Climate Change in Charleston, South Carolina, USA

This page is about the changing climate & great energy transition in Charleston, South Carolina, USA. Students in Charleston create and update its content. See City Editors.

1.0 How climate change is impacting Charleston

2.0 Charleston city leaders + the climate

3.0 Climate organizations in Charleston

4.0 Students in Charleston are climate leaders

5.0 Charleston politicians + the climate

6.0 Charleston’s local energy transition

7.0 Charleston’s faith community + climate

1.0 How the climate is changing and impacting Charleston

Charleston’s climate is becoming more like the gulf coast of Florida

If carbon emissions continue as they are now, Charleston’s climate in 2080 will be as warm and as wet as the gulf coast of Florida is in the 2020s. That area is 2˚F warmer in winter and 16% wetter than summer in Charleston.


Charleston is in South Carolina’s “Low Country,” a region of wetlands, marshy islands, and creeks. The city itself is built at the confluence of three rivers. Sea levels are expected to rise two to three feet in the next 50 years, and adapting to these changes will cost over $2 billion.

“When I was a boy growing up in Charleston, it was recorded – 5 days each year in the mid 1960s, that the high tide was high enough that it actually flowed up onto the streets.

“So did you all know, in 2019 flooding happened 89 times in the city of Charleston? And by the year 2050, it’s estimated that flooding can occur every other day.” – John Tecklenburg, lifelong Charleston resident

“Charleston, SC Becomes First City in U.S. South to Sue Big Oil for Climate Costs”. EcoWatch. 2020-09-11.

2.0 Charleston city leaders are getting ahead of the climate with new infrastructure – like a great big sea wall

This is John Tecklenburg, Mayor of Charleston. He’s well aware of what’s going on with the climate.

The City of Charleston vs. Exxon, Chevron, BP, Shell, et al. for damages to city infrastructure because of climate change

The City of Charleston, South Carolina made history In September 2020 when it became the first in the U.S. South to sue the fossil fuel industry for damages caused by the climate. Charleston sued 24 oil and pipeline companies, saying the companies knew their products were heating the global climate – but denied the fact in public. Mayor John Tecklenburg says the City wants compensation for the costs of protecting Charleston from increased flooding and extreme weather. As of early 2022, the case is pending.

“Charleston, SC Becomes First City in U.S. South to Sue Big Oil for Climate Costs”. EcoWatch. 2020-09-11.

City of Charleston Climate Action Plan

City of Charleston decarbonization project

City of Charleston adaptation project

3.0 Students in Charleston leading the way on climate

College of Charleston

Charleston Southern University

4.0 Climate organizations in Charleston

Sunrise Movement Leaders

Citizens Climate Lobby

5.0 Charleston politicians + the climate



6.0 Progress on Charleston’s local energy transition

Electric Vehicles and Charging Stations

Charleston’s local Carbon Monster

Clean energy farms serving Charleston

7.0 Charleston’s faith community + climate change

Interfaith Power & Light

United Methodist Church