Last week, I traveled to Manchester to participate in the New Hampshire Climate Forum. The event was organized by the Carbon Action Alliance to provide voters with the opportunity to ask the state’s Congressional candidates questions about the issues of clean energy and climate change. My role was to provide an overview of the impacts of climate change on New Hampshire’s coastal environment.
All six of New Hampshire’s major candidates for federal office were invited. None showed up. It’s a shame, because the event forged ahead with a number of informative presentations discussing the local dimensions of the climate issue. For my part, I focused in on the threat climate change poses to the Great Bay Estuary. The ecological health of this key coastal habitat is already in decline, as evidenced by rising nitrogen levels and rapid declines in populations of key species like eelgrass and oysters. Climate change will only exacerbate these problems. Indeed, there is plenty of evidence to suggest that it already is.
Earlier this year, researchers at the Jackson Estuarine Laboratory at the University of New Hampshire published an op-ed piece that concisely laid out the need to act to protect Great Bay from the impacts of climate change:
“Plant and animal life in the estuary are being damaged by the recurrence of ‘100-year storms’ at much more frequent intervals.”
“…the oysters in the Great Bay Estuary are now strongly affected by two major pathogens that have spread northward over the past several years, presumably because of increasing temperatures.”
There’s more. Read the entire op-ed piece on Seacoastonline.
Since 1997, Senator Judd Gregg has secured $56 million for the protection of Great Bay. That’s just a portion of the millions of dollars that have been spent on projects aimed at saving one of the largest estuaries found on the Atlantic Ocean. It’s an investment that is worth protecting by taking the threat posed by climate change seriously.
Although the NH Climate Forum did not get on the radar of the Granite State’s congressional candidates, the event was covered by Elizabeth McGowan of Solve Climate News. The piece has been picked up by Reuters and mentions Great Bay specifically:
This post was written by David Anderson, Project Coordinator for the New Hampshire Coastal Protection Partnership and Administrator for Save Great Bay. Please send all your Great Bay related news to firstname.lastname@example.org or call Dave at (603) 617-0679.