NC Task Force Says Addressing Global Warming Offers State Major Economic Opportunities

North Carolina can take advantage of major economic opportunities if it starts planning now to address global warming, according to a year-long study released on September 28th by the NC Climate Stewardship Task Force. The group's recommendations are timely because the General Assembly recently passed the NC Global Warming Act, which Governor Mike Easley signed into law yesterday. The act establishes a 34-member legislative commission that will evaluate potential impacts on the state from rising temperatures, consider recommending a goal to reduce global warming pollution, and study ways to prepare the state's economy to capitalize on emerging economic markets. The Global Warming Commission will include a representative from Environmental Defense.

"The state can take advantage of huge economic opportunities if it starts to address global warming now," said Simon Rich, former CEO of Louis Dreyfus Holding Company and a task force member from Edenton. "Key sectors of North Carolina's economy stand to earn billions of dollars and create tens of thousands of jobs. The impacts of global warming are real, but so are the opportunities that will come from addressing this serious, statewide challenge."

Convened by Environmental Defense, the NC Climate Stewardship Task Force is a bipartisan group with representation from the state's science, business, health care and faith communities. The nine-member group came to a seemingly startling conclusion: Addressing global warming presents a huge economic opportunity for North Carolina. The task force concluded that North Carolina can reap economic benefits by addressing global warming if the state prepares its economy by:

  • developing a plan that helps the state benefit from a lower carbon economy.
  • establishing a carbon reduction goal.
  • increasing its energy independence by developing alternative energy sources, such as biofuels and wind and solar power.
  • pursuing incentives to promote energy efficiency and conservation.

"Legislators steered North Carolina in the right direction when they passed the Global Warming Act and established a commission to study the state's response," said Bob Perkowitz, president of Paradigm Management and a member of the task force. "I'm confident the Global Warming Commission will use these task force recommendations as a trusted roadmap for developing a state action plan. North Carolina can claim a strong advantage in the emerging carbon economy, if it prepares now to actively participate."

"Economic Opportunity in Addressing Global Warming: The Silver Lining for North Carolina in a Lower Carbon Economy" is available at www.environmentaldefense.org/go/ncclimatestewardship.

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