South Carolina Energy and Climate Facts:
The National Climate Assessment found sea level rise and extreme heat to be two of the most pressing climate impacts affecting the Southeast United States.
In the past thirty years, SC experienced on average 14 days of temperatures above 95°F. By mid-century, SC will see as many as 58 days with such extreme heat, according to one report. That extreme heat will likely claim as many as 680 additional lives each year by 2040-2059.
According to the Yale Map Project on Climate Change Communication 59% of South Carolinians recognize that global warming is real (with more than 50% of respondents in all districts of the state recognizing global warming). Smaller margins understand that climate change will harm them personally (averaging 33% across the state).
The October 2015 floods, which cost the state as much as $12 billion, demonstrate the impacts of a changed climate. Scientists said that in this case, climate change “worsened the effects of an already extreme weather event.”
South Carolina doesn’t have a statewide adaptation plan, but Charleston has recently announced its Sea Level Rise strategy (pdf) and the state has a target of 2% renewable energy by 2021. Without action on climate, the South Carolina coast will see an additional $743 million in annual damages by 2050, and by then $5.7 billion worth of property will be under water, according to one estimate.
South Carolina installed 1MW of solar capacity in 2014, raising its total capacity to 13MW earning it a 35th place ranking in total installed solar capacity out of all 50 states. This is in sharp contrast to North Carolina, which ranks second with a total installed capacity of 1,245MW.
The Yale Map Project on Climate Change Communication also polled South Carolinians on their support for regulating CO2 and funding renewable energy. According to their study, 73% support regulating CO2 as a pollutant, with a slightly smaller 60% support setting strict CO2 limits on existing coal-fired power plants. A robust 76% would support funding more research into renewable energy (with high margins of support recorded in every district).
South Carolina is developing a plan to meet the Clean Power Plan goals, despite being party to the lawsuit against the plan.