Climate Change

From the mountains to the sea, we see evidence of climate change throughout our great state.

Greenhouse gases have increased over the last century causing global surface temperatures to rise. Most of the warming has taken place in the past 35 years. Each year since 2001 has been hotter than the prior year. To slow climate change and create a healthy place for everyone to live, we must first understand the cause of climate change in North Carolina. Research shows that dirty energy, transportation, and deforestation contribute significantly to the issue.

Causes of Climate Change

Dirty Energy

Burning oil, gas, and coal emits greenhouse gases that can remain in the atmosphere for several hundred years. The pollution from fossil fuels is the single largest source of greenhouse gas emissions in North Carolina. Increasing the use of clean, renewable energy will reduce the carbon emissions fueling climate change in our state. Putting a price on those emissions with a carbon-based trading program is also needed to clean up the electric grid.


Emissions from vehicle exhaust and gasoline vapors are the second leading source of greenhouse gases in North Carolina, accounting for one-third of the climate pollution. We can build a more sustainable future by ending investment in major highway projects and by increasing investment in public transit, bike lanes, greenways, and electric vehicle infrastructure.


Healthy, growing forests and strong urban tree canopies store excess carbon and help moderate temperature. The wood pellet industry in North Carolina is clearcutting our forests and shipping pellets overseas, destroying our greatest natural carbon sinks and generating electricity that is pound-for-pound dirtier than coal. We’re fighting to protect our forests and for stricter pollution controls on wood pellet manufacturing facilities.

How Climate Change Impacts Us


By 2050, approximately 20% of the year is expected to have temperatures above 105 degrees.

Hot weather can increase your body temperature and cause your heart rate to rise, resulting in severe health problems such as dehydration, heat stress, heat exhaustion, and heatstroke.

Extreme Weather

North Carolina ranks among the top five states in billion-dollar weather disasters since 1980.

 Extreme weather events threaten access to safe drinking water, damage roads, bridges, and houses, and cause stress and mental health problems.

Vector-Borne Diseases

The annual average mosquito season has grown by 40 days.

Changing weather patterns can allow vector populations such as mosquitoes, ticks, and fleas to increase in size and expand their geographic range, causing illnesses to occur more frequently and introducing diseases to new areas.

Climate Change and Environmental Justice

In North Carolina, communities of color and low-income communities are disproportionately affected by climate change, and will be less able to adapt or recover from its impacts. Building an environment where people stay healthy is more important than ever, especially for minority groups. We believe that any solution to the climate crisis must also pursue racial justice.