Climate & Environment

Previously reported – November 2018
Scientific consensus: Earth’s climate is warming
Multiple studies published in peer-reviewed scientific journals show that 97 percent or more of actively publishing climate scientists agree: Climate-warming trends over the past century are extremely likely due to human activities. In addition, most of the leading scientific organizations worldwide have issued public statements endorsing this position.

According to NASA, at least 97 percent of actively publishing climate scientists think that “climate-warming trends over the past century are extremely likely caused by human activities.” Americans overwhelmingly agree that the federal government needs to take significant action.
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Previously reported – January 2018
North Carolina’s coastal policies among worst in nation on climate change
Days after a federal report issued a harsh warning about climate change, an environmental group said North Carolina’s policies leave it among the most ill-prepared on the East Coast to deal with the effects of rising seas.
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How the Wilmington area deals with rising seas and an increasing number of floods
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Brunswick County eliminated plans to address rising sea levels. Apparently, no one knows why
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Previously reported – August 2018

N.C. beach homes and coast are ‘doomed’ and residents need to get out, scientist says
Sea level rise is an imminent threat to North Carolina’s 18 barrier islands — the Outer Banks — and the area just behind.
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Previously reported – December 2018
Scientific consensus: Earth’s climate is warming
Multiple studies published in peer-reviewed scientific journals show that 97 percent or more of actively publishing climate scientists agree: Climate-warming trends over the past century are extremely likely due to human activities. In addition, most of the leading scientific organizations worldwide have issued public statements endorsing this position.
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U.S. Climate Report Warns of Damaged Environment and Shrinking Economy
A major scientific report issued by 13 federal agencies on Friday presents the starkest warnings to date of the consequences of climate change for the United States, predicting that if significant steps are not taken to rein in global warming, the damage will knock as much as 10 percent off the size of the American economy by century’s end. The report, which was mandated by Congress and made public by the White House, is notable not only for the precision of its calculations and bluntness of its conclusions, but also because its findings are directly at odds with President Trump’s agenda of environmental deregulation, which he asserts will spur economic growth.
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Climate Change Is Complex. We’ve Got Answers to Your Questions.
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Major Trump administration climate report says damage is ‘intensifying across the country’
The federal government on Friday released a long-awaited report with an unmistakable message: The effects of climate change, including deadly wildfires, increasingly debilitating hurricanes and heat waves, are already battering the United States, and the danger of more such catastrophes is worsening.

The report’s authors, who represent numerous federal agencies, say they are more certain than ever that climate change poses a severe threat to Americans’ health and pocketbooks, as well as to the country’s infrastructure and natural resources. And while it avoids policy recommendations, the report’s sense of urgency and alarm stands in stark contrast to the lack of any apparent plan from President Trump to tackle the problems, which, according to the government he runs, are increasingly dire.

The congressionally mandated document — the first of its kind issued during the Trump administration — details how climate-fueled disasters and other types of worrisome changes are becoming more commonplace throughout the country and how much worse they could become in the absence of efforts to combat global warming.
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Previously reported – January 2019

Oceans Are Warming Faster Than Predicted
Earth’s seas are absorbing excess heat 40 percent faster than previous estimates
Up to 90 percent of the warming caused by human carbon emissions is absorbed by the world’s oceans, scientists estimate. And researchers increasingly agree that the oceans are warming faster than previously thought. Multiple studies in the past few years have found that previous estimates from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change may be too low. A new review of the research, published yesterday in Science, concludes that “multiple lines of evidence from four independent groups thus now suggest a stronger observed [ocean heat content] warming.”

Taken together, the research suggests that the oceans are heating up about 40 percent faster than previously estimated by the IPCC. Since the 1950s, studies generally suggest that the oceans have been absorbing at least 10 times as much energy annually, measured in joules, as humans consume worldwide in a year.
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Ocean Warming Is Accelerating Faster Than Thought, New Research Finds
Scientists say the world’s oceans are warming far more quickly than previously thought, a finding with dire implications for climate change because almost all the excess heat absorbed by the planet ends up stored in their waters.
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The oceans are warming faster than we thought, and scientists suggest we brace for impact
The oceans are warming faster than climate reports have suggested, according to a new synthesis of temperature observations published this week. The most recent report from the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change made what turned out to be a very conservative estimate of rise in ocean temperature, and scientists are advising us to adjust our expectations.

“The numbers are coming in 40 to 50 percent [warmer] than the last IPCC report,” said Kevin Trenberth, a climate scientist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research and an author on the report, published in Science Magazine on Thursday. Furthermore, Trenberth said, “2018 will be the warmest year on record in the oceans” as 2017 was and 2016 before that. Oceans cover 70 percent of the globe and absorb 93 percent of the planet’s extra heat from climate change. They are responsible for spawning disasters like hurricanes Florence and Maria and generating torrential rainfall via meteorological processes with names like “atmospheric river” and “Pineapple Express.”
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Ice loss from Antarctica has sextupled since the 1970s, new research finds
Antarctic glaciers have been melting at an accelerating pace over the past four decades thanks to an influx of warm ocean water a startling new finding that researchers say could mean sea levels are poised to rise more quickly than predicted in coming decades. The Antarctic lost 40 billion tons of melting ice to the ocean each year from 1979 to 1989. That figure rose to 252 billion tons lost per year beginning in 2009, according to a study published Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. That means the region is losing six times as much ice as it was four decades ago, an unprecedented pace in the era of modern measurements. (It takes about 360 billion tons of ice to produce one millimeter of global sea-level rise.)
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The Rhodium Group, a research firm, estimated that America’s carbon dioxide emissions, after a period of decline, had risen by 3.4 percent in 2018, even as a near-record number of coal plants around the country were retired. The main culprits were economic growth and rising emissions from factories, putting America’s vow to cut greenhouse gas emissions 26 to 28 percent below 2005 levels by 2025 further out of reach, absent bold new policies or technological breakthroughs.

This bad news was followed by a study in Science finding that the oceans are warming at an alarming pace, 40 to 50 percent faster than the United Nations had estimated, putting corals and fisheries at even greater risk.

If that were not enough, the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences followed with a study predicting faster melting of Antarctica’s huge ice reserves.  

Previously reported – February 2019
It’s Official: 2018 Was the Fourth Warmest Year on Record
NASA scientists announced Wednesday that the Earth’s average surface temperature in 2018 was the fourth highest in nearly 140 years of record-keeping and a continuation of an unmistakable warming trend. The data means that the five warmest years in recorded history have been the last five, and that 18 of the 19 warmest years have occurred since 2001. The quickly rising temperatures over the past two decades cap a much longer warming trend documented by researchers and correspond with the scientific consensus that climate change is caused by human activity. “We’re no longer talking about a situation where global warming is something in the future,” said Gavin A. Schmidt, director of the Goddard Institute for Space Studies, the NASA group that conducted the analysis. “It’s here. It’s now.” While this planet has seen hotter days in prehistoric times, and colder ones in the modern era, what sets recent warming apart in the sweep of geologic time is the relatively sudden rise in temperatures and its clear correlation with increasing levels of greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide and methane produced by human activity.
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2018 was fourth-hottest year on record, NASA says
World data shows “global warming shows no sign of slowing down or stopping.”
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Today’s Earth looks a lot like it did 115,000 years ago. All we’re missing is massive sea level rise.
New research suggests the planet is already paralleling the most recent major warm period in its past. Now the only question is how fast Antarctica could collapse.
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Previously reported – March 2019
Ruined crops, salty soil: How rising seas are poisoning North Carolina’s farmland
The salty patches were small, at first — scattered spots where soybeans wouldn’t grow, where grass withered and died, exposing expanses of bare, brown earth. But lately those barren patches have grown. On dry days, the salt precipitates out of the mud and the crystals make the soil sparkle in the sunlight. And on a damp and chilly afternoon in January, the salt makes Dawson Pugh furrow his brow in dismay. “It’s been getting worse,” the farmer tells East Carolina University hydrologist Alex Manda, who drove out to this corner of coastal North Carolina with a group of graduate students to figure out what’s poisoning Pugh’s land — and whether anything can be done to stop it. Of climate change’s many plagues — drought, insects, fires, floods — saltwater intrusion in particular sounds almost like a biblical curse. Rising seas, sinking earth and extreme weather are conspiring to cause salt from the ocean to contaminate aquifers and turn formerly fertile fields barren. A 2016 study in the journal Science predicted that 9 percent of the U.S. coastline is vulnerable to saltwater intrusion — a percentage likely to grow as the world continues to warm. Scientists are just beginning to assess the potential effect on agriculture, Manda said, and it’s not yet clear how much can be mitigated. “We spend a lot of time and money to try to prevent salt,” Pugh says. “I worry what the future is. If it keeps getting worse, will it be worth farming?” If farmers in coastal areas have any hope of protecting their land — and their livelihoods — the first step is to disentangle the complex web of causes that can send ocean water seeping into the ground beneath their feet. Though it’s known that saltwater intrusion is linked to sea-level rise caused by climate change, scientists aren’t certain exactly how salt winds up in farmers’ fields. One hypothesis is that strong winds may blow salt water from the sound into the canals and ditches that crisscross the county, which then leak into the soil. Another possibility is that the salt was left behind by storm-surge events and simply takes a long time to wash away. Or maybe the problem goes even deeper. Scientists are increasingly concerned that rising sea levels are shifting the “zone of transition” — the underground gradient where fresh groundwater meets salty seawater. This issue may be compounded by the slow sinking of North Carolina’s coastal plain since the end of the last ice age about 12,000 years ago.
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Previously reported – July 2019
Earth just had its hottest June on record, on track for warmest July
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Previously reported – August 2019
Climate Change Threatens the World’s Food Supply, United Nations Warns
The world’s land and water resources are being exploited at “unprecedented rates,” a new United Nations report warns, which combined with climate change is putting dire pressure on the ability of humanity to feed itself. The report, prepared by more than 100 experts from 52 countries and released in summary form in Geneva on Thursday, found that the window to address the threat is closing rapidly. A half-billion people already live in places turning into desert, and soil is being lost between 10 and 100 times faster than it is forming, according to the report. Climate change will make those threats even worse, as floods, drought, storms and other types of extreme weather threaten to disrupt, and over time shrink, the global food supply. Already, more than 10 percent of the world’s population remains undernourished, and some authors of the report warned in interviews that food shortages could lead to an increase in cross-border migration.
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How Hot Was July? Hotter Than Ever, Global Data Shows
European climate researchers said Monday that last month was the hottest July — and thus the hottest month — ever recorded, slightly eclipsing the previous record-holder, July 2016. “While July is usually the warmest month of the year for the globe, according to our data it also was the warmest month recorded globally, by a very small margin,” Jean-Noël Thépaut, head of the Copernicus Climate Change Service, said in a statement. The service, part of an intergovernmental organization supported by European countries, said the global average temperature last month was about 0.07-degree Fahrenheit (0.04 Celsius) hotter than July 2016.
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Previously reported – September 2019
Major Climate Change Rules the Trump Administration Is Reversing
The move to rescind environmental rules governing emissions of methane, a powerful greenhouse gas, brings to 85 the total number of environmental rules that the Trump administration has worked to repeal. Officials at the White House, the Environmental Protection Agency and other agencies have called the regulations burdensome to the fossil fuel industry and other businesses. Half of those environmental rollback attempts, like the new methane reversal, will undercut efforts by previous administrations to reduce emissions and fight climate change. Many of these efforts have been challenged in the courts; whether the administration will succeed in achieving all of its goals is far from certain.
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Previously reported – September 2019
Oceans are under threat, report warns
Climate change is disrupting seafood harvests, posing risks to important marine ecosystems and threatening the well-being of hundreds of millions of coastal residents, according to a United Nations report released today.

The report, based on more than 7,000 studies, represents the most extensive look so far at the effects of climate change on oceans, ice sheets, mountain snowpack and permafrost. (Read it here.)

Why it matters: The oceans have long served as a buffer against global warming, absorbing carbon dioxide and excess heat. Without those protections, the land would be heating much more rapidly.

New U.N. climate report: Monumental change already here for world’s oceans and frozen regions
Growing coastal flooding is inevitable, and damage to corals and other marine life has already been unleashed. But scientists say the world still has time to avert even more severe consequences.
Climate change is already having staggering effects on oceans and ice-filled regions that encompass 80 percent of the Earth, and future damage from rising seas and melting glaciers is now all but certain, according to a sobering new report from the United Nations. The warming climate is killing coral reefs, supercharging monster storms, and fueling deadly marine heat waves and record losses of sea ice. And Wednesday’s report on the world’s oceans, glaciers, polar regions and ice sheets finds that such effects foreshadow a more catastrophic future as long as greenhouse gas emissions remain unchecked. Given current emissions levels, a number of serious effects are essentially unavoidable, says the report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).
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Previously reported – December 2019
The biggest climate stories you might have missed — but still have time to read.
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Previously reported – January 202095 Environmental Rules Being Rolled Back Under Trump
President Trump has made eliminating federal regulations a priority. His administration, with help from Republicans in Congress, has often targeted environmental rules it sees as burdensome to the fossil fuel industry and other big businesses. A New York Times analysis, based on research from Harvard Law School, Columbia Law School and other sources, counts more than 90 environmental rules and regulations rolled back under Mr. Trump. Our list represents two types of policy changes: rules that were officially reversed and rollbacks still in progress. The Trump administration has often used a “one-two punch” when rolling back environmental rules, said Caitlin McCoy, a fellow in the Environmental and Energy Law Program at Harvard Law School who tracks regulatory rollbacks. “First a delay rule to buy some time, and then a final substantive rule.” But the process has not always been smooth. In some cases, the administration has failed to provide a strong legal argument in favor of proposed changes and agencies have skipped key steps in the rulemaking process, like notifying the public and asking for comment. In several cases, courts have ordered agencies to enforce their own rules. Several environmental rules — summarized at the bottom of this page — were rolled back and then later reinstated, often following legal challenges. Other regulations remain mired in court. All told, the Trump administration’s environmental rollbacks could significantly increase greenhouse gas emissions and lead to thousands of extra deaths from poor air quality every year, according to a report prepared by New York University Law School’s State Energy and Environmental Impact Center.
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2019 Was the Second-Hottest Year Ever, Closing Out the Warmest Decade
Last year was the second-hottest on record, government researchers confirmed on Wednesday in analyses of temperature data from thousands of observing stations around the world. They said that 2019 was only slightly cooler than 2016 and the end of what was the warmest decade yet. The independent analyses by researchers at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration and the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration showed that global average surface temperatures last year were nearly 1 degree Celsius (1.8 degrees Fahrenheit) higher than the average from 1951 to 1980. Temperatures in 2019 were only a small fraction of a degree Celsius lower than in 2016, a year when a strong El Niño pumped a lot of heat from the Pacific Ocean into the atmosphere. The results closely match those from a separate analysis released last week by a European climate agency — one based more on computer modeling than on observational data from 2019 — and were yet more evidence of the relentless warming of the planet caused in large part by emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases from the burning of fossil fuels. The warming trends “are clear and unequivocal,” said Gavin Schmidt, director of the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies, which conducted the NASA analysis. “The surface temperature record tells us that the last decade was more than 1 degree Celsius higher than the late 19th century and we know that this has been driven by human activities.” Six of the warmest years on record occurred during the past decade, and the five warmest all occurred in the last five years, the NASA and NOAA research shows.
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Previously reported – January 2020
The EPA just rolled back protections for wetlands.
What does it mean for Cape Fear region?
The Environmental Protection Agency and United States Army just finalized a historic rule that removes federal protections for wetlands. Under the new rule passed last week, wetlands and streams that do not continuously maintain a surface water connection will no longer have federal protections under the Clean Water Act. If implemented, the rule will likely have devastating national impacts on water quality and increase flood-related risks in already vulnerable coastal communities, including the Cape Fear region. The new ruling redefines Waters of the United States (WOTUS) protected from pollution and obstruction in the Clean Water Act. It ignores subsurface flow (i.e. underground water) connecting wetlands and streams that don’t have a direct surface water connection. This means wet, low-lying inland features that currently trigger federal and state review in the development process could soon get filled in with little to no oversight. “We could fully expect to see new development in areas that are very vulnerable to floodwaters,” Keri Allen, coastal advocate at the North Carolina Coastal Federation, said. “Without protections for these wetlands, you’re going to see building there.”

‘No basis in science’
In comments submitted last year, North Carolina’s Attorney General and Director of the Department of Environmental Quality described the rule as having been established “on the basis of arbitrary dividing lines that have no valid basis in science.” An estimated 17% of North Carolina’s total landmass is comprised of wetlands, at 5.7 million acres. Of these wetlands, 95% are located in the coastal plain. Nationwide, more than half of wetlands will no longer be protected under the new ruling. Even wetlands still technically defined as a WOTUS directly adjacent to jurisdictional waters would be impacted by this ruling. Should it be implemented, the ruling would open up development in areas protected for decades, leading to unprecedented stormwater runoff and flooding, which inevitably will bear down on the coast. Thirty-nine days into his presidency, President Donald Trump signed an executive order to initiate repealing the 1972 Clean Water Act. Last year, the new definition opened up to public comment, garnering 620,000 comments on the proposal, according to the EPA. Proponents of the change describe it as removing red tape to give breathing room to property owners who own land containing jurisdictional wetlands or streams. In announcing the finalized rule last week, the EPA characterized the changes as a simplification of the federal review process that will spur economic growth. Scores of environmental advocacy groups, scientific organizations, and state-level government agencies adamantly oppose the rule’s justification. “In the process, the agencies have abandoned their expertise,” the Southern Environmental Law Center wrote in its comments, submitted last year on behalf of 80 organizations, including the Cape Fear River Watch. The change was a top lobbying priority for the National Association of Realtors last year, according to the SELC. While the rule’s economic analysis
admits it would increase downstream flooding damages, put a greater cost burden on storm-restoration agencies, and increase costs for drinking water suppliers, it claims removing federal oversight would save money overall.

Environmental groups argue this methodology is flawed and fails to fully quantify the extent of imminent damage, should the rule go into effect. Soon, the new rule will be published in the Federal Register. After 60 days in the Federal Register, it will become effective — that is, baring delays from legal challenges, which are anticipated. “These revisions don’t just undo what was done under the Obama Administration,” Allen said. “These set us back decades.”

Wetlands are, in essence, sponges. Often described as nature’s kidneys, wetlands provide critical environmental and economic functions. Hydrophytic plants (i.e. plants that grow totally or partially submerged in water, or in waterlogged soil) absorb excess nutrients found in stormwater runoff, helping to protect bodies of water from harmful algal blooms and pollution. They both save and generate public money by reducing the need for investments in storm-control costs and spurring economic growth via tourism and commercial fisheries. One acre of wetlands is capable
of storing 330,000 gallons of water. When removed, these waters flow unimpeded, directly to traditional navigable waters, pushing storage capacity limits in storm events, causing rivers and stream to crest and ponds and lakes to overflow. Ephemeral streams — riverbeds that are alternately dry or filled by stormwater — would also lose federal protection under the new rule. Currently, if developers wish to impact wetlands or stream features, an extensive oversight process is initiated. Filling or dredging wetland features requires a 404 permit, obtained from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and a subsequent state-level version from the Division of Water Resources with a 401 permit. Property owners must prove impacts are “unavoidable” before impacting these resources; if such a determination is granted, the owner must invest in a 2:1 ratio in a public mitigation program that restores wetlands and streams. “Right now we have a pretty thorough process of inter-agency coordination,” Allen said. If the rule is implemented, Allen said the future permitting process is uncertain. “That’s something we don’t know,” she said. “It will definitely be a diminished review process.” The new WOTUS ruling shifts the burden of oversight responsibility to states — an unwelcome task for North Carolina. Both the DEQ and AG’s Office assert the state is too ill-equipped, over-burdened, and underfunded to pick up the jurisdictional review of these wetland and stream features. And according to the SELC, states lack the “political will” and funds to confront powerful polluters. It’s also worth noting that water quality issues are driven by interconnected water systems — networks that do not start or stop at state boundary lines.
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Dirty Water Rule puts the Cape Fear River and NC’s drinking water at risk
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency finalized a rule Jan. 23 that leaves half the nation’s wetlands and thousands of streams, which provide millions of Americans with drinking water, without the federal protection of the Clean Water Act. “North Carolinians care deeply about clean water: for drinking, swimming, fishing and sustaining nature. Yet this Dirty Water Rule will leave the Cape Fear River and other waterways vulnerable to pollution and degradation, and put our drinking water at risk,” said Krista Early, Clean Water Advocate of Environment North Carolina. “Polluted water can make anyone sick, no matter where you live or your politics. This move defies common sense, sound science, and fifty years of bipartisan support for clean water. “The Dirty Water Rule puts the wetlands of North Carolina at risk. As unprotected wetlands become degraded or paved over, they will no longer help filter out pollution. Pollution from unprotected streams and lakes will flow into the rivers like the Haw and Cape Fear. North Carolina waterways like the Cape Fear River are already facing problems from toxic PFAS pollution and degrading our streams and wetlands around it will only make that problem worse. According to U.S. EPA’s own data, intermittent and ephemeral streams help provide drinking water to 117 million Americans. The Dirty Water Rule removes Clean Water Act protections for many of these streams, putting the drinking water of many North Carolinians at risk. Noting the nexus among streams, wetlands, and larger waterways, the Dirty Water Rule was recently rebuked by EPA’s own science advisors. Public support for maintaining Clean Water Act protections is widespread. More than one million Americans, including business owners, local officials, scientists, and hunters and anglers, provided comments to EPA, urging the agency to protect streams and wetlands under the Act. Those speaking up include North Carolina business owners, faith leaders, public health experts, swimmers, and anglers who are raising their “Voices for Clean Water.” Lobbyists for corporate agribusiness, developers, and the oil and gas industry have long demanded that federal protections be removed for streams and wetlands. Pollution from agribusinesses contributes to toxic algal out-breaks, fish kills, dead zones, drinking water contamination, and fecal bacteria that can make swimmers sick. Some developers are eager to build on wetlands and the oil and gas industry has countless pipelines running through them. Some of North Carolina’s Members of Congress are speaking up too. Representative David Price (NC-04) recently co-sponsored a House resolution urging EPA to reverse course on the Dirty Water Rule and several other attacks on clean water. “The Dirty Water Rule is a moment of truth for every single representative in Congress,” said Drew Ball, State Director of Environment North Carolina. “Representative Price is not sitting silently as this administration rips up protections for our rivers, our lakes and our drinking water and no member of Congress should.” “With the Dirty Water Rule, the administration has put the interests of polluters over those of the public and our drinking water,” said Early. “We’ll be calling on Congress and the courts to uphold the Clean Water Act.”
Beacon Article dated February 6

Previously reported –March 2020
More Heat, Floods, Storms ‘Virtually Certain’
North Carolina can expect large changes in climate by the end of the century, much larger than any time in the state’s history, and it’s very likely that temperatures here will increase substantially during all seasons unless the global increase in heat-trapping gases in the atmosphere is stopped. Temperatures warmer than historic norms, disruptive flooding from rising seas, increasingly intense and frequent rainstorms and more and more intense hurricanes are “virtually certain” in the next 80 years. That’s according to an independent, peer-reviewed report released Wednesday by North Carolina State University’s North Carolina Institute for Climate Studies, or NCICS. As a result of hotter temperatures and increased humidity, the state can face public health risks, more frequent and more intense heavy rains from hurricanes and other weather systems, increased flooding in coastal and low-lying areas and severe droughts that are more intense and that will increase the risk of wildfires.
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Previously reported –May 2020
Global warming pushes April temperatures into record territory, as 2020 heads for disquieting milestone
Last month tied for the warmest April on record for the globe, as 2020 hurtles toward the warmest year milestone. New data, released Tuesday from the European Union’s Copernicus Climate Change Service, lends further support to the prediction that 2020 will rank among the top two warmest years recorded. In April, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, using its own temperature monitoring data,
reported that there is a 75 percent chance that 2020 will become the planet’s warmest year since instrument records began in 1880, and very likely long before that. Human-caused climate change from increasing amounts of planet-warming greenhouse gases is vaulting temperatures higher, making it easier for a given month or year to set a new warmth milestone. Carbon dioxide is the most important long-lived greenhouse gas in the atmosphere, released by the burning of fossil fuels such as coal and oil for energy and transportation. Assuming NOAA ranks April as having global average temperatures above the 20th-century average, it would be the 424th straight month to have that distinction. In other words, those who are 35 years old and younger have never experienced a cooler-than-average month on Earth.
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The Trump Administration Is Reversing Nearly 100 Environmental Rules.
Here’s the Full List.
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Climate Change Is Making Hurricanes Stronger, Researchers Find
An analysis of satellite imagery from the past four decades suggests that global warming has increased the chances of storms reaching Category 3 or higher.
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The strongest, most dangerous hurricanes are now far more likely because of climate change, study shows
Researchers find, for the first time, a statistically significant global trend, especially in the Atlantic
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Previously reported – July 2020
Rising Seas Threaten an American Institution: The 30-Year Mortgage
Climate change is starting to transform the classic home loan, a fixture of the American experience and financial system that dates back generations.
Up and down the coastline, rising seas and climate change are transforming a fixture of American homeownership that dates back generations: the classic 30-year mortgage. Home buyers are increasingly using mortgages that make it easier for them to stop making their monthly payments and walk away from the loan if the home floods or becomes unsellable or unlivable. More banks are getting buyers in coastal areas to make bigger down payments — often as much as 40 percent of the purchase price, up from the traditional 20 percent — a sign that lenders have awakened to climate dangers and want to put less of their own money at risk. And in one of the clearest signs that banks are worried about global warming, they are increasingly getting these mortgages off their own books by selling them to government-backed buyers like Fannie Mae, where taxpayers would be on the hook financially if any of the loans fail. “Conventional mortgages have survived many financial crises, but they may not survive the climate crisis,” said Jesse Keenan, an associate professor at Tulane University. “This trend also reflects a systematic financial risk for banks and the U.S. taxpayers who ultimately foot the bill.” The trends foreshadow a broader reckoning. The question that matters, according to researchers, isn’t whether the effects of climate change will start to ripple through the housing market. Rather, it’s how fast those effects will occur and what they will look like.
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Scientists Predict Scorching Temperatures to Last Through Summer
Hotter than normal temperatures are expected across almost all of the United States into September, government researchers said.
Following a May that tied for the hottest on record, the United States is heading into a potentially blistering summer, with hotter than normal temperatures expected across almost the entire country into September, government researchers said on Thursday.
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Previously reported – January 2021
NASA says 2020 tied for the hottest year on record.

In a new study, NASA found that 2020 ranked right alongside 2016 as the warmest year since record-keeping began in 1880. Scientists said rising levels of carbon dioxide and methane, which trap heat in the atmosphere, contributed to the rise. At times last year, parts of the Arctic hit temperatures of 100 degrees Fahrenheit. Carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuels dropped 7% in 2020, according to the Global Carbon project, a research consortium, largely because pandemic lockdowns reduced car and air travel. Still, the U.K.’s Met Office, which tracks climate change, has found the level of CO2 in the atmosphere is now higher than at any time in the past 800,000 years.

2020 Ties 2016 as Hottest Yet, European Analysis Shows
The global average temperature in 2020 was about 2.25 degrees Fahrenheit warmer than the average from 1850 to 1900, data from the Copernicus Climate Change Service indicates.
Last year effectively tied 2016 as the hottest year on record, European climate researchers announced Friday, as global temperatures continued their relentless rise brought on by the emission of heat-trapping greenhouse gases. The record warmth — which fueled deadly heat waves, droughts, intense wildfires, and other environmental disasters around the world in 2020 — occurred despite the development in the second half of the year of La Niña, a global climate phenomenon marked by surface cooling across much of the equatorial Pacific Ocean. And while 2020 may tie the record, all of the last six years are among the hottest ever, said Freja Vamborg, a senior scientist with the Copernicus Climate Change Service. “It’s a reminder that temperatures are changing and will continue to change if we don’t cut greenhouse gas emissions,” Dr. Vamborg said.
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2020 rivals hottest year on record, pushing Earth closer to a critical climate threshold
The year 2020, which witnessed terrifying blazes from California to Siberia and a record number of tropical cyclones in the Atlantic, rivaled and possibly even equaled the hottest year on record, according to multiple scientific announcements Thursday. Only the “super” El Niño year of 2016 appears to have been slightly hotter in the era of reliable measurements dating to the late 1800s, according to the results from NASA, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the United Kingdom’s Met Office, and Berkeley Earth. NASA finds that 2020 edged out 2016 by less than a hundredth of a degree Celsius, while the other three groups say it fell shy by a mere .01 to .02 degrees Celsius (.02 to .04 degrees Fahrenheit). “The last seven years have been the seven warmest on record,” said Ahira Sánchez-Lugo, a climate expert with NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Information. “And the 10 warmest years have now occurred since 2005.” Experts said that another year as hot as 2016 coming so soon suggests a swift step up the climate escalator. And it implies that a momentous new temperature record — breaching the critical 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit) warming threshold for the first time — could occur as soon as later this decade.
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Previously reported – January 2021
The Trump Administration Rolled Back More Than 100 Environmental Rules. Here’s the Full List.
Over four years, the Trump administration dismantled major climate policies and rolled back many more rules governing clean air, water, wildlife, and toxic chemicals. In all, a New York Times analysis, based on research from Harvard Law School, Columbia Law School and other sources, counts nearly 100 environmental rules officially reversed, revoked or otherwise rolled back under Mr. Trump. More than a dozen other potential rollbacks remained in progress by the end but were not finalized by the end of the administration’s term.
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  • There’s something happening here

    What it is ain’t exactly clear