A task force charged by Gov. John H. Lynch with crafting a climate change action plan says its goal is to find ways to reduce greenhouse gas emissions that are good for the state’s economy.
That conclusion already is drawing fire from critics.
The task force, which includes lawmakers, scientists, business leaders and economists, is analyzing the economic impact that proposals to reduce greenhouse gas emissions would have in various sectors of the state, such as transportation, land use, government, commerce and industry and agriculture.
The deadline to present their findings to the governor and top lawmakers has been extended from this month to December.
“What we see as our goal is how we can improve the economic development in the state while, at the same time, reducing greenhouse gas emissions. That’s what our challenge is. There are many examples out there that we can do, if we do it in the right way,” said Cameron P. Wake, a climatologist and research professor at the University of New Hampshire’s Institute for the Study of Earth, Oceans and Space.
The New Hampshire Climate Change Policy Task Force will hold public listening sessions at locations statewide on Sept. 18, 25 and 29. The meeting tomorrow is at 6 p.m. at the PSNH Auditorium, 780 Commercial St. in Manchester. Its monthly meetings also are public. The group will hold at least one public hearing on its draft action plan before making a final recommendations.
A key consideration is finding ways to reduce the state’s reliance on imported foreign oil by developing alternative and renewable energy sources at the local and regional levels, task force members said.
This not only would reduce greenhouse gas emissions, but allow money reinvested in such ventures to remain in the local economy, they said.
It also would relieve businesses and citizens of the stress and uncertainty created by extreme price shifts in oil and gasoline prices, members added.
Currently, imported fossil fuels cost the state more than $1 billion a year, all of which goes out of state since New Hampshire has neither oil reserves nor refineries, said Robert R. Scott, director of the air resources division at the state Department of Environmental Services. The state agency is taking the lead in developing a climate change action plan that will recommend goals to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and steps to meet them.
“If we can spend that money on energy created in New England, we recycle that money in our economy,” Wake said.