Climate Change

Duncan McFadyen / WFAE

The southeast United States faces a host of threats from climate change. Intensifying temperatures and extreme weather could affect anything from dam safety to airport tarmacs to the range of diseases that can thrive. The most recent National Climate Assessment points to three areas most threatened: coastal communities, the agriculture industry, and water availability. In the second of a three part series, WFAE looks at how the state is, or isn’t, preparing to adapt.


Ben Bradford / WFAE

North Carolina has a complicated relationship with climate change. The state was one of the first to consider its impacts and possible responses, but today—as reports like the National Climate Assessment issue ever more dire warnings—few policies are in place to adapt. In the first of a three part series, WFAE explores the shift.


JK Killia (left) Jim deVries (right) / 2014 Mecklenburg County State of the Environment Report

Mecklenburg County has some new residents. Animals not native to the county have moved in over the past couple of decades. One possible reason is climate change.


When we first met Carbon Nation director Peter Byck last year, we learned about his cross country journey to meet people who were trying to reduce their carbon footprint whether they believed in global warming or not. He'll join us again on the next Charlotte Talks to talk about why getting the message out about climate change is still such a challenge and about initiatives being made by companies around the country (some that might come as a surprise to you!) to change the way we think about energy and the environment.

Duke Energy

Duke’s Edwardsport plant in Indiana is a “coal gasification” plant, meaning the coal gets turned into a gas and some of the pollutants get filtered out, before moving into the turbine.  Company spokesman Chad Eaton says it is the most efficient coal plant in the country, since opening this summer. But, even it would surpass the limit the EPA announced today on the amount of emissions new coal power plants will be able to release.

Duke Energy

President Obama plans to issue an executive order to limit carbon dioxide emissions from existing power plants. Right now, there is no limit. It could change the mix of energy sources on which North Carolina relies. Coal provides the largest source of the state’s power, including 51 percent in 2011. But, burning coal emits the most carbon-dioxide of the major power sources, so it is most likely to be affected by the order. Other North Carolina businesses could stand to benefit by the scaling back of coal plants.


The world’s thirst for more energy has led us down the path to climate change. Some politicians have said that alternatives to fossil fuels may help us reverse that, but the problem is that alternative forms of energy aren't ready on the scale we need. And recently scientists at UNC Charlotte came to an even more alarming conclusion, that the problem is unsolvable. Two of the people working on that project talk about their troubling conclusion, when Charlotte Talks.

Ben Bradford / WFAE

Duke Energy hosted its annual shareholder meeting in Uptown Thursday, one day before the company releases its first quarter earnings report. CEO Jim Rogers pronounced the company healthy and profitable, but the meeting was also a rare opportunity to berate the CEO.


We have discussed climate change many times on Charlotte Talks but there is a new science emerging in the study of our changing climate. Social scientists are being called upon more and more to study climate's effect on human culture. Entire societies are changing their traditions, the media is covering the issue differently and lawmakers are shaping policy based on our perception to climate change. One local social scientist has discovered fascinating social changes among native Alaskans. He'll share how those changes could affect policy here in our own region. (Note: This show was pre-recorded last week.)

When we think of climate change, we often think the consequences are far off. But doctors and scientists believe it is harming our health now and it will only get worse. Some of the climate's harmful effects to our health can be obvious - extreme weather events and increased temperatures. But many are less so, think asthma and allergies, even food and water borne diseases, on up to cardiovascular disease, stroke and cancer. How does climate impact our health and what can we do about it? We'll talk with people involved in educating the public about the risks of the changing climate to our health, including from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Pages