Questions that should have been asked: What Granite Staters missed from the canceled NH debates

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I mourn that the river behind my childhood home in NH’s Seacoast hasn’t frozen over the last two winters: my children may never ice fish. Given flooding this past month, it’s now likely that we’ll have experienced THREE federally-declared climate emergencies over the last year. These warmer winters have moved further north than the Seacoast, last year threatening Winnipesaukee’s ice fishing derby and Alston’s claim to the only FAA-approved ice runway in the contiguous U.S.

What NH needed to hear Republican candidates debate this week is how they’ll use conservative politics and ideology to address climate change. Without realistic policy solutions for the climate crisis from the Republican party, they make it seem like there’s only one political option: Democrats. I’m a middle-aged Independent but the same is being said by organizations like Young America’s Foundation and the American Conservation Coalition, and from more than 50% of Republicans who are concerned about climate change and 56% of all registered voters who believe that global warming should be high priority for the President, according to fall 2023 polls reported in “Climate Change in the American Mind: Politics & Policy.”

Just please don’t say we are going to invent a new technological fix in time. Most Americans are people of faith, meaning humans aren’t supposed to control universal systems. We want to see stars, not solar engineering. We have the tools needed to prevent the worst climate outcomes, but the 2021 IPCC report concluded that carbon removal and capture alone aren’t answers. To have a 66% chance of significantly reducing carbon levels, they’d have to deploy at a large scale for 100+ years, which is too late.

What we need from the Republican party is a response to the climate crisis that is no longer conservative in degree, but politically conservative and realistic.

headshot CEm Friedrichs lives in Durham and works in Manchester.


About this Author

Em Friedrichs

Em Friedrichs grew up in Exeter and recently came back to the Seacoast with zir spouse because NH is a great place to live. Ze previously lived in New Haven, NYC, and Buenos Aires and is bilingual. Em worries about the effect environmental degradation and decreasing affordability will have on our children, and their children. Ze is very active on Durham's Energy Committee, Planning Board, and most recently, Town Council. Prior to joining 350NH, ze worked in digital marketing and was an elementary teacher, and many years before that did organizing for NH Citizens Alliance.