climate change

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Students in Western North Carolina joined their peers from around the world and skipped school to walk the picket line in what they are calling  a Global Climate Strike.

Hundreds of young activists marched through downtown Asheville holding signs and chanting “Hey hey!  Ho ho!  Climate change has got to go!”

The group gathered in Pack Square where speakers from local high schools rallied the crowd.  Protestors then marched to the Buncombe County Courthouse steps where they held a climate 'die-in'.

Checking the weather today is as easy as checking your cell phone.  But did you know you can also monitor soil conditions and even levels of solar radiation plants use to grow?  It’s all thanks to a state network of climate stations.  BPR’s Helen Chickering takes us to the newest station in Asheville  that also doubles as a college classroom.

Executives, entrepreneurs, climate scientists, and students from across the country are converging on Asheville to tackle the business of Climate Change.  BPR’s Helen Chickering has details.

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Last Fall Governor Roy Cooper issued an executive order directing North Carolina to step up its efforts to combat and adapt to Climate Change. This week, state officials are in Asheville gathering public input as they shape a plan to meet those goals.  BPR’s Helen Chickering talks with Department of Environmental Quality Public Information Officer Sharon Martin about the upcoming meeting.

BPR

You’ve probably heard about the movement to reduce the use of plastic straws, which can’t be recycled and end up in landfills and in the environment. As BPR’s Helen Chickering reports, local environmental groups are on a mission to expand that campaign here in Western North Carolina.

In 2018, the nonprofit Asheville Greenworks kept more than 161,000 pounds of hard to recycle materials out of the landfills in Western North Carolina.  During free events held throughout the year in Buncombe County,  volunteers collected everything from televisions to empty toothpaste tubes.  The organization is kicking off it's first  Hard 2 Recycle event of 2019, on Saturday, January 19th in West Asheville. 

President Trump may have pulled the United States out of the 2017 Paris climate agreement, but its goals are alive in North Carolina. State and local governments are adopting their own measures to fight climate change.

For years, utilities have been testing large-scale batteries to store electricity, especially from wind and solar power. Now Duke Energy is ready to bet on the technology, with plans to spend a half-billion dollars on batteries over the next 15 years in the Carolinas.

North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper signed an executive order to fight climate change that sets new goals for reducing the use of fossil fuels and promoting environmentally friendly policies in state government Monday.

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How much does climate change contribute to storms like Hurricane Florence?  Asheville climate scientists are warning climate change is contributing to more powerful storms.  Andrew Jones of Climate Interactive, housed in The Collider in downtown Asheville, says it's like giving the storms steroids.  He spoke with BPR's Jeremy Loeb.

Due to seal level rise flooding, owners in the Carolinas have lost nearly $1.7 billion in property values since 2005.

Just two weeks after Duke Energy began taking applications for new solar energy rebates, the program has run out of money for homeowners and businesses for this year. 

North Carolina joined California, Arizona, Nevada and Texas in seeing the greatest total increases in solar energy generation from 2008 to 2017, according to a report released Tuesday by Environment North Carolina Policy and Research Center.

President Trump is putting coastal Republicans in a tight spot this election cycle with his proposal to open waters off the Atlantic coast to oil and gas exploration.

Duke Energy will begin offering solar rebates Monday in North Carolina. Solar energy advocates say it could help speed installations of rooftop solar panels.

A string of decisions by North Carolina regulators this year means electricity consumers could be seeing a multibillion-dollar bill to clean up mountains of waste Duke Energy created over decades burning coal to produce power.

The mayor of Nags Head says members of Congress should vote down a draft bill on offshore drilling.

In 30 years, more than 15,000 North Carolina homes will be chronically inundated, meaning they're flooded about every other week, according to the Union of Concerned Scientists. The nonprofit advocacy group released a report today showing where and when sea-level rise is likely to impact residents' daily lives.

North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper has joined governors from four other coastal states in opposing proposed federal legislation that sets new rules for offshore oil and gas production. 

Duke Energy customers in North Carolina will be able to get rebates of up to $6,000 each beginning this summer for installing solar panels on their homes.  The four-year, $62 million rebate program was approved by state regulators last week. It's required under a 2017 state law designed to keep solar power growing in North Carolina.

The proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline promises to bring huge quantities of cheap natural gas to North Carolina, which could slow growth for solar power.

North Carolina is technically the second largest producer of solar energy in America. N.C. State University Energy Economist Harrison Fell explained the state is capable of running seven percent of the energy grid on solar. But, of course, it's not always sunny.

Climate City is just one of Asheville’s many nicknames.  A local nonprofit is working to elevate that moniker to a new level.  In March,  the climate innovation center,  The Collider, is kicking off ClimateCon 2018.  The business of climate is the headline event of the conference that organizers say – has something for everyone.  BPR’s Helen Chickering spoke with Megan Robinson, The Collider’s Executive director.

Duke Energy has proposed a new solar rebate program for homeowners and small businesses in North Carolina - something required as part of the state's new renewable energy law that took effect Jan. 1. 

Winter is coming, later and later. And then spring comes ever earlier.

Analyzing freeze dates from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) shows that the days between the first freeze of fall and the last freeze of spring are shrinking.

globalchange.gov

If you suffer from allergies, you may have noticed you sneezed a little longer this fall.  But you may not have linked that extra sneezing to global warming.  Scientists and Public Health officials met in Asheville last week for a workshop on the climate health connection.  BPR’s Helen Chickering reports.

On a country road south of Monroe in Union County, near a golf course and soybean fields, is a new kind of farm - a solar farm.  This spring, Duke Energy began generating electricity from 684,000 solar panels here, the largest solar farm in the Charlotte region and one of the largest in the state.

Updated 7:10 p.m.

A North Carolina environmental group is asking the NC Supreme Court to decide whether it's legal for it to install solar panels on a church rooftop, then sell electricity to the church.  NC WARN is appealing a 2-1 ruling against it last month by the NC Court of Appeals.

A divided panel of federal regulators granted approvals Friday evening for the Atlantic Coast and Mountain Valley natural gas pipelines, major East Coast projects.

WRAL

A divided North Carolina appeals court says a clean-energy advocacy group can't install solar panels on a church roof and charge for the electricity generated.

The state Court of Appeals panel split 2-1 Tuesday, with the majority ruling in favor of Duke Energy's legal monopoly to sell electricity to most of the state. The split means a state Supreme Court appeal is possible.

NPR/AP/NOAA

Recent hurricanes Irma and Harvey were a stark reminder of the catastrophic impacts of climate change.   But the words “climate change” have become so politically polarizing that some even avoid saying them.  In Asheville, that’s not the case. 

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