Climate Change

Lara Dickson / For VPR

The return of bald eagles. Plus, the Vermont state climatologist on what the climate crisis means for the state.

People living on and off the coast of New England will soon be at a greater risk from flooding due to heavier rain and rising seas caused by climate change.

Global warming will put more pressure on the federal flood insurance program, which is already overstretched, prompting an overhaul to be completed later this year.

Regulators hope the change will make the system more fair, sustainable and climate-conscious. But some homeowners worry it’ll drive up their rates.

Lake water.
Taylor Dobbs / VPR file

Given the massive existential threat climate change poses, it can sometimes be hard to wrap our brains around how it might affect our daily lives in Vermont. So we asked you to pose your questions to Dr. Lesley-Ann Dupigny-Giroux, a professor at the University of Vermont and Vermont’s state climatologist.

For Earth Day 2021, NHPR reporter Annie Ropeik hosts a roundtable of reporters from around New England. They will be highlighting innovations and signs of progress in tackling climate change that they've noticed in their state, as well as the issues that are top of mind.  What have you seen in your community that gives you hope? Send a photo along with your  comments and questions at This program is a part of NHPR's climate reporting initiative, By Degrees.

Airdate: Thursday, April 22, 2021

President Joe Biden’s energy goals will make significant changes to where New England gets its power. How states choose to embrace these goals as part of their climate change plans could shake up the region's energy market over the next decade. This week, all eyes are on Biden, who will convene world leaders for an Earth Day summit.

President Joe Biden’s $2 trillion infrastructure proposal seeks to help reach the administration's ambitious clean energy goals for the U.S. over the next decade.

Part of that means funding upgrades to the country's electric transmission system — the poles and wires that everyone relies on to access power nearby or from hundreds of miles away. As New England experts explain, these upgrades are essential to reach clean energy goals in the region.

By the time today's teenagers turn 50, New England's climate will feel very different. 

Under current warming trends, states like New Hampshire will have shorter winters with less snow. Some coastal areas will be underwater. And it will all be worse without swift action to stop fossil fuel emissions. 

This possible future is calling more and more of New Hampshire's young people to act -- and they're getting results. 

A small figure in snowy mountains with pastel blue and purple sky in the background
Hillary Gerardi, Courtesy

It's a 66-mile journey that traverses 26,600 feet in elevation. It requires skis, skins, crampons and more. But for St. Johnsbury native Hillary Gerardi, a world-class "skyrunner" and mountaineer, the grueling trail through the Swiss Alps known as the Haute Route was more than an adventure: it was making history as part of the first team of women to complete the route.

Lara Dickson / For VPR

Youth climate activists face the planet’s uncertain future. Plus, a worsening drought, an improving economy, and COVID-19 numbers.

Waves crash on a beach with houses along the ocean, under a gray wintery sky.
Michael Dwyer / Associated Press File

As the planet warms, many areas around the world may become uninhabitable. On the east coast of the United States, especially in population centers like Boston and New York, rising sea levels and increased coastal flooding are likely to force people to move inland to places that are higher, drier and relatively affordable – places like Vermont.

Updated April 22, 2021 at 6:14 AM ET

On Thursday, the White House kicked off a two-day summit on climate change where leaders from 40 countries are discussing plans to cut greenhouse gas emissions and ultimately reverse global warming.

The summit highlights the United States' return to the Paris climate agreement, and it is the Biden administration's first major opportunity to reestablish the country as a trustworthy player in international climate diplomacy.

Lara Dickson / For VPR

What climate migration means for Vermont. Plus, vaccinations open to all, rethinking the return to in-person school, and sleep habits during the pandemic.

President Biden is selling the climate-friendly aspects of his $2 trillion infrastructure plan as a chance to create good-paying union jobs. But at a local branch of one of the country's oldest unions, there are doubts that dealing with climate change will be good for workers here, in the oil-and-gas state of Pennsylvania.

In the next several days, the Biden administration is expected to announce plans across the economy to reduce America's greenhouse gas emissions dramatically by 2030.

It's become so common, perhaps you've stopped noticing how often your local weather forecast is "above normal." It's noted during extreme heat in the summer, when mild temperatures persist through the winter, or when nights don't cool down like they used to.

But on May 4, the hotter Earth will officially become the new normal.

Canopies of pink and white flowers are blanketing Washington, D.C., after the city's cherry trees hit full bloom last week.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration upgraded the computer model that forecasters use to predict the weather one to two weeks in the future, called the Global Forecast System. The new model is better at predicting where hurricanes will form and how intense they will be as well as where and when snowstorms and rainstorms will occur, and how much precipitation will fall.

"This is going to have a fundamental impact on the forecasts that are provided day to day," says Louis Uccellini, director of the National Weather Service.

Lara Dickson / For VPR

What an ice core has to teach us about climate change. Plus, tapping trees (not just maple), vaccination disparities, and COVID-19 numbers.

The Greenland ice sheet.
Joshua Brown / University of Vermont

It’s not often that things that happened a million years ago are news today, but a new study published this week about Greenland’s ice sheet seems to be the exception to that rule.

Scientists at the University of New Hampshire are studying ways to tap trees and make syrup with species other than maples, in hopes of developing new niche markets for small producers as climate change reshapes the state’s current sugaring industry.

The researchers have been tapping and monitoring trees like beeches, birches, walnuts and sycamores this winter.