There is almost universal agreement in the scientific community that climate change will be a critical environmental issue in the 21st century. Climate change is already affecting New England's weather-dependent industries, winter recreation, fall foliage, natural landscapes, and even changing the seasons themselves. If trends continue, New England's climate could become comparable to that of North Carolina over the next 100 years.
Over the past 100 years, greenhouse gas emissions from burning fossil fuels and clearing forests have caused our planet to heat up. If we do nothing to reduce this pollution, the average global temperature could be 11.5°F warmer in 2100 than it was in 1900.
Our window of opportunity for reducing the impact of climate change is limited—perhaps only 10 or 20 years. We need to act now if we have any hope of preserving the New England we know and love before it's changed forever.
Use this website to learn more about how New England will be affected by climate change and about what you can do to help make a difference.
Four distinct seasons, each with its special pleasures, have made New England what it is today. Our regional character and economy have been shaped over centuries by the climate we have come to take for granted: snowy winters, lush springs, sultry summers, blazing falls.
Today, from the mountains and forests of northern Maine to the southern shores of Rhode Island, patterns of change tied to global warming can be seen and measured. Habitats of some of New England's most iconic plants and animals are already in decline. Through partnerships with professional scientists, regular citizens can help monitor these changes.
Whether you live, work, or vacation in New England, you may already be feeling the impacts of climate change. If warming continues on its current path, the New England of the future could be very different from the New England of today. What about New England would you miss the most? What changes would you welcome the least?
Watch these videos to hear what other New Englanders have to say.