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Impacts of Global Warming in North Carolina

Autor:   •  June 15, 2013  •  Research Paper  •  1,507 Words (7 Pages)  •  964 Views

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The intensity of the debate about environmental and economic impacts of global climate change has increased over the past few years. Many state governments are encouraged to develop policies that address climate-related issues. Most of the policies are focusing on the mitigation and reduction of greenhouse gases through state-level climate action plans. “In North Carolina, the “clean smokestacks” legislation passed in 2002 states that a commission is to be established to study policy options for reducing carbon dioxide emissions. In 2005, the General Assembly passed the North Carolina Global Warming Act. This act established a Global Warming Commission that evaluates potential impacts on the state from rising temperatures, creates goals on reducing global warming pollutant, and prepares the economy to enhance economic markets associated with global warming” (“Cordato”). After passing this act, North Carolina became the first state in the Southeast to meaningfully step forward in the fight against global warming. North Carolina is one of the most vulnerable states to the impacts of global warming, but it can position itself to take advantage of opportunities that come along from the development of new technologies. The decisions we make today can affect the impacts of global warming on North Carolina, the opportunities for North Carolina to address the issues on global warming, and the recommendations that are established to fight against global warming.

The impacts of global warming can have several different effects on North Carolina. Temperature increases, sea-level rises, public health consequences, ecosystem responses, and overall economic dislocation are all different effects that North Carolina will experience in the near future. Warmer temperatures in the atmosphere cause sea-levels to rise by the expansion of warmer ocean waters and the melting of snow, glaciers and polar ice caps. “Over the next century, scientists estimate that the global sea-level will rise by about 19 inches. Many areas along the coast of North Carolina are estimated to be sinking by about 7 inches per century” (Sturgis 23). This indicates that an accelerated rate of inundation may occur near some coastal areas in North Carolina. The vulnerability of coastal and low-lying areas to severe weather will increase as sea-level rises, allowing natural disasters to inflict even greater damage. Warmer temperatures will cause an upswing in heat-related deaths because the number of very hot days will increase. Disease-carrying insects are also expected to increase with warmer weather. Climate change can increase flooding, which will contaminate water supplies and cause illnesses or other health risks.

Rising sea-levels can flood the coastline, breaching barrier islands and destroying wetlands, which serve as critical habitats for a number of different species. “Extensive loss, alteration and displacement of habitat from sea-level

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