We have an opportunity, and an obligation, to lead in solving this global crisis by investing in clean and safe electricity, efficient buildings and a less polluting transportation system.
However, changes in New Hampshire's climate brought about by global warming are beginning to affect New Hampshire's way of life—from tourism to economic opportunity and health care costs.
To help ensure our children inherit a state that supports a high quality of life and rich opportunities, it is important to understand the causes and direction of climate trends, as well as the practical and responsible steps New Hamphire can take in the next few years to help avoid many of the unfavorable consequences of global warming.
In New England everyone jokes about the fickle weather. Although there is some natural variation in the weather every year, over longer time periods we see climate trends emerge. If you grew up in New Hampshire, you probably remember winters being longer and snowier. In the northeast United States, the average annual temperature has increased by 1.8°F over the last century. Even more striking, New England's average winter (December to February) temperature has increased 4.4°F over the last 30 years.
These temperature changes are affecting the region's plants, animals, and environment. For example, the average snow cover season has decreased by more than 15 days compared with 30 years ago, and the New Hampshire state flower, the purple lilac, now blooms four days earlier.
Much of this warming is caused by emissions, primarily carbon dioxide (CO2), that blanket the earth and trap heat. The main source of excess CO2 is the burning of coal, oil, and natural gas to generate electricity and drive our cars. If we continue to generate large quantities of CO2 and other heat-trapping gases, we can expect an average temperature increase for the northeastern United States of between five and nine degrees Fahrenheit by 2100. To place these projections in perspective, the average global temperature has increased 1.1°F over the last century. Fortunately there are sensible and affordable solutions available today to help us reduce our heat-trapping emissions and preserve our quality of life.
WHAT'S AT STAKE
Since 1930 the ski industry has been an important part of New Hampshire's economy. Skiing provides critical jobs in small towns and pumps more than $650 million into the New Hampshire economy. The ski industry is already suffering from shorter ski seasons and increased operating costs attributable to the warming of the past few decades. Since 1970 the number of New Hampshire ski areas dropped steeply, with many southern and lower-elevation resorts closest to population centers going out of business.
In order to survive today, New Hampshire ski areas must produce artificial snow on more than 90 percent of their trails. Snowmaking requires freezing temperatures, access to large local water sources, and intensive infrastructure investments. Rising temperatures mean increased snowmaking, leading to higher operating costs.
Tourism associated with cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, and snowmobiling will see the earliest effects from global warming because these activities depend on natural snowfall and do not have the option of artificial snowmaking.
Because forests cover most of New Hampshire, projected changes in forest species will change the character of the state. Sugar maples (Acer saccharum), for example, occur exclusively in the northeastern United States and southeastern Canada. Maple sugar production depends on prolonged cold temperatures with freezing nights and warm daytime temperatures to create the optimal sugar content and sap production. With warming under way, the maple sugar industry long associated with New England has already felt some impact. Over the last two decades, the center of maple sugar production has shifted from the United States into Canada.
Global climate models project a substantial northward shift in maple tree distribution. Such shifts in forest vegetation could cause lower elevations in New Hampshire to lose their brilliant fall foliage and resemble instead the brown autumns currently experienced in southern Pennsylvania.
HEALTH TRENDS LINKED TO CLIMATE
Today summer storms tracking across Canada clear away pollution in the northeast United States. A recent study looking specifically at global warming and its impact on air quality found that storm frequency is projected to decrease in the region, resulting in air stagnation over much of New England. If future emissions of carbon monoxide and black carbon remain at today's levels, the study showed air stagnation will result in hazardous smog episodes that will increase in both severity and duration by mid-century.
Studies for Boston and Portland already show increases in emergency room visits for respiratory and asthma incidents that correlate with bad air pollution days (specifically, ground-level ozone events). In addition to asthma and respiratory ailments, poor air quality is also harmful to New Hampshire residents with cardiovascular disease.
Currently poor air quality in New Hampshire results in the premature death of more than 100 residents each year, costing the state one billion dollars annually. If global warming increases the frequency and/or severity of dangerous air pollution, then air pollution-related health problems will likely increase, compromising the health of many New Hampshire citizens and increasing the state's public health care expenses.
CHOICES FOR NEW HAMPSHIRE
There is a great deal that state, regional, and national policy makers can do today to address the root causes of global warming and reduce its effect on New Hampshire's economy, public health, and environment.
A MODEL REGION
New Hampshire has already taken the lead by joining other northeastern states in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI)—a cooperative effort to establish a program that will reduce CO2 emissions from power plants much the same way we successfully and quickly reduced acid rain pollution in the 1990s. This flexible "cap and trade" program harnesses the efficiency of the marketplace to achieve pollution reductions in the most cost-effective manner. A successful program for the Northeast not only benefits the region by reducing pollutants but can serve as a national model for federal policy.
Renewable energy resources including wind, solar, and bioenergy are now affordable alternatives to the burning of fossil fuels. Policies such as a federal renewable electricity standard, which requires utilities to generate a portion of their electricity from renewable sources, would create jobs and other in-state economic development while reducing air pollution and global warming emissions.
For example, a 10 percent standard—similar to the standard that has passed the U.S. Senate three times—would generate an estimated $12 million in new income for rural landowners and $42 million in new property tax revenue. In addition, New Hampshire consumers would save $70 million on their electricity and natural gas bills by 2020 under a 10 percent standard.
The old "waste not, want not" adage has guided New Englanders for years. Nationally, energy efficiency improvements have helped us keep our per capita energy use almost identical to that of 1973, even though our economic output increased 74 percent in the intervening 30-plus years. These improvements saved consumers at least $430 billion.
But there remains enormous potential for additional cost-effective energy savings. The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) estimates that energy efficiency solutions are available now to cut national energy use 10 percent by 2010. For example, simply extending tax incentives for energy-efficient equipment and buildings and setting new efficiency standards for new equipment could reduce peak electricity demand 70,000 megawatts (MW) by 2020—eliminating the need to build 230 300-MW polluting power plants.
Because cars and trucks are responsible for almost a quarter of annual U.S. emissions of heat-trapping CO2, improving vehicle fuel economy (and thereby reducing emissions) should be a key element of climate policy. Fortunately, increasing fuel efficiency is one of the most cost-effective and technologically feasible methods of addressing the threat of global warming while benefiting our economy and protecting public health. Off-the-shelf technology can greatly reduce the amount of gasoline that cars, SUVs, and pickup trucks need without raising costs. For example, increasing fuel economy to an average 40 mpg would cost consumers about $1,000 to $2,500 per vehicle, but would save consumers $3,500 to $6,000 (calculated at two dollars per gallon) on fuel over the life of the vehicle.
A sensible federal policy would therefore increase the average fuel economy of cars, SUVs, and pickup trucks to 40 mpg over the next 10 years. By using existing technology to make more efficient vehicles, Granite State consumers would cut their 2015 gasoline consumption by nearly 500,000 gallons every day, for a net savings of $217 million at the gas pump. In addition, 700 new jobs would be created in New Hampshire by 2015.
MOVING FORWARD RESPONSIBLY
Because heat-trapping emissions remain in the atmosphere for decades or even centuries, the choices we make today will affect the climate our children and grandchildren inherit. The only responsible approach is to start reducing heat-trapping emissions now. As illustrated above, many solutions exist today that not only help us begin to slow global warming, but will also have immediate benefits for our air quality and economy. Delaying action by even five to ten years will greatly increase the costs of grappling with the problem.
In addition to reducing emissions that cause global warming, we can address root causes of air pollution that have public health consequences. We must also prepare to manage those future changes that cannot be avoided. With foresight, planning, and a commitment to responsible management, New Hampshire can be a leader in effective climate solutions.
Please email this web page to your friends and to people who are concerned about our future and our Grandchildren’s future. Thank you.
Proverb: A good person leaves an inheritance to their children’s children.
What kind of inheritance are you leaving?
STOP CLIMATE CHAOS
and the DESTRUCTION of the POOR
GLOBAL WARMING DESTROYS WINE INDUSTRY
REFINERY REFORM, POLLUTION and DEATH
Does Big Oil have a body bag with your name on it?
Do not allow Big Oil and the Robber Barons to molest you and your family.
book: Confessions of an Economic Hit Man; author: John Perkins
book: Secret History of the American Empire; author: John Perkins
book: Internal Combustion; author: E. Black http://www.internalcombustionbook.com
book: Halliburton Agenda, The Politics of Oil and Money; author: Dan Briody
book: Globalization and Its Discontents; author: Joseph Stiglitz
book: American Fascists; author: Chris Hedges
book: Tempting Faith, An Inside Story of Political Seduction; author: David Kuo
Per the Sustainable Industries Journal,
the Pentagon has blocked the construction of 16 Wind Energy sites in the USA.
The military claims the Wind Farms are a threat to national security.
Maybe the Wind Farms are a threat to Big Oil and Big Coal?
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