Climate Change

Satellite view of the contiguous United States
National Centers for Environmental Information / National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

Orange County is set to levy a quarter-cent tax on property owners specifically to fight the effects of climate change.

The nine-banded armadillo has been spotted more than 170 times in North Carolina in the past 12 years. Wildlife officials are asking the public to share photos and details to get a better idea of the creature's range.
Jay Butfiloski / N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission

If you’ve come across a nine-banded armadillo anywhere in North Carolina, wildlife officials want to hear about it.

Up to 1 million of the estimated 8 million plant and animal species on Earth are at risk of extinction — many of them within decades — according to scientists and researchers who produced a sweeping U.N. report on how humanity's burgeoning growth is putting the world's biodiversity at perilous risk.

More than 80% of parents in the U.S. support the teaching of climate change. And that support crosses political divides, according to the results of an exclusive new NPR/Ipsos poll: Whether they have children or not, two-thirds of Republicans and 9 in 10 Democrats agree that the subject needs to be taught in school.

A separate poll of teachers found that they are even more supportive, in theory — 86% agree that climate change should be taught.

5th graders from J.S. Waters Elementary School in Chatham County visit the USS North Carolina. The ship gets more than a quarter of a million visitors a year, many of them  with school groups who come to learn about its history.
Jay Price / WUNC

"Vulnerable" seems like the last word to describe a 70 million-pound armored ship that can fire shells weighing as much as a car. But now the USS North Carolina, one of the state's most iconic tourist attractions, has a new enemy … and a new battle plan.

Marshes, Key To Coastal Health, Have A Tipping Point

Mar 20, 2019
Anna Braswell

With sea turtles, fish and birds splashing around in the morning sunlight, marshes that line the American coast might appear peaceful and primordial. But forces both natural and manmade are constantly acting upon them, jeopardizing the survival of these critical ecosystems. New research analyzed the influences that cause marshes to become more “fringy” and sparse, pointing the way for scientists to prioritize interventions and restoration efforts.

Curtis J. Richardson, director of the Duke University Wetland Center.
Jason deBruyn / WUNC

On Duke University's campus, near the Washington Duke Inn, there's a wetland area that reduces stormwater flooding and improves water quality. Curtis J. Richardson, director of the Duke University Wetland Center and professor in the Nicholas School of the Environment, spearheaded the project.

Photo of climate activists stop in front of the COP24 UN Climate Change Conference venue during the March for Climate in a protest against global warming in Katowice, Poland, Saturday, Dec. 8, 2018.
Alik Keplicz / AP Photo

The United Nations Climate Change Conference in Katowice, Poland is not going well for the Trump administration. Officials’ speeches have been met with laughter, hecklers, and people walking out of the room. Some protestors are calling the administration's push for clean coal “climate suicide.” The annual meeting, known informally as Cop24, is geared toward ending global warming, and this year attendees are focused on how to implement the Paris Agreement. 

Nags Head
Dave DeWitt / WUNC

A new climate assessment report from the White House forecasts devastating economic and health impacts for the United States. Thirteen federal agencies and the U.S. Global Change Research Program issued the report, which is required by Congress every four years. The report contains a chapter on the Southeast that predicts higher sea levels, coastal flooding, stronger storms, and longer and more frequent heat waves. 

In this Sept. 2, 2016, file photo, a friend's basket of clams sit in the water as Mike Suprin, of Rollinsford, N.H., calls it a day after filling his basket with softshell clams at Cape Porpoise in Kennebunkport, Maine.
Robert F. Bukaty / AP

Valuable species of shellfish have become harder to find on the East Coast because of degraded habitat caused by a warming environment, according to a pair of scientists that sought to find out whether environmental factors or overfishing was the source of the decline.

Sea level change over time
Global Climate Change / NASA

Gov. Roy Cooper has signed an executive order that directs the state to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 40 percent by 2025. It's a move that some other state and local governments have taken since President Trump withdrew the United States from the Paris Climate Accord.

Credit: NASA

Asheville may be tucked away in the mountains, but it is quickly building a reputation as “climate city,” a home for researchers, scientific entrepreneurs and nonprofit and governmental organizations working to address climate change.

Estimate of how many properties in a five state region have lost value.
First Street Foundation

Due to seal level rise flooding, owners in the Carolinas have lost nearly $1.7 billion in property values since 2005.

File photo of a house on Nags Head. By the year 2045, 2,000 homes in Nags Head and Hatteras can expect flooding every other week, according to the non-profit Union of Concerned Scientists.
Dave DeWitt / WUNC

In 30 years, more than 15,000 North Carolina homes will be chronically inundated, meaning they're flooded about every other week, according to the Union of Concerned Scientists. The nonprofit advocacy group released a report today showing where and when sea-level rise is likely to impact residents' daily lives.

Overhead view of Hurricane Matthew
NASA / Flickr

North Carolina's coastal ecosystem has drastically changed because of two decades of hurricanes and other tropical cyclones.

Catch per unit effort of bull sharks
Charles Bangley / Nature

Researchers say rising sea temperatures have brought more bull sharks to North Carolina. 

A study published on Nature.com says the sharks appear to be moving their reproductive habitats farther north as the Atlantic gets warmer.

photo of a man holding a card that says 'asheville is climate city'
Courtesy of The Collider

This month Asheville hosted the first ClimateCon, a conference to explore innovations and business solutions to combat the effects of climate change. The nine-day conference included a business of climate forum, a summit for emerging climate leaders, and community-wide events.

Donald van der Vaart
DENR

Donald van der Vaart was North Carolina’s top environmental official under former Gov. Pat McCrory.  When Gov. Roy Cooper took office, Van der Vaart demoted himself and was later placed on suspension after writing a controversial opinion piece in an environmental law journal. However, he recently reemerged as a candidate for President Trump's Council on Environmental Quality.

Ducks sit together on a frozen pond in Concord, Tuesday, Jan. 2, 2018. Temperatures plummeted overnight.
Chuck Burton / AP

Governor Roy Cooper said he will declare a state of emergency for parts of North Carolina hit by the coming winter storm.

Marcus Yensen, security officer at the American Tobacco Campus in Durham. He planned to bundle up this week as he makes his daily rounds
Jason deBruyn / WUNC

The North Carolina Coastal Plain is gripped by a cold snap that hasn't been seen in almost a century.

In this Monday, Nov. 6, 2017 file photo, Native people from Fiji sit in the convention center during the opening of the COP 23 Fiji UN Climate Change Conference in Bonn, Germany.
Martin Meissner / AP Photo

Nearly 200 countries are wrapping up the annual U.N. climate summit in Bonn, Germany this week.

Great Dismal Swamp
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is trying to reverse more than two centuries of damage to sensitive peat soil in the Great Dismal Swamp.

a flooded road after Hurricane Matthew
Leoneda Inge / WUNC

Multiple major hurricanes in the last few weeks have led to a renewed discussion of climate change, and when it is appropriate, to discuss possible policy and lifestyle changes.

Common Whitetail
C.L. Goforth

The dragonfly is often celebrated for its glittering body and elegant flight, but the insect is also a ferocious predator and a boon for mosquito-ridden areas. The North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences will celebrate the many facets of the dragonfly this year at its annual “Bugfest.” 

tink tracy / Flickr, Creative Commons, https://flic.kr/p/6cMNx8

A report on sea level rise in North Carolina points to dozens of coastal communities that face chronic flooding over the next century. 

Morning on the Cape Hatteras National Seashore
Outer Banks Real Estate / Flickr Creative Commons

The Trump Administration has disbanded an advisory committee created to turn federal climate analysis into concrete plans for dealing with climate change.

Army Sgt. David Breaud directs a high water vehicle down a flooded roadway.
Sgt. Jerry Rushing / U.S. Department of Defense

This week the Trump administration disbanded a federal advisory committee for the National Climate Assessment. It is one of several steps President Donald Trump has taken to diminish the fight against climate change. But Trump’s skepticism of climate change puts him at odds with officials in the Pentagon. 

Charles Bangley of the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center leads his crew on an evening shark fishing trip on Pamlico Sound.
Jay Price / WUNC

Bull sharks and lion fish are among the species becoming more common in North Carolina, while black sea bass and other fish are getting harder to find.

Flickr Commons

Recently released research from the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill projects that unchecked climate change will significantly impact premature deaths associated with air pollution.

Author of 'Borne,' Jeff VanderMeer
Jeff VanderMeer

In Jeff VanderMeer’s highly successful Southern Reach trilogy, characters were cut off from one another, and their stories unfolded against the backdrop of a devastated landscape. In his latest novel “Borne,” (Farrar, Straus and Giroux/2017) he highlights how a new cast of characters attempt to make connections with each other.

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