Stephen Colbert took on North Carolina legislators' suggestion to ignore rising sea levels on "The Colbert Report" Monday night, declaring, "If your science gives you a result you don't like, pass a law saying the result is illegal. Problem solved."
Despite the N.C. Coastal Resources Commission's prediction of a one-meter sea level rise by 2100, the News & Observer reported last week that state lawmakers aimed to limit plans to address this (literally) rising challenge.
Although Colbert maintained that there's no way of knowing the devastation inflicted by a one-meter sea level rise "because it's metric," the findings caused a stir, and were challenged by NC-20, a coastal economic development group.
Republican legislators circulated a bill, which, as a Scientific American blog pointed out, stated that sea level "rates shall only be determined using historical data, and these data shall be limited to the time period following the year 1900."
Colbert joked that the "no politician wants" the graph predicting accelerating rates of sea level rise, since it looks like a "ski jump to hell." When GOP lawmakers use past data to predict the future "that makes that scary chart get all better," he declared.
Unfortunately, the real numbers seem to keep getting scarier. CO2 levels in the Arctic have recently passed 400 parts per million in the atmosphere. 350 ppm was deemed by many scientists to be "the highest safe level for carbon dioxide," according to the Associated Press. CO2 levels have not been in the 400's on Earth for at least 800,000 years, or, as Colbert stated, since "wooly mammoths roamed the Earth in Escalades."