Climate Change and South Carolina
Climate change will affect South Carolina. The consequence of steady increases in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions like carbon dioxide by human activities has been studied exhaustively over the last three decades. Today, 97% of climate scientists around the world agree that these emissions are resulting in an increase of average global temperatures.
The southeastern region of the United States ranks 6th worldwide in GHG emissions while South Carolina ranks 28th nationally.
Changing weather patterns are expected to expose many sectors of the South Carolina economy to stresses that may significantly undermine the productivity of industries related to agriculture, forestry and fisheries. Drought, invasive species, dieback of forests, fish and shellfish reductions, and tree species loss are but a sampling of the problems associated with a warming climate.
With 2,876 miles of coastline and a heavy dependence on coastal tourism based tax revenue, sea level rise poses a disproportionate threat to the natural resources and economy of the state. South Carolina will be faced with more flooding, more shoreline erosion, and further loss of coastal wetlands due to saltwater intrusion.
At the global scale, climate scientists have documented the continued loss of arctic sea ice, glacial retreat, extreme weather events, and the first decade of the 21st century as the hottest on record.