Southern States Lagging in Addressing Climate Change

Cities in the South are facing a multitude of climate change impacts, but many have been slow to respond to the growing threats.

1 minute read

February 6, 2020, 10:00 AM PST

By Camille Fink

North Carolina Coast

Timothy Klingler / Unsplash

James Bruggers writes about a collaborative effort between InsideClimate News and newsrooms in seven Southeastern states called Caught Off Guard, a series which looks at climate change and the challenges this part of the country is facing. "The region lags behind others in renewable electricity and faces some of the biggest global warming threats in the nation."

Charleston, South Carolina, for example, is preparing for the effects of climate change, but decreasing emissions has not been a priority. "Charleston Mayor John Tecklenburg two years ago pledged to cut his city’s carbon dioxide emissions 80 percent by 2050. But the city government has no solar panels on its buildings, no city vehicles that run on electric power or cleaner fuels, and it still hasn’t pushed its electric utility, Dominion Energy, to supply more renewable electricity," says Bruggers.

Bruggers describes the varying commitments different cities have made to address climate change. Some cities, however, have been hampered by utility companies affiliated with the coal industry or state legislatures not willing to cooperate.

In other cases, cities have resisted taking any action at all, notes Bruggers. "In Savannah, Georgia, no one was routinely counting greenhouse gas emissions from the nation’s fourth busiest seaport. The Port of Savannah has no emission reduction goals because, officials said, it is not required."

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