North Carolina Climate Change Initiative

Created: 12/18/2010 - Updated: 3/02/2020


The North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources (NCDENR) has prioritized climate change as a primary goal. Its Climate Change Initiative provides a framework from which the NCDENR can develop and implement mitigation and adaptation responses.


In its 2009-2013 Strategic Plan, the NCDENR prioritized climate change as a main goal. The plan asserts that both mitigation and adaptation strategies will be used to respond to the projected impacts of climate change to North Carolina’s environment. The NCDENR has responded by launching the Climate Change Initiative, which is run by the department’s Climate Change Steering Committee.


The Climate Change Initiative Strategy Framework, released in June 2010, identifies mitigation and adaptation strategies available to NCDENR. Among the mitigation strategies identified are greenhouse gas emissions tracking, regulation, and reduction, and carbon sequestration. The adaptation strategies identified include those that address sea level rise, water management, public health, emergency preparedness, and land use planning and development.

The NCDENR is developing a plan to guide adaptation action within its departments and associated offices. In addition, the department is engaged in a number of adaptation activities:

  • North Carolina Sea Level Rise Assessment Report (March 2010). The Division of Coastal Management’s Coastal Resources Commission released a report on projected sea level rise rates through 2100.
  • Coastal Habitat Protection Plan. This plan, designed to protect and enhance habitats important to coastal fisheries, has been updated to include consideration of climate change impacts. A draft 2010 Plan is out for public review.
  • North Carolina Interagency Leadership Team. As a participant, NCDENR is leading the effort to craft a coordinated climate change response along with other agencies, including the Departments of Transportation, Commerce, Cultural Resources, and the Wildlife Resources Commission.
  • Planning for North Carolina’s Future: Ask the Climate Question. NCDENR co-hosted a March 2010 climate change adaptation workshop in Raleigh, North Carolina with the Interagency Leadership Team. This workshop attracted numerous experts, planners, and managers, and included presentations on the effects of climate change and potential adaptation responses.

Outcomes and Conclusions

The NCDENR launched its Climate Change Initiative to assist in creating a coordinated response to the effects of climate change. This is an ongoing and collaborative program to promote both mitigation and adaptation strategies to address climate change.


Information collected through survey, interview, and online resources. Updated 12/10/2010.


Gregg, R. M. (2010). North Carolina Climate Change Initiative [Case study on a project of the North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources]. Product of EcoAdapt's State of Adaptation Program. Retrieved from CAKE:… (Last updated December 2010)

Project Contact(s)

The N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) is the lead stewardship agency for the preservation and protection of North Carolina's outstanding natural resources. The organization, which has offices from the mountains to the coast, administers regulatory programs designed to protect air quality, water quality, and the public's health.


Scale of Project
State / Provincial
Sector Addressed
Conservation / Restoration
Development (socioeconomic)
Target Climate Changes and Impacts
Habitat extent
Sea level rise
Climate Type
3-5 years
Type of Adaptation Action/Strategy
Natural Resource Management / Conservation
Incorporate future conditions into natural resources planning and policies
Capacity Building
Design or reform institutions
Increase organizational capacity
Coordinate planning and management
Increase / Improve public awareness, education, and outreach efforts
Conduct / Gather additional research, data, and products
Conduct vulnerability assessments and studies
Host adaptation training or planning workshop
Infrastructure, Planning, and Development
Infrastructure retrofitting and improvements
Create or modify shoreline management measures
Governance and Policy
Create new or enhance existing policies or regulations
Develop / implement adaptation plans
Effort Stage
In progress