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Global Warming Threatens Outer Banks, Study Says

By AP (Associated Press) - March 9, 2006

A legislative committee interested in protecting North Carolina’s beach communities heard today that global warming means trouble for barrier islands.

East Carolina University geologist Stanley Riggs says the rising sea levels are coming at a time of booming development boom along the coast. Riggs says less-intense development is needed to protect the island chains. The Legislative Commission on Global Climate Change is examining if or how North Carolina should prepare for a warming planet.

It’s working on making recommendations to the General Assembly by November. Panel members and speakers differ starkly over whether fuels used by humans is polluting the air and increasing worldwide temperatures. There’s disagreement about whether a dramatic reduction in carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases will steady Earth’s climate.

Average atmospheric temperatures rose about 1 degree Fahrenheit in the 20th century and could rise several times that amount this century, prompting an 18 inch rise in ocean levels.