Climate Change—(Continued)by Senator Jeanne Shaheen
Posted on 2014-03-10
SHAHEEN. Mr. President, I wish to agree with Senator Cantwell,
our colleague from Washington State, because in New Hampshire we are
also seeing the impact of climate change on our traditional industries.
It is contributing to sea level rise, it imperils businesses and homes
in coastal communities such as Portsmouth. New Hampshire's very popular
Hampton Beach is experiencing greater storm surges and beach erosion.
The outdoor recreation community is facing shorter winters, less snow,
and that results in fewer tourism dollars.
Wildlife and public health are becoming increasingly vulnerable to diseases. In New Hampshire, tourism is our State's second largest industry. It accounts for $9.3 billion in the State's economy. It provides jobs and economic growth throughout the State, but climate change could put some of New Hampshire's best attractions in jeopardy. The fall foliage in New Hampshire is a main draw for visitors from around the world who spend millions annually to see our beautiful landscape. As climate change continues, those warmer temperatures are causing dulling and browning of climate-stressed unhealthy trees.
Another driver of tourism in New Hampshire is our State's outdoor recreation activities, such as downhill and cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, and snowmobiling. As temperatures increase due to climate change, the ski industry has to make more snow, and that increases their expenses. In fact, the EPA has predicted that by the end of the century, summers in New Hampshire could be as warm as summers in North Carolina, which would drastically shorten fall foliage without cooler temperatures starting in September. We are already seeing it in terms of fewer snow days in New Hampshire and earlier ice out on our lakes.
Maple sugar production is being affected. It depends on prolonged cold temperatures with freezing nights and warm daytime temperatures to create the optimal sugar content and sap production. With warming underway, maple sugar producers in New Hampshire tell me they are already seeing an impact on production. According to a report by the New Hampshire Citizens for a Responsible Energy Policy, ``Current modeling forecasts predict that maple sugar trees eventually will be completely eliminated as a regionally important species in the northeastern United States''--that is, if we fail to act on climate change.
New Hampshire's seacoast is facing rising sea levels along our 18 miles of shoreline. The coastline is one of the most developed parts of the State, and flooding could devastate coastal towns and their economies. Ted Diers, who is the administrator of the Watershed Management Bureau of the NH Department of Environmental Services, recently said: Sea level has been rising at 6 to 8 inches a century. What we're seeing right now is a tripling of that.
Climate change is expected to cause widespread tree deaths, which could cause extensive wildfires. We are already seeing that in the West. There are large increases in pest and pathogen outbreaks and a lag in the establishment of new forests for several decades. It is also a threat to animals and their habitats.
The moose population in New Hampshire is declining due to warming trends in winter and summer. The fact is that New Hampshire's moose population is down 40 percent this year, and it is the result of ticks. We have not had winters that are cold enough to cause those ticks to die off, and so we are seeing that across our wildlife population.
What is happening in New Hampshire is happening around the world. We must take action now to slow these harmful trends, and we can make progress. We should be looking at all kinds of ways to make progress, to address what is happening to our environment.
I look forward to working with my colleagues in the Senate to find smart and sensible solutions because New Hampshire's economy, the health of our citizens, the U.S. economy, the world's economy, and our health all depend on it.
I yield the floor.
The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Florida is recognized.