After keeping a climate study secret for nearly two years, South Carolina’s wildlife agency publicly released the report in the spring of 2013 amid criticism that it had bottled up the information for political reasons.
The study called on the wildlife department to take the lead in addressing climate-related problems, ranging from the invasion of exotic wildlife to extensive flooding.
Five years earlier, a special task force appointed by Gov. Mark Sanford recommended more than 50 ways to stop rising greenhouse gas pollution from worsening global warming.
Today, those reports remain on the shelf in a state where residents are increasingly feeling the uncomfortable effects of climate change. Criticized by powerful electric utilities and political appointees, the studies never resulted in a comprehensive state climate strategy to guide South Carolina leaders as the globe warms, The State newspaper found as part of a regional collaboration with InsideClimate News called “Caught Off Guard: Southeast Struggles with Climate Change.”
This story was published as part of a collaborative project organized by InsideClimate News involving nine newsrooms across seven states. The project was led by Louisville, Ky.-based James Bruggers of InsideClimate News, who leads the Southeast regional hub of ICN’s Environment Reporting Network.