In its report delivered to the Virginia General Assembly on Thursday outlining how the commonwealth can deal with rising sea levels, the Virginia Institute of Marine Science (VIMS) jumped into the tumultuous debate regarding Virginia’s response to the effects of global warming.
The report totals 135 pages and was created at the request of the 2012 Virginia General Assembly. The report’s intent is to “guide” legislators in their efforts to deal with storm surges, higher tides, rising sea levels, and sinking land.
Not surprisingly the report puts no particular emphasis on any single response to combating rising sea levels. The VIMS report does emphasize, however, that the rising sea level challenges facing Virginia will likely grow in the years ahead.
The VIMS report calls for immediate action along a multi-step approach.
The ball is now in the Virginia General Assembly’s court, so to speak. Will the VIMS report be another paper-weight to be filed away into the recesses of Virginia’s legislative archive?
Virginia’s recent legislative record on this account has not been promising for immediate and effective action by Virginia’s lawmakers.
The Republican Party of Virginia has mirrored a nation-wide belief on the part of conservative-leaning individuals that global warming and the science that has underpinned our growing awareness of its effects (as well as causes) is essentially a liberal hoax. According to Virginia Senator Ralph Northam, “It’s become apparent there’s an overall hostility towards science by Republicans in the [Virginia] legislature…”
Maybe the new VIMS report will change the minds of some skeptical Republicans in the Virginia legislature. But if these individuals haven’t been convinced of the mere possibility that global warming and sea level rise may be a real and urgent threat by now, it’s difficult to imagine another scientific report will finally be the keystone to unlocking the chambers of ideological blindness.
But as each day passes, our ability to take control of the worst effects of global warming and sea level rise slips further and further from our control. But perhaps they also feel like Dick Saslaw; we’ll all be dead by the time of the worst consequences so who cares?