For the last twenty years of my life, I have seen the ever-so-gradual effects of rising ocean levels at our farm in Beaufort County. In some cases, it’s been watching pine trees die in that fragile zone between uplands and salt marsh; in other cases it’s meant finding roots in areas that would never grow a tree, given the current salt water levels. While I understand very clearly the debate on whether or not these events come as a result of man’s activity – or just the effects of nature taking its course – I’ve had other personal experiences that strongly suggest to me that man is having an impact on the environment. The last time I was in Beijing on a trade trip, we happened to be there on a bad smog day. When I went outside I could see no more than a quarter of a mile and my eyes watered.

Man is quite clearly having an impact in that part of the world, and while it’s been my longtime belief as a conservative that I should exercise as many rights and freedoms as possible, those rights and freedoms end when they begin to infringe upon the rights of others. Lloyd’s of London, in fact, just commissioned a study looking at the rising cost of insurance around the world based on the rising risk of catastrophic damage due to changes in climate. So based on this notion of some people losing rights and freedoms because of the actions of others - in either the quality of the air they breathe, geography they hold dear, the cost of their insurance, or future environmental impacts to children they love – I think it is very reasonable for us to study climate change and its possible impacts for South Carolina.

The American way is to lead, and to lead in looking for solutions. It’s my earnest hope that, consistent with the administration’s conservative philosophy and commitment to market principles, some recommendations can be found that will have an impact in this state – and even other states and the nation as a whole – as a growing consensus emerges on the need to at least consider this issue in ways that have not been done in the past.

With that said, I hereby issue the following Executive Order:

Executive Order No. 2007-04

WHEREAS, the potential effects of global climate change in the Southeastern United States – including more frequent and severe storm events and flooding; sea level rise, water supply disruption, agricultural crop yield changes and forest productivity shifts; water and air quality degradation; and threats to coastal areas, tourism, and infrastructure – could significantly impact South Carolina’s economy, level of public expenditures, and quality of life; and

WHEREAS, there is growing interest in the United States to review the risks and impacts of climate change while also creating new economic opportunities, and a number of states are already addressing climate change; and

WHEREAS, actions that make our homes and workplaces more energy efficient enhance energy security and affordability may reduce emissions of carbon dioxide and other sources; spur greater resource productivity and business innovation, provide cost savings, improve air quality and public health, and enhance economic development, job creation, and quality of life in South Carolina; and

WHEREAS, many such actions can be implemented efficiently through market-based policies and other economically sound approaches to enhance South Carolina's position and participation in national and global markets and advance the State's leadership in the development and application of new efficient technologies and practices, and allow South Carolina to enjoy greater competitive advantage; and

WHEREAS, a deliberative stakeholder process to address climate change risks, which may enable the State to have greater influence in eventual climate change policy determinations at the national level and to ensure that South Carolina businesses are in the best position to benefit from possible future federal climate change policy actions.

NOW, THEREFORE, I do hereby establish the Governor’s Climate, Energy and Commerce Advisory Committee (“Committee”).

1. The Committee shall consider the potential benefits, costs, savings, and feasibility of furthering building and infrastructure efficiency, and of carbon dioxide mitigation options and related energy policy and economic opportunities, and develop specific recommended actions.

2. The Committee shall not exceed 30 members appointed by the Governor, including representatives from some or all of the following sectors: Tourism and Recreation, Agriculture and Forestry, Renewable Energy, Transportation, Insurance, Banking and Finance, Manufacturing, Electric Power Generation, Advanced Technology, Construction and Building, Small Business, Public Health, Conservation Organizations, State and Local Government, Educational Institutions, and the General Public.

3. The Committee shall be authorized to hold public meetings and take such actions as it deems necessary and advisable to achieve its purpose.

4. The Committee shall meet as needed and submit a Climate, Energy and Commerce Action Plan to the Governor by March 2008.

5. The Committee may receive support from the Departments of Natural Resources and Health and Environmental Control in achieving its mission.

This Order shall take effect immediately.



This page last updated on Thursday, July 2, 2009 at 4:12 P.M.