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To report on climate change in New Hampshire is to be told over and over again just how far behind the state is compared to its neighbors.
Some say that the state is the hole of the donut: All of the states around New Hampshire have laws on the books requiring them to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions that drive warming temperatures. Not so in New Hampshire.
But Portsmouth is taking matters into its own hands. The city is putting together a climate action plan, with a kickoff event tonight at 6:30 where the city will introduce residents to the people who have been hired to help with the plan and provide an overview of the process. Attendees should come with questions and are welcome to offer input.
It’ll be the first of three such forums the city is planning as officials work to finish the climate plan by the end of 2023. I spoke with Peter Britz, who directs the city’s planning and sustainability program, about the climate initiative.
“I think Portsmouth is really committed to making this a more resilient community,” Britz said. “We live by the Seacoast and realize that it’s important to look at the future we have in terms of sea level rise and other climate issues, and be prepared.”
The climate plan is meant to be the foundation for all climate projects and goals for the next 50 years, according to a press release.
“We really want to engage the community, hear from them, hear what they want to see the city do and get that feedback. And this is the place to do that,” he said.
The city council has been encouraging that approach, so that when the council wants to spend money on these projects in the future, they’ll have buy-in from residents.
Britz said that while climate change is a huge and daunting problem it would be wrong to discount local efforts to address it. He hopes that Portsmouth can be part of broader efforts in the region to address climate change.
“Everybody has a role to play,” he said.
The forum will be held at Portsmouth’s City Hall in the Eileen Dondero Foley Council Chamber and is scheduled to run from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. More information is available online. The event is free and does not require registration.