North Carolina Climate and Energy Facts:
North Carolina is Vulnerable to Climate Change:
- For the past 30 years, North Carolinians on average experienced seven days a year of temperatures above 95°F. By mid-century, this number is expected to rise to 39 days a year. This shift from just a week to over a month of extreme heat could claim up to 930 additional lives.
- The entire Southeast region is vulnerable to sea level rise and droughts. In North Carolina the sea level has already been rising, according to the N.C. Coastal Resources Commission Science Panel. Over the next 30 years, the sea level rise will accelerate and is projected to vary from a low estimate of 2.4 inches at Southport to a high estimate of 5.4 inches at Duck.
- Increased heat and water scarcity could cause a 21 percent decline in corn yields and 10 percent decrease in soybean yield by 2039.
- With approximately 2.3 million homes considered extremely vulnerable, North Carolina ranks fifth among states with the most homes in high risk counties, according to Realtytrac’s 2015 Natural Disaster Housing Risk report.
- North Carolina has not developed statewide adaptation plans. But the North Carolina Interagency Leadership Team, a group of 11 state and federal agencies, has developed a climate adaptation strategy.
North Carolina’s Clean Energy Efforts and Opinions:
- Charlotte entrepreneur Jay Faison recently announced financial support for GOP candidates who back clean energy. He is launching a digital campaign in order to change the party’s stance on this issue.
- Sixty-two percent of North Carolinians understand global warming is happening. A strong 76 percent support funding research into renewable energy while 61 percent are in favor of setting strict CO2 limits on existing coal-fired power plants.
- North Carolina is a leader in solar power generation. With 1,245 MW of installed solar capacity,the state ranks fourth nationally in solar energy. Despite this, it lags greatly in distributed solar energy generation. Its net metering rules are restrictive and do not provide adequate cost incentive to residents. State Rep. John Szokas’s proposal to expand net metering in the state failed to pass last year. He has now introduced a similar bill that he hopes to get passed in 2017.
- In late 2015, a 13-year-old North Carolina resident attempted to sue the state over its failure to address climate change, but her plea was rejected.