Climate Coverage

Donna Hiltz / NHPR

Members of Congress from New Hampshire are joining a call for clean energy workforce investment as part of the economic recovery from COVID-19.

U.S. Rep. Annie Kuster and Sen. Jeanne Shaheen joined nearly 60 other Democrats, led by lawmakers from New York and New Mexico, who sent a letter on the issue to Congressional leadership this week.

The letter cites research showing the clean energy sector could lose nearly a quarter of its jobs to the pandemic in the near term.

Annie Ropeik / NHPR File Photo

A new federal permit for New Hampshire's largest coal-fired power plant will not require the installation of cooling towers, which advocates say are vital to protect the Merrimack River.

The Environmental Protection Agency hasn’t updated Merrimack Station’s five-year water quality permit since the 1990s. The permit regulates water intake and discharge between the plant and the adjacent Merrimack River.

Annie Ropeik / NHPR file

Fifty years ago, millions of people in New Hampshire and nationwide celebrated the first Earth Day.

Today, this celebration is now international and looks a lot different - we're in the midst of a pandemic that’s interrupted the world’s growing response to climate change and brought much of society to a standstill. 

NHPR has been talking to activists and concerned citizens of all ages about how COVID-19 has reshaped their thinking about global warming and the future of efforts to fix it. 

Zoom screenshot

Democratic state lawmakers say they'll push for renewable energy development as part of the economic recovery from COVID-19.

State senator and gubernatorial candidate Dan Feltes addressed the issue during a virtual Earth Day town hall Wednesday.

Click here to sign up for our coronavirus newsletter to get the latest updates.

Annie Ropeik / NHPR File

Before the coronavirus pandemic, another global crisis was capturing more and more of the world’s attention: climate change. 

Now, the virus is reshaping our response to global warming -- changing how we think about everything from disaster preparedness, to the role of science in public policy.

NHPR wants your help to tell this story, starting this Wednesday, April 22, on a special edition of The Exchange for the 50th anniversary of Earth Day.

Weirs Cam / Winnipesaukee.com

New Hampshire's frozen lakes and ponds are starting to thaw as winter winds down, and state officials want citizens to send in their observations of local "ice out" dates.

Joe Klementovich / Hubbard Brook

New Hampshire scientists unveiled a landmark study Friday of how ice storms affect northern forests.

The first-of-its-kind research, from the Hubbard Brook Experimental Forest in North Woodstock, could help landowners and emergency managers plan for future disasters.

The Lure & Mythology of Maple Syrup in N.H.

Mar 6, 2020
UNH Cooperative Extension/Steve Roberge

We talk with maple sugarers about the lure and mythology of "winter's sweet farewell." Maple sugar season traditionally begins on Town Meeting Day in early March in New Hampshire. With warming winters and unpredictable weather swings, however, large syrup producers depend on modern technology, like vacuum pumps and reverse osmosis, to start tapping and boiling whenever the sap runs, even as early as December. But New Hampshire's sugarbushes are still full of family-run sugar shacks, relying on gravity-fed taps and burning wood to boil the sap. 

Air date: Monday, March 9, 2020

State regulators are monitoring how this winter’s low snowpack could affect water supplies in the dry summer months.

The state has between 60 and 75 percent less snow on the ground than average right now. State water division director Tom O’Donovan says that's just one source of the state’s drinking water and other water supplies – in reservoirs, lakes and wells.

Michael Kappel/Flickr CC

The New Hampshire Electric Cooperative has taken the rare step of adjusting its winter electric rate mid-season, due to warm temperatures and low prices. 

flickr

The idea of massively expanding tree planting as a solution to climate change started in the hallowed halls of academia, but has found its way to Capitol Hill. Republican lawmakers have seized on it as a climate policy they can support. 

Cobbetts Pond Improvement Association

State officials say too much salt is being applied to New Hampshire roads this winter, and they worry that warmer, wetter winters could make the problem worse in future.

Kim Reed / UNH

State officials are using federal money to look at how rising seas will threaten major highways and connecting routes on the Seacoast.

The project, funded by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, will build a "vulnerability assessment" for the I-95, Route 1 and Route 1A corridors, and local connector roads, including Routes 101 and 286.

Sarah Gibson / NHPR file photo

New research shows the Northeast is the only part of the country where winter snowfall is increasing, not decreasing – but the data the snowy season is also getting shorter.

Annie Ropeik / NHPR

The head of the Democratic National Committee’s new climate change council was in New Hampshire just ahead of the primary, quietly kicking off efforts to reshape the party’s environmental platform in 2020.

Party leaders voted unanimously to form this council last summer, after taking widespread criticism for declining to hold a climate-focused presidential debate.

It’s a sign of progress for the council’s elected chair, Michelle Deatrick of Michigan. She worked for Bernie Sanders in 2016 and later campaigned for Hillary Clinton.

Annie Ropeik / NHPR

Voters heard new specifics and a sense of urgency around climate change from several Democratic candidates at a youth-focused forum in Concord Wednesday.

Former South Bend mayor Pete Buttigieg, Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar, businessman Andrew Yang were among the candidates present; others were represented by surrogates. 

With national media and top climate activists watching, they laid out their plans to tackle global warming and related equity issues, and took questions from students involved in sustainability fields and climate science.  

Annie Ropeik / NHPR News

Many of the Democratic presidential candidates will be in Concord Wednesday for a marathon town hall on climate change.

The day-long forum focuses on young voters – especially students working in or studying climate and clean energy issues.

Each candidate will get about an hour to talk about their climate change plans and take questions from students in related fields.

Dan Tuohy / NHPR

New England used more wind and solar power than ever last year, but fossil fuels still make up half the electricity generated in the region.

In new data, power grid operator ISO-New England says 49% of electricity generated in New England last year was from natural gas. Less than 1% was from coal or oil. 

Natural gas use has roughly plateaued in the region in the past few years. It peaked in 2015.

Courtesy, NTI, the Nuclear Threat Initiative

We talk with former U.S. Secretary of Energy Ernest  Moniz about the threat of nuclear weapons and strategies for strengthening nonproliferation policies. We'll also discuss  his work on a dramatic plan called "Clearing the Air," which describes how to remove many gigatons of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.

Air date: Jan. 27, 2020

NHPR

The House Science, Technology and Energy Committee held its first hearing on a bill that would propose a New Hampshire state climate action plan. Several committee members had questions about cost, oversight and enforcement. 

Under the proposed bill, the state would create a plan to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions to at least 80 percent below the 1990 levels by 2050. 

Courtesy Michael Behrmann / Clean Energy NH

Most New England states have been investing in alternative energy sources for years. But New Hampshire has been slower to act in response to climate change.

Now, the Granite State is looking to be a leader in a major new source of renewable energy: offshore wind.

Alix Contosta / UNH

The US Department of Agriculture has designated eight New Hampshire Counties as primary natural disaster areas.

Last winter temperatures dropped, then warmed up. Snow melted, and rain would freeze into sheets of ice.

Ron Sher; PREP King Tide Photo Contest

Two years after Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico, the island nation is still recovering.

Thomas O’Donovan, Director of the Water Division for New Hampshire’s Department of Environmental Services, was a first responder during Hurricane Maria. He says, there are lessons that coastal New Hampshire can learn from Puerto Rico as we deal with our own climate threats like higher tides, extreme storms, and rising sea levels here at home. 

Alix Contosta / UNH

Scientists say winter warm spells – like the one the Northeast saw this past weekend – are in line with predictions for climate change.

Nearly every New Hampshire city and many in surrounding states set daily high temperature records on Saturday and Sunday, with peak warmth in the high 60s.

Annie Ropeik / NHPR News

Candidates campaigning in the final stretch of the New Hampshire presidential primary are redoubling their focus on environmental issues that have long been priorities for local voters.

Keng Susumpow via Flickr CC

State lawmakers will try again to pass restrictions on single-use plastic items in the coming legislative session.

The House last year approved a bill saying plastic straws should only be given out on request. But state Senators of both parties agreed to block the measure.

They argued it wasn’t needed -- that public opinion in the state was already turning against excessive plastic use.

Dan Tuohy / NHPR

The threat of climate change can be stressful for anyone, but for the climate scientists who study it day in and day out, that constant stress can take a toll on mental health.

Dr. Susanne Moser is a human geographer who specializes in psychological responses to climate change. She is a researcher out of Antioch University New England in Keene, and she recently co-authored a new paper titled "The Emotional Toll of Climate Change on Science Professionals."

Annie Ropeik / NHPR

A power plant in Bow -- the largest coal-burning plant left in New England -- has been the target of protests and civil disobedience in recent weeks. 

This month, activists from across New England have twice attempted to block trains carrying shipments of coal to the plant. Protests on the train tracks and at the plant have so far resulted in dozens of arrests.   

The activists say Merrimack Station should close. Its owners argue that criticism is misplaced. 

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