Santa Barbara Rejects Global Warming ‘Blue Line’

Published November 1, 2007

The City of Santa Barbara, California rejected a college professor’s proposal to paint 68 city streets with a wavy blue line to indicate where global warming alarmists claim future sea levels might be.

Inconvenient Line Rejected

Bruce Caron, who holds a Ph.D. in urban social anthropology from the University of California, Santa Barbara, proposed the 12-inch wide blue line, which would represent the extent of sea-level rise predicted by Al Gore in his movie, An Inconvenient Truth, if all of Greenland’s snow pack were to melt.

The Santa Barbara city council initially approved the project in July but changed its mind in the wake of strong protests from a diverse group of city residents.

Beachfront property owners expressed outrage that the public relations stunt would stigmatize their property and substantially reduce its value. Others noted the asserted sea-level rise represented a speculative scenario that most scientists believe could not happen in the next several centuries.

With public opposition mounting, city council enthusiasm for the project waned, and Caron withdrew his proposal on August 23.

City Government Unresponsive

Travis Armstrong, editorial page editor for the Santa Barbara News Press, summarized in an August 27 editorial local opposition to the council’s initial approval of the project.

“The dispute over [the Blue Line project] was about more than just the street painting,” Armstrong wrote. “It also became a symbol of a city government that refuses to listen to residents, spends money on personal causes and has mixed up priorities–all while the city is in a gang crisis and facing financial woes in the years ahead.”

“It’s been remarkable the level of community disapproval that exists,” Armstrong added.

‘Council’s Thoughtless Decision’

Armstrong specifically singled out a city councilwoman who had led the effort to paint the Blue Line. “Ms. Schneider inflamed people by suggesting that those against the painting were only a small fringe group who didn’t believe in global warming. She just didn’t get it,” Armstrong reported.

The Santa Barbara Taxpayers Association applauded the withdrawal of the project.

The group’s executive director, Joe Armendariz, said, “We have always felt that this project, well-intended as it was, could have resulted in a wholesale lowering of property values for those properties located on the wrong side of the line [beach property]. So this is good news for those families and businesses who could have been negatively impacted by the council’s thoughtless decision.”

John Dale Dunn, M.D., J.D. ([email protected]) is a policy advisor for The Heartland Institute and a member of the Board of Science and Policy Advisors of the American Council on Science and Health, New York City.