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Lessons for LA even in flawed climate study

It may have a GIGO quality, but some thoughts relevant for Louisiana policy-making come forth from the fourth National Climate Assessment.

Quadrennially,federal government agencies collaborate to produce this document, with preparation of this one launched under the former Pres. Barack Obama Administration with its penchant for politicizing science. The first part, mainly methodological, came out last year.

Unfortunately, that effort suffered from faulty assumptions and selective use of data, with its authors enthralled in the faith of catastrophic anthropogenic global warming. With this previous part containing little useful information, this left the more policy-based conclusions of the current part of suspect validity and relevance.

True to form, with the garbage in from misleading data and analyses, this document mostly produced garbage out, designed to scare rather than to produce wise policy. Still, from it here and there Louisiana policy-makers can salvage something useful.

Among the bogus conclusions, the report featured Louisiana and its 2016 floods as an example of specific policy changes that could benefit the state. In this regard, it made three useful recommendations:  that governments use updated flood maps, that they combine forces to undertake regional flood control projects, and that they implement resilience efforts that would trigger lower flood insurance rates.

These stand invariant of the erroneous report assertion that CAGW causes the rising temperatures that increase the incidence of weather that could produce flooding and property damage. In fact, more sophisticated analysis reveals that the greater value loss of property in recent years hasn’t come because of more extreme weather, but because of development that increased the worth of areas affected by weather.

Regardless of the cause of larger property losses, the particular recommendations if followed would lead to lower losses. While some move to address projects, such as the Comite River Diversion around Baton Rouge now finally under way, and revise flood maps has begun, the report notes no municipalities have intensified resilience maneuvers.

State and local policy in Louisiana should encourage cooperative efforts, newer flood maps, and resilience strategies. Doing so would help to mitigate the wasted time and effort and distraction the latest National Climate Assessment supplies.

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