Given the Bush Administration's inaction on global warming -- his belated acknowledgement this week that human pollution may be a problem notwithstanding -- one has to look for hopeful signs elsewhere that lawmakers take this issue seriously.

Fortunately, today's Raleigh News & Observer brings potential good news from North Carolina:

North Carolina is poised to be the first Southeastern state to tackle global warming and its impact on the state's coasts and economy.

With growing scientific consensus that man-made pollution is contributing to rising temperatures and climate change, state lawmakers are advancing legislation to study the effects on North Carolina and what the state can do to reduce production of greenhouse gases such as methane and carbon dioxide.

I ran into one of the state's lead environmental advocates this morning, and he told me that they were pleasantly surprised the measure was moving forward. The bill's sponsor, Sen. Charlie Albertson (D-Duplin County), also described being "surprised at the interest in this legislation." Most likely, testimony from experts about the devastating toll rising sea levels will have on North Carolina's multi-billion-dollar coastal economy were a factor.

The bill clearly isn't the answer to the global warming problem. It will merely create a 32-member commission to "study global warming effects" and "consider whether the state should adopt voluntary pollution reduction goals for greenhouse gases." But it's a good start.