There is almost universal agreement in the scientific community that climate change will be a critical environmental issue in the 21st century. Climate change is already affecting North Carolina's weather-dependent industries, tourism, wildlife habitats, natural landscapes, and even changing the seasons themselves. If trends continue over the next 100 years, North Carolina’s climate could become comparable to that of central Florida today.
Over the past 100 years, greenhouse gas emissions from burning fossil fuels and clearing forests have caused our planet to heat up. If we do nothing to reduce this pollution, the average global temperature could be 11.5°F warmer in 2100 than it was in 1900.
Our window of opportunity for reducing the impact of climate change is limited—perhaps only 10 or 20 years. We need to act now if we have any hope of preserving the North Carolina we know and love before it's changed forever.
Use this website to learn more about how North Carolina will be affected by climate change and about what you can do to help make a difference.
Four distinct seasons, each with its special characteristics, have made North Carolina what it is today. Our region has been shaped over centuries by the climate we have come to take for granted: distinct winters, lush springs, sultry summers, brilliant falls.
Today, from Mt. Mitchell, the highest peak in the Appalachian Mountains, to our southernmost shores, patterns of change tied to global warming can be seen and measured. Habitats for some of North Carolina’s most iconic plants and animals are already in decline. Through partnerships with professional scientists, regular citizens can help monitor these changes.
Whether you live, work, or vacation in North Carolina, you may already be feeling the impacts of climate change. If warming continues on its current path, the North Carolina of the future could be very different from the North Carolina of today. What about North Carolina would you miss the most? What changes would you welcome the least?
Watch these videos to hear what other North Carolinians have to say.