Covering Climate Change | New Hampshire Public Radio

Covering Climate Change

Human activity is warming the planet. This change is already reshaping how we live and interact with our environment in New Hampshire, across New England and beyond. And just as more people than ever were beginning to wake up to the climate emergency, our lives collided with the coronavirus pandemic and a generational reckoning on racial justice. 

From NHPR, By Degrees is a climate change reporting project that begins in this historic moment. Here, we tell stories of the challenges and solutions that these intersecting crises are bringing to light -- individual stories of resilience and struggle, innovation and compromise, and of big change by degrees. We’ll answer your questions, take you to new places, challenge those in power, and explore how our state and region are living through climate change -- and responding to it. 

Select a topic below to see more related stories and resources: 

What are we missing? What do you want to know? How is climate change affecting you right now? 

Please fill out our brief survey to send in your ideas, questions and observations. You can also email us at climate@nhpr.org, or get in touch on Twitter at @nhprclimate. We also welcome photos and videos that capture changes you're seeing.

Ways to Connect

Annie Ropeik / NHPR

A new report from the Union of Concerned Scientists says hundreds of coastal Superfund sites – including several in New Hampshire – face new risks of flooding due to climate change.

The analysis looked at federal toxic waste sites within 25 miles of the East and Gulf Coasts, and found that New Jersey, Florida and New York have the most sites at risk of extreme flooding. Many are concentrated along the I-95 corridor. 

Sara Plourde / NHPR

NHPR’s new climate change reporting project, By Degrees, begins in the midst of a global pandemic, mass protests against systemic racism, a presidential election and an economic crisis.

We need your help to tell new stories of how New Hampshire is living through climate change at this historic moment.

What are we missing? What do you want to know? How is climate change affecting you right now? 

350 New Hampshire

Liberty Utilities says it will not build the proposed Granite Bridge natural gas pipeline in Southern New Hampshire, after finding a cheaper way to serve new customers by using existing infrastructure.

The company told the state of the change in plans in a Public Utilities Commission filing Friday afternoon. 

The $340-million pipeline plan dated to late 2017 and drew fierce opposition from climate change activists, who oppose any expansion of fossil fuel infrastructure in the region.

Hemera Collection

The state is launching a broad new effort to find ways to reduce the air emissions that drive respiratory disease and climate change in New Hampshire.

The non-partisan Emissions Commission meets for the first time next week and will include members of state agencies, utilities and the legislature, along with health, business and environmental advocates.

U.S. Drought Monitor

With dry weather in the forecast, experts say southern New Hampshire could be headed for a severe drought within the next three weeks.

The southern half of the state has been experiencing moderate drought conditions since June.

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Annie Ropeik / NHPR File Photo

A regional plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from power plants also made the northeast healthier, by reducing air pollutants like mercury and sulfur dioxide.

But a new study focused on children found the benefits of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, or RGGI, were even greater than previously thought – preventing hundreds of childhood illnesses and saving an additional hundreds of millions of dollars.

The findings were published Wednesday in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives.

Sam Evans-Brown / NHPR

Environmental groups want federal regulators to reconsider a new water discharge permit for New England’s largest coal-fired power plant – Merrimack Station in Bow.

The Environmental Protection Agency permit was issued in May after many years of delay.

It dictates how the power plant uses water from the Merrimack River – burning coal to heat the water into steam that generates electricity, before putting that hot water back into the river.

Annie Ropeik / NHPR

Reusable shopping bags will be allowed again at New Hampshire grocery stores, after Gov. Chris Sununu lifted the state’s COVID-19 ban on reusable bags Monday.

Joy Jackson / Unsplash

Gov. Chris Sununu handed down another expected veto of a clean energy plan Friday.

He rejected a bill that would expand New Hampshire's Renewable Portfolio Standard and increase how much solar power utilities must use.

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Todd Bookman for NHPR

Gubernatorial candidate Andru Volinsky is singling out the Granite Bridge natural gas pipeline proposal as a dividing line in that race’s Democratic primary, holding a campaign event Friday that his opponent, state Sen. Dan Feltes, dismissed as a political stunt.

The project, from Liberty Utilities, involves a 27-mile gas pipeline between Stratham and Manchester, along Route 101. It would connect two existing gas arteries that follow Interstates 93 and 95 and would also include a large liquefied natural gas storage tank in Epping.

https://flic.kr/p/5Dr6fa / Flicker CC

Every other Friday on Morning Edition NHPR’s Sam Evans-Brown tracks down answers to questions about the environment and outdoors for our listeners in a segment we call “Ask Sam.”

Annie Ropeik / NHPR

U.S. Interior Secretary David Bernhardt was in New Hampshire Wednesday, touring the Great Bay National Wildlife Refuge.

Bernhardt’s visit came just before the U.S. House of Representatives overwhelmingly passed a bill to permanently fund the Land and Water Conservation Fund, which helps New Hampshire and other states fund ecological and cultural conservation projects.

President Donald Trump is expected to sign the bill in the coming days.

Sara Plourde / NHPR

Escrito originalmente en inglés por Annie Ropeik. Publicado el 7 de julio del 2020.

Traducido al español por María Aguirre 

El nuevo proyecto de NHPR sobre cambio climático, By Degrees, empieza durante una pandemia global, protestas masivas en contra del racismo, elecciones presidenciales y una crisis económica. 

Necesitamos tu ayuda para contar nuevas historias sobre cómo New Hampshire atraviesa el cambio climático en este momento histórico. 

Courtesy of Marcus Ponce de Leon

By Degrees is a new climate change reporting project by NHPR. One major focus of the project is the connection between pollution and our health.

Last week, we talked about outdoor air quality in New Hampshire. But scientists are exploring the ways indoor air quality affects us too.

Annie Ropeik / NHPR

Massachusetts recently announced that it was ending its pandemic moratorium on reusable shopping bags, saying towns could go back to reinforcing their bans on single-use plastic bags. 

Meanwhile, New Hampshire and many other states are still not letting shoppers bring their reusable bags to stores. But is that actually helping to slow the spread of coronavirus?


Joe Klementovich

Scientists from New England and Canada are working together to launch a new project called Your Forest, Your Health.

The coalition of medical experts and ecologists want to learn more about how forests can help keep us healthy, especially during the Coronavirus pandemic. And they want to make people more aware of how forests contribute to a healthier climate too. 

Want climate change news in your inbox? Sign up for our newsletter today.

File photo

Today, Monday, could be one of the hottest days of the year, and with that comes high demand for electricity. Using less power in the heat could lower your bills – as well as carbon emissions.

Electricity bills carry a fee based on the peak demand within the year. Consultant Emily Manns of Nashua-based Standard Power says it’s possible that fee will be set today, at the peak hours: between 4 and 7 p.m.

Businesses and factories may pay a penalty for using more power during that time, but it has an effect on residential customers, too:

Wikimedia Commons

The National Weather Service has issued a Heat Advisory in effect until 8 p.m. on Monday.

This kind of heat index, in the mid-90s or higher, poses a serious health risk to the elderly, young children, and those with respiratory issues or other preexisting health conditions. These people should find somewhere to stay cool inside and drink plenty of water.

Daniela Allee / NHPR

Earlier this year, the city of Lebanon gave a small group of residents the chance to bring not their trash and recyclables to the local landfill, but their compost too.

It makes Lebanon one of a few cities in the state helping residents reduce food waste, which is a major contributor to climate change.


Flicker CC / https://flic.kr/p/drsrm8

Federal regulators have declined to act on a challenge to a pro-solar energy law from a group with ties to conservative New Hampshire politics and Gov. Chris Sununu.

The New England Ratepayers Association’s petition to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission dealt with net metering, where customers can generate and sell their own, often renewable power back to the grid to save on their utility bills.

Annie Ropeik / NHPR

New Hampshire is seeing more heat waves due to climate change. And staying cool is even harder this year because of COVID-19. Our new climate change reporting project, By Degrees, has this look at how New Hampshire's cities are coping. 

Courtesy of Charles Driscoll

By Degrees is a new reporting project by NHPR shedding new light on climate change in New Hampshire. That project launches this week.

Air pollution is known to cause health problems like premature deaths, hospitalizations, heart attacks, and childhood asthma. It's also closely connected to climate change.

Syracuse University Professor Charles Driscoll joined NHPR’s All Things Considered host Peter Biello to talk about what air quality in New Hampshire can tell us about the extent of the problem.

Courtesy Cottage Hospital

Parts of New Hampshire saw intense rain Tuesday morning, leading to some flash flooding, including at a hospital.

Cottage Hospital in Woodsville experienced flooding early this morning as bands of thunderstorms and “torrential rainfall” moved through the area.

“Our staff responded swiftly to mitigate damage. Patient rooms were not affected,” says Dr. Maria Ryan, the hospital’s CEO, in a statement. “The water has now receded. Thankfully, no equipment was damaged.

Dan Tuohy / NHPR

Our new climate change reporting initiative, By Degrees, begins in an unprecedented time – one where people are making seismic shifts in their lifestyles and attitudes in response to COVID-19 and the Black Lives Matter movement. 

Many of our listeners have wondered: why haven’t people reacted the same way to the climate emergency, and could that be about to change? 

Annie Ropeik

Just as more people than ever were beginning to wake up to the climate emergency, our lives collided with the coronavirus pandemic and a generational reckoning on racial justice. As part of NHPR's climate change reporting initiative, By Degrees, we discuss the overlap between climate justice and racial justice. We explore where environmental racism and injustice occur in our state and our region, and examine the challenges and solutions that these intersecting crises are bringing to light. Can our response to climate change address systemic racism and improve the lives of marginalized people? 

Air date: Wednesday, July 15, 2020.

Britta Greene for NHPR

By Degrees is a multi-year reporting project from NHPR that will tell stories about climate change in New Hampshire - its challenges, solutions and connections to other forces shaping our lives today. 

The project begins today. Morning Edition Host Rick Ganley spoke with lead reporter Annie Ropeik, who covers energy, the environment and the Seacoast for NHPR, to learn more about the project's goals, what to expect this week and how listeners can contribute.  

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