How Global Warming Could Hit Home: The Virginia Impact

The Governor’s Commission on Climate Change dug into some meaty material yesterday, exploring what would happen to Virginia if commonly accepted scenarios for rising temperatures and sea levels pan out. Bill Geroux with the Times-Dispatch hits the highlights of the meeting, held in Williamsburg, but lacked either the time or news hole to recount much of the rich detail in the presentations. (Incredibly, it appears that neither the Daily Press nor the Virginian-Pilot covered the meeting in their own back yard — if they did, I can’t find their stories online.)

I will try to explore a couple of topics in more depth in later posts, based on the presentations found on the Governor’s Commission on Climate Change website. But don’t just accept my spin on the story. Peruse the documents yourself.

  • Ecosystems and Living Resources (PDF), J. Emmett Duffy, Ph.D., Loretta and Lewis Glucksman Professor of Marine Science, Virginia Institute of Marine Science

For those interested in the impact of climate change on Virginia, I would particularly recommend the first three presentations (with highlighted links).

Reader alert: I reiterate my skepticism regarding the more hysterical, worst-case scenarios of global warming. The science of climate change still has many unknowns, and there is a livelier debate and more uncertainty within the scientific community than portrayed by the major media outlets. However, I do not subscribe to the Rush Limbaugh, global-warming-is- a-liberal-fraud worldview. Sufficient scientific evidence has accumulated to suggest that there is a significant risk of higher temperatures and rising sea levels. Given the potential magnitude of the consequences, as long as a risk exists, it is incumbent upon policy makers to evaluate that risk and appraise the potential impact on Virginia.

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  1. Larry Gross Avatar
    Larry Gross

    It is smart to ask the question: “what if this happens” and to get a scope and scale of the answer.

    It is far better than the “see no evil” school of “planning”.

    Insurance companies ask these questions all the time.. and they look at the answers.. and then they develop risk-management strategies.

    what a concept?

    Government prefer subsidies to risk-management though.

  2. Anonymous Avatar

    Well, yeah, but insurance companies manage risk by raising prices and refusing coverage.

    Government has only one of those options.


  3. Larry Gross Avatar
    Larry Gross

    yeah.. real bummer… you know.. with trying to get someone else to insure your potential loss… gotta pay them out of your own pocket.. instead of stealing from other folks pockets…

    The government has the same options as you call them.

    You just don’t think the Government should be charging…. what it costs.

    The difference between an Insurance Company Flood Program and a Government Flood Program is what?

  4. Anonymous Avatar

    The government can only raise/lower prices, it can’t refuse to govern in the same way that an insurance company can refuse to insure.

    Then again, the VA GA may prove me wrong.


  5. Larry Gross Avatar
    Larry Gross

    …”it can’t refuse to govern “

    now.. that’s a phrase you need to explain…. especially how it relates to the concept of less government…

  6. Anonymous Avatar

    ” it can’t refuse to govern in the same way that an insurance company can refuse to insure.”

    That phrase is not independent. Less government isn’t no government. But no insurance is no insurance.

    I get your drift, though.


  7. Larry Gross Avatar
    Larry Gross

    “it can’t refuse to govern”

    you mean it can’t refuse to fund highways?

    If you believe Groveton.. the less that comes out of the VA GA – the better.

    then we’ve got the other folks who say that the GA is “abdicating” their responsibilities by NOT raising taxes.

  8. Groveton Avatar

    The VA GA is refusing to govern by being too incompetent to govern.

    I believe government should govern. I just don’t see any way that the GA will be reformed any time soon.

    Therefore, I suggest that the GA admit its failures, put the people of Virginia ahead of its institutional ego and pass a constitutional amendment giving substantial power to the localities.

    Of course, there are some crucial activities that must be performed at the state level. Choosing the state song and picking the state fish for example.

  9. Larry Gross Avatar
    Larry Gross

    One of the “rationales” for the Dillon Rule is for the State to prevent/inhibit the localities from going hog-wild on taxes; therefore to explicitly limit the kind and type of taxes they are allowed to levy.

    The problem that we have is that the ability of the citizens in Virginia to overturn and/or roll back a vote by the BOS is very difficult…

    .. and despite the “protection” of the Dillon Rule with regard to taxation, some BOS have and continue to make land-use decisions that are very costly to citizens especially in terms of levels of services being degraded by approval of development that does not pay for itself.

    You can vote them out of office at the next election -like Loudoun and other counties have -but you can’t roll back the land-use decisions because once granted to the land owners, you would be doing a “taking”.

    So.. Groveton is saying that he does not trust the GA but I think there is ample examples of the local BOS running amok also.

    What I’d like to see is a way for citizens to effectively be able to challenge decisions AND to be able to throw out of office – quickly – any BOS that citizens want out.

    Virginia has had and continues to have a onerous “tradition” that elected are to “represent” the “interests” of citizens rather than what citizens actually want.

    In other words, the ‘elected” can determine for themselves what they think in their own mind is the best interests of citizens…

    and we see examples of this all the time….

    but rather than GA “protection” from the potential “excesses” of BOS, I’d like to see ways to roll back land-use decisions that are not in the public interest and to toss out the miscreants who voted for them… not 4 years later but 4 days later.

  10. Jim Bacon Avatar
    Jim Bacon

    Larry, I agree with you about the Dillon Rule. If Virginia were notoriously poorly managed, and if its problems with growth & development were notably worse than those of Dillon Rule states, one could make the argument that the Dillon Rule is the problem. But the problems we experience in Virginia are replicated from state to state around the country. Indeed, it may be possible to make the argument that as obtuse and short-sighted and craven as our leaders in the General Assembly may be, local government leaders in Dillon Rule states are even more obtuse, more short-sighted and more craven. (Is anyone following the Tony Rezco trial in Chicago?)

    To take an example close to home, is Virginia’s system of governance at the local level really so much worse than Maryland’s? Is the level of traffic congestion, housing affordability and quality of public services that much lower?

  11. Larry Gross Avatar
    Larry Gross

    I agree. If anyone can show how Home Rule Md is demonstrably better than Dillon Rule NoVa… have at it.

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