Thursday, 4:30 PM
Lawmakers leery of global warming
By Beth Daley, GLOBE STAFF
FRANCONIA, N.H. ó If members of the House Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming could have peered through the storm clouds atop Cannon Mountain on Monday, they would have seen for themselves why the regionís residents are so anxious about global warming.
On a clear day, as far as the eye can see from the mountain, every business in this New Hampshire region depends on the climate, from its ski lifts to its hotels, from farms to snowmobile trails.
That climate is changing fast. Average winter temperatures in New England have risen more than 4 degrees Fahrenheit since 1970, and the region is also experiencing less snow and more rain, more severe storms, earlier springs, and longer growing seasons, research shows.
"This is not climate change in the future. ... Itís now," said Cameron Wake, a research associate professor at the University of New Hampshire.
US Representative Edward J. Markey, the Malden Democrat chairing the Global Warming Committee, called the mountaintop summit at 4,186 feet to underscore what he says are growing concerns in New England and throughout the country about climate changeís effect on almost every aspect of the economy.
He also chose New Hampshire, he said, because the state is a leader in attempting to address climate change, from its focus on energy efficiency to the 160 towns that have adopted a resolution urging Congress to pass mandatory greenhouse gas emission limits.
"We already know that if we donít cut global warming pollution, we may need to rename Glacier National Park, because one day there may be no glaciers," Markey told the 60 people who packed the mountaintop cafeteria. "Now, it appears we may also have to one day rename the White Mountains, because there may be no snow."
The panel asked questions of a state official, a maple syrup specialist, a representative from Timberland, and a sportsman about the changes they are seeing and solicited their advice on how best to slow global warming without slowing the economy.
Beth Daley can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.