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

U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen returned to in-person campaigning on the Seacoast Wednesday, positioning climate change at the center of her re-election bid.

Shaheen, a Democrat, was at Throwback Brewery in North Hampton – joined, in masks and at a distance, by environmentalists, students and groups endorsing her.

A new, ongoing reporting project from New Hampshire Public Radio will take a deeper look at climate change in our state and the region, and its impact on policies, industries, communities and individuals.

First Street Foundation

A major new study says federal flood maps have far underestimated how many properties in New Hampshire and nationwide are at risk from substantial flooding, now and in the coming decades.

The report, out Monday, comes from a range of academic institutions and the nonprofit First Street Foundation.

There’s a tendency to think of “the natural world” as everything beyond the asphalt. But soil often lies just a couple inches below the concrete, and the design of our cities represents choices about how much space we give to “built environment” and how much we give to “grown environment" -- and specifically, to trees.

 

Annie Ropeik / NHPR

Near-drought conditions in southern New Hampshire are straining vegetable farmers in the midst of planting season, after more than a month without substantial rainfall.

The state expects to soon declare a drought in the southern tier and lower Lakes Region, after an abnormally dry spring and a winter without much snow to recharge streams and groundwater.

Wikimedia Commons

Pandemic closures are limiting the options in New Hampshire for people who need to take shelter from the heat this weekend.

Much of the state will see temperatures in the 90s, with high humidity, through early next week.

But it may fall short of an official heat advisory, which is what cities like Manchester and Nashua use to activate their heat response plans.

Jessica Hunt / NHPR

Southern New Hampshire looks to be headed for a drought this summer, after more than a month without any significant rainfall following a low-snow winter.

The state got about half an inch of rain on May 15. 

Via USDA website

New Hampshire's attorney general is joining the opposition to a federal challenge to net energy metering policy, ahead of the end of public input on the case Monday.

Dozens of other states, companies and groups and companies have already joined the case before the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. Many filed comments opposing the petition.

The landmark Supreme Court ruling known as Massachusetts v. Environmental Protection Agency held that greenhouse gases were pollutants that could be regulated by the executive branch, and defined de facto federal climate policy in the United States for a decade.

Could it soon be reversed? 

Flickr Creative Commons | Nicholas A. Tonelli

Every other Friday on Morning Edition, Outside/In Host Sam Evans-Brown answers listeners' questions about the mysteries and quirks of the outside world.

Laurie from California asks: “In all of the five big extinction events, how did plants fare versus animals? Are trees going to take over after we’re gone? Are trees with flowers still going to be around?”

Steve and Michelle Gerdes / Flicker CC

Advocates are calling on New Hampshire’s congressional delegation to support job training for clean energy projects as part of COVID-19 economic recovery.

Reps. Annie Kuster and Chris Pappas joined state nonprofits for a roundtable on the issue Friday.

The lawmakers and their Senate colleagues have joined recent calls for renewable energy investment in upcoming stimulus bills. 

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.

Wikimedia Commons

New Hampshire has few places left open for people to cool off during this week's heat wave.

Phil Alexakos, Chief Operations Officer for the Manchester Health Department, says if temperatures reach what is considered “extreme heat,” the city may have to create designated cooling centers.

“And we would have to do that now with the lens of properly distancing folks,” he says. “So that’s what we’re going to be working on is looking at our existing plans and making sure that they take into account proper distancing and precautions and screenings.”

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.

UNH Carsey School

A recent poll says New Hampshire residents' trust in science and government advice hasn't changed much, even as the coronavirus spreads.

Researchers at the University of New Hampshire's Survey Center polled about 1,800 residents in March and April.

Subscribe to our COVID-19 newsletter for the latest updates from NHPR.

Rob_ / Flickr CC

New Hampshire’s Congressional delegation is opposing a federal petition that would erode states’ control of a major solar energy policy.

Dennis Schroeder / National Renewable Energy Laboratory

New Hampshire’s energy efficiency sector is shedding jobs due to COVID-19, but advocates also say that industry could help the state dig out of the recession.

The state lost more than 750 energy-related jobs in March, according to the research firm BW. New England lost nearly 15,000 energy jobs overall that month, mostly in Massachusetts.  

ISO-New England screenshot

New England saw a big drop in energy prices and demand in March, as the coronavirus pandemic coincided with mild late-winter weather.

The region's grid operator, ISO-New England, says March had the lowest electricity prices since 2003, when the current market structure began.

The regional grid runs mostly on natural gas, and gas prices were 60 percent lower in March of this year than last.

Annie Ropeik / NHPR

A federal challenge to a policy that benefits solar energy – from a conservative lobbying firm with New Hampshire roots – is attracting attention from around the country.

The New England Ratepayers Association, or NERA, is based in Boston but active in Granite State politics. They formed in 2016 and do not disclose their membership.

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.

BOEM.gov

A fishing industry group wants New Hampshire and neighboring states to put off planning offshore wind development during the coronavirus pandemic.

The Responsible Offshore Development Alliance, or RODA, sent a letter to the governors of Maine, New Hampshire and Massachusetts on Tuesday. The group represents the fishing industry in states with offshore wind development.

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.

Annie Ropeik / NHPR File Photo

Town meeting ballots across New Hampshire on Tuesday will include a resolution in support of carbon pricing, due in part to the efforts of youth climate activists.

The warrant article is spearheaded by a group of nonprofits and advocacy groups, under the name Carbon Cash-Back Coalition.

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

Dead River Company

New Hampshire's heating fuel industry is trying to recruit workers at a time of low unemployment.

The Dead River Company, which serves Northern New England, is expanding a program to employ and train recent trade school graduates as fuel technicians or truck drivers.

At the same time, training director Dan Carrigan says his company and the industry as a whole are looking to the future of home heating, amid a push to transition away from fossil fuels.

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.

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