Climate Change in South Carolina

Climate change puts South Carolinians at risk. 210,000 South Carolinians live in flood-prone areas and 2019 saw more floods than any other previous year. As climate change warms ocean waters, future hurricanes are expected to grow even more powerful, with stronger winds and greater rainfall, coming atop higher sea levels. Meanwhile, South Carolina’s average temperatures and humidity will continue to rise, bringing four times as many heat wave days by 2050. Check out the personal stories of South Carolinians already affected by climate change.

South Carolina stands to gain from a growing clean energy economy. It’s home to the United States’ largest test facility for wind turbine drive trains, and taller tower technologies offer the potential to reach the steady winds above South Carolina for the first time. In 2018, there were 29,984 energy efficiency jobs, 2,983 solar jobs and 1,555 wind electric generation jobs in South Carolina.

And in 2019, the Energy Freedom Act, the most ambitious clean energy bill in the state’s history,  passed unanimously through the State House and Senate before being signed by the Governor – signaling a continued commitment to growing a clean energy economy.

In a Quinnipiac poll from November 2019, 13% of South Carolina likely democratic primary voters named climate change as most important to deciding which candidate they would support – behind health care and the economy.

Polling conducted by Winthrop University shows that South Carolinians want climate action. In March 2019, 79% of South Carolina residents said the state needs to do more to combat the effects of climate change. At the same time climate deniers are decreasing in South Carolina – in 2017 the Winthrop poll found that 21% of South Carolinians did not believe in climate change compared to just 6% in 2019.

Change the Climate 2020, a project of the League of Conservation Voters, aims to make sure the presidential primary candidates make climate change a top priority.