Energy and Global Climate Change in New England
Energy & Climate Basic Info
Beginning late in the 18th Century, human activities associated with the Industrial Revolution changed the chemical composition of the atmosphere and began influencing the Earth's climate: the burning of fossil fuels, such as coal and oil, along with deforestation, has caused concentrations of heat-trapping "greenhouse gases" to increase significantly in our atmosphere. These gases act to prevent heat from escaping into space, like the glass panels of a greenhouse.
Federal, state, and local organizations, as well as individual citizens, are taking action to reduce their carbon footprints and to promote alternative ways to produce energy. This website describes the ways U.S. EPA, both nationally and here in New England, is working on climate change. It also describes the work being done by states, communities and other private and public organizations to combat climate change. The site is divided into two major sections: the first covers federal, state and local efforts to mitigate or reduce the amount of greenhouse gases that we collectively emit into air; the second section discusses what these same organizations are doing to adapt to the impacts of our changing climate. Finally, it offers citizens examples of how their own daily choices can make a difference.
For information on climate change at the national and international level visit EPA’s National Climate Change site which has a wealth of information ranging from the basic science of climate change, to descriptions our collective efforts to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions and our efforts to adapt to climate change.
A number of organizations have produced reports that provide specific information on the science and impacts of climate change in New England:
National Water Program Climate Change Strategy - EPA has released the draft "National Water Program 2012 Strategy: Response to Climate Change," which describes how EPA's water-related programs plan to address the impacts of climate change and provides long-term visions, goals and strategic actions for the management of sustainable water resources for future generations. The 2012 strategy, which builds upon EPA's first climate change and water strategy released in 2008, focuses on five key areas: infrastructure, watersheds and wetlands, coastal and ocean waters, water quality, and working with Tribes. It also describes geographically-based strategic issues and actions. EPA will accept public comments on the draft strategy until May 17, 2012.
2006 New England Regional Assessment (NERA) - This report on the potential climate change impacts on the New England region, and upstate New York, provides a local perspective on a global issue in a format accessible to the public. Funded by the National Science Foundation and completed at the University of New Hampshire, the assessment was one of 16 prepared nationally for the U.S. Global Change Research Program.
Confronting Climate Change in the U.S. Northeast: Science, Impacts, and Solutions (PDF) (160 pp, 7.2MB, about PDF) - The Northeast Climate Impacts Assessment (NECIA) is a collaborative effort between the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) and a team of independent experts to develop and communicate a new assessment of climate change and associate impacts on key climate-sensitive sectors in the northeastern United States. The goal of the assessment is to combine state-of-the-art analyses with effective outreach to provide opinion leaders, policy makers and the public with the best available science upon which to base informed choices about climate change mitigation and adaptation.
Indicators of Climate Change in the Northeast 2005 (PDF) (40 pp, 1.9MB, about PDF) - This study was prepared by the Climate Change Research Center at the University of New Hampshire and the non governmental organization, Clean Air-Cool Planet. The report documents climate impacts on indicators such as increased temperature trends, precipitation changes, extreme precipitation events, ozone exceedence days, snowfall, and sea level rise.