The news is dire. Most of the 195 nations that signed the Paris agreement (COP21) to reduce carbon footprints by 25 percent by 2025 are now far behind in their commitments. Further, more accurate global assessments indicate greater rates of environmental disintegration than was then anticipated. Worse still, President Trump has defunded NASA for its worldwide surveillance of environmental change.

A crisis is looming — it should be a central subject of this election.

Shouldn’t even those who have obdurately ignored the long-standing and well-articulated concerns of the scientific community be alarmed by hurricanes Maria, Florence and Michael and the raging fires in the desiccated west? Shouldn’t we be warning that we may all become environmental refugees if we continue to ignore these facts of life in increasingly chaotic unpredictability of weather seriously affecting all of us, even the agriculture that feeds us.

This election, in New Hampshire and everywhere, is about how to save ourselves from squandering our natural resources. The problems are clear. But so are many ingenious solutions, ready for adoption in building practices, energy conservation, capturing “free” energy and carbon itself, etc.

But as New Hampshire also knows well, serious conflicts of interest confront these 21st-century conundrums. For instance, Eversource, the private company that delivers electricity throughout New Hampshire, together with national electricity suppliers in their membership of the American Legislative Exchange Council, lobbies legislators and the governor — with campaign enticements — to stand against “net-metering” of alternatively sourced “carbon free” energy in New Hampshire allowing it to enter the electric grid. This is a major obstacle to the public interest of municipal and private expansion of energy production. Should Eversource just make us its captive customers?

Will we do our part now in this election to electing a governor and legislators who will rise to the present challenges of keeping New Hampshire livable?

Are candidates ready to respond to environmental change?

How is New Hampshire planning to reduce its CO2 by 25 percent by 2025, as it declares?

How should New Hampshire resolve conflicts of companies’ interests and public necessities?

How should New Hampshire facilitate public, individual and business interests to conserve and to create “free” energy?

And what about the costs of doing too little too late to rein in our self-inflicting impacts?

Our job begins with voting — for democracy that is ready for a future that begins now.


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