are trying to alter clear-cut scientific projections about how deeply the islands will be under water by 2100.

State officials say that the ocean could rise 39 inches by the end of the century. This would mean 8,500 structures worth $1.4 billion would be useless. Naturally, this has upset the real estate industry, which is pushing for a new projection of an 8-inch rise 30 years from now. Think of it like a photo in a rental brochure. You don’t choose shots of dark and stormy days. The skies must be blue.

Read the rest of Peter Galuszka’s post at Bacon’s Rebellion.

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Natalie Wexler · June 20