COLUMBIA — South Carolina’s wildlife agency gathered a team of scientists more than a year ago to study what could happen if temperatures in the state continue to warm, but have never released their report.
A draft of the committee’s findings determined that if temperatures rise in the South by 9 degrees as projected by some over the next 70 years, South Carolina would see more beach flooding and invasion of non-native species such as piranha and Asian swamp eels, according to a draft of the report obtained by The State of Columbia.
One scientist involved in the initial work on the report for the Department of Natural Resources said there were political concerns whether readers of the report would accept that global warming was happening and was a danger.
“There were concerns about the political nature of it,” Barry Beasley said.
But the new DNR director said the report needs more work before it is released. The agency also is busy with other environmental matters such as port expansion and a massive gold mine planned for Lancaster County, DNR Director Alvin Taylor said.
The group had 18 members, including seven PhDs, a climatologist and at least five other agency biologists.
“Scientists in all divisions of the DNR are concerned over the potential impacts of climate change on natural resources,” the draft report says.
“DNR recognizes climate change as a real phenomenon, grounded in numerous scientific studies, and DNR recognizes that thoughtful and careful planning is needed in order to protect the natural resources of the Palmetto State and to benefit its citizens in the future.”
Other findings in the report including warnings that the state could lose prime duck hunting areas, salt water could be pushed further into coastal rivers, affecting fresh water supplies and hotter sand temperatures could affect loggerhead turtle populations.