Aug. 22, 2004
is for real
SC Statehouse Report
22, 2004 - When you actually see a chunk of ice the size of
a car break off a glacier taller than a 10-story building,
you start thinking there might be something to the talk about
A few minutes later when you see it again, you know it's
It's relatively easy to see the effects of global warming
in Alaska. But in South Carolina, you have to pay attention
a little more.
First, the state's temperatures really are changing. Over
the last century, the average temperature in Columbia, for
example, has increased 1.3 degrees, according to the U.S.
Environmental Protection Agency. Over the next century, South
Carolina's temperatures could rise 1 degree to 5 degrees,
according to the National Wildlife Federation.
glacier in Prince William Sound earlier this month.
Next, the state is becoming wetter. Over the last century,
precipitation has increased up to 20 percent in many parts
of the state, the EPA says. In coming years, rains could increase
5 percent to 30 percent in spring, more in summer and fall,
and less in winter, the NWF says.
Third, the sea is rising. Sea level in Charleston is up nine
inches compared to the last century, according to the EPA.
In the next century, it is likely to rise another 19 inches.
The cost to replenish sand on beaches from a 20-inch rise
by 2100 could approach $9 billion.
These changes have the possibility of dramatically changing
South Carolina in our lifetime, according to Chris Brooks,
deputy director of the state Office of Coastal Resource Management.
Among the impacts:
- Beach erosion, saltwater contamination of drinking water
and more intense storms caused by warmer oceans;
- Increased runoff of silt, pesticides and fertilizers from
agricultural fields due to more rainfall;
- Weakened maritime forests and the loss of important isolated
- Damaged habitat for species such as alligators, bald eagles,
brown pelicans, sea turtles. In Georgia, for example, global
warming is changing habitat so much that the state bird
(the brown thrasher) soon may no longer be able to live
in the state.
What may be most worrisome, Brooks says, is the impact global
warming would have on the state's half-million acres of salt
marshes. If people put artificial barriers along the coast
and in streams and inlets, they will keep marshland from being
able to shift, which could put the state's fisheries and aquatic
habitats at risk.
WORLD: Old habits die hard
Good article on domestic violence
Who's up and down
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"If that intertidal zone is not able to migrate naturally,
then you'll lose the tidal marsh," Brooks said.
While global warming is a global problem, there are things
South Carolina policymakers may consider to help lessen the
impact. And if other states and countries followed suit, the
cumulative impact might be enough to help thwart global warming:
- Focus on industrial recruitment that stays away from smokestack
- Urge national leaders to develop meaningful national standards
for air and water quality.
- Have state agencies move away from creating harmful emissions,
such as those made by coal-fired power plants.
- Reinforce the state's coastal retreat policies to discourage
development along immediate shorelines.
- Keep barriers from being put along the coast, rivers and
streams to allow tidal marshes to migrate naturally.
- Invest in energy-saving equipment, renewable energy sources
and more efficient fuel technologies.
Finally, state leaders should appoint a blue-ribbon panel
to investigate these and other ideas to work on ways to thwart
global warming to ensure that our quality of life doesn't
The sky isn't falling today in South Carolina. But global
warming is happening here, just as the ice is melting in Alaska.
State leaders need to move forward now to act, not wait to
respond when it's too late.
8/22: Old habits die hard
This week's cartoon by our Bill McLemore:
8/16: Domestic violence is too prevalent
To the editor:
I read your article "It's Time To Do Something About
Domestic Violence" (Column,
8/15) in today's Beaufort Gazette - and I thank
you for such a thoughtful article. In this same small paper,
there is a brief mention of a 27 year old woman who was killed
by someone she was dating for about a year.
As your article states, domestic violence is far too prevalent
in South Carolina. All of your possibilities are good and
need to be accomplished. October is Domestic Violence Prevention
Month. I would like to see all media, churches, social service
agencies, law enforcement and women's organizations work together
to speak against domestic violence. I believe that churches,
in particular, often keep their heads in the sand even when
members of their own congregations are victims of domestic
Holding offenders accountable is essential. It is amazing
to me that people can ignore an evil that is so pervasive
in the State of South Carolina. Thank you again for your thoughtful
-- Jean H. Barton, Port Royal, S.C.
8/17: Article presented startling facts
To the editor:
I am a new Sociology professor at USC-Sumter, and have conducted
research and been engaged in service provision around domestic
violence, previously in
Memphis, where I conducted a study on DV and reporting in
Latino households (I speak fluent Spanish), a study for which
I am now analyzing the data. ... I really enjoyed your DV
editorial in yesterday's The Item. ... Startling facts that
you presented. Thanks.
-- Frank M. Afflitto, Ph.D., Sumter, S.C.
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SOUTH CAROLINA SCORECARD
Here's a "thumbs up" and "thumbs down" related to various
political events from the past week:
S.C. colleges. Hats off to several S.C. colleges and
universities -- Clemson, USC, Furman, Wofford, Winthrop, USC
Upstate, College of Charleston, The Citadel -- that scored
high on recent national collegiate rankings.
Richardson. We like Sen. Scott Richardson's idea of
having red light cameras at dangerous intersections to help
slow down traffic, reduce fatalities and promote responsible
Wilson. U.S. Rep. Joe Wilson needs to stop the blather
that military bases at Beaufort are safe from base closure.
People in Washington read this stuff.
Traffic deaths. The state needs to do something to
reduce its high -- and increasing -- number of traffic fatalities.
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