NEW HAMPSHIRE’s businesses, municipalities, public health and health care professionals are increasingly aware of and concerned with the public health effects of our changing climate.

An overwhelming body of evidence points to human activities such as using fossil fuels for transportation, heating of buildings, and producing electricity as a primary driver of a changing climate and observed trends that lead to direct and indirect adverse public health outcomes.

The direct public health effects associated with increased emissions are a primary and immediate concern. These include respiratory illnesses, higher incidences of asthma, and other health conditions. It is critical to note that the health effects of these harmful emissions have been, and will continue to be, disproportionately experienced by children, the elderly, those with pre-existing conditions and other marginalized individuals in our communities.

Recent research from Harvard’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health has also shown that the majority of pre-existing conditions that increase the risk of death from COVID-19 are the same diseases that are affected by long-term exposure to air pollution. In addition, it has shown even a small increase in exposure to fine particulate matter has led to an increase in COVID-19 related death.

It should also be noted that studies have shown that non-white populations, especially African Americans, face higher risks from particulate pollution. This racial disparity has been sadly demonstrated in the higher death rates among people of color for COVID-19.

For these reasons and many others, we have decided, along with a number of other stakeholders, to participate in an ad hoc commission that is tasked with developing a report to identify science-based emissions reduction goals for our state.

In conjunction with state agencies, legislators, municipalities, utilities, environmental organizations, businesses, industry groups, public health organizations and other important stakeholders, this commission aims to bring science-based findings to the Legislature in the hopes of providing an opportunity for a critically needed dialogue, planning process, and state-level guidance.

The commission has also been tasked with creating interim goals for emission reductions and the processes and timelines for developing implementation plans. We will also work to identify the state agencies responsible, including a lead agency for developing, implementing and reporting on the emission reduction levels identified, as well as public health outcomes.

The commission began meeting this summer, with the first meeting on Thursday, Aug. 6. All meetings will be conducted remotely.

Other interested stakeholders and the public at large will be able to listen in and participate in these meetings as well as submit comments and review presented materials. More information and a complete list of commission members, meeting dates and public comment submission can be found online at:

With appropriate planning and state-level goal setting, businesses, individuals and municipalities can have the confidence to make the long-term investments, plans and decisions needed to improve our state’s environmental and public health.

When we respectfully work together, there is no challenge too big for New Hampshire. We encourage all to follow along and contribute to this process so that a true Granite State solution can be brought forward that allows us to reduce emissions, improve public health and maintain our New Hampshire advantage.

Joan Ascheim is executive director of New Hampshire Public Health Association and lives in Concord. David Worthen is CEO of Worthen Industries in Nashua. He lives in Wilton.

Thursday, January 14, 2021
Wednesday, January 13, 2021

THIS WEEK was a tough week for me because I had to make a difficult decision after the attack on the Capitol on Wednesday. A lifelong Republican, I went to my town hall the day after the attack and put in a change-of-party form to change my affiliation to undeclared.

Tuesday, January 12, 2021

WHAT RADICALIZED YOU? It’s a question posed by progressive activists online to spur others to action by making you think about why you believe what you believe.

Monday, January 11, 2021

THE JANUARY 2 one-hour phone call by President Donald Trump demanding the Georgia Secretary of State find 11,780 votes so Trump could carry Georgia is an abuse of his office and federal law (52 US Code section 20511 (2)(B). Georgia’s Secretary of State calmly explained to Mr. Trump that they…

Sunday, January 10, 2021

OUR CULTURE OF LATE has placed more value on those who speak for broadly defined groups than the individuals themselves. This idea of “groupthink” and gross generalizations, including ascribing thoughts and motives to people based on their membership in a certain group, is more than a little…

Friday, January 08, 2021
Thursday, January 07, 2021

LET’S FACE IT, we all know that 2020 has been difficult at best. We’ve seen COVID-19 ravage our cities and towns — we’ve even seen it ravage the planet. We’ve seen neighboring countries fight a new mutation, put travel bans in place again, and head back into lockdown for a second, even a thi…

Tuesday, January 05, 2021
  • Updated

A RECENT research paper uncovered more than 17,000 articles, including some scientific studies, whose assumptions about our climate future rely on a deeply flawed climate prediction scenario. This media barrage amounts to a hype machine of climate misinformation.

Monday, January 04, 2021

THE TIME has come when we must look at what is happening in New Hampshire. We have been in a state of emergency for well over 200 days. There are a number of difficult issues that must be confronted, and now we must look at what can be done to make changes that are required to provide for a …

Sunday, January 03, 2021

THIS HOLIDAY season, many of us are looking forward to the next year with great anticipation. Make no mistake — it has been a hard year of loss and challenges for us, our families, friends, neighbors and communities, leaving us to search hopefully for a silver lining in all of this.