Climate & Energy Efficiency
What’s At Stake
Fossil fuel power that comes from burning coal, natural gas, and oil adds carbon pollution to the atmosphere creating a serious threat to the health, character, and resource value of the land that we work to preserve and protect. Everyone can help reduce the human contribution to climate change as individuals and as community leaders.
What We’re Doing
Reducing AMC’s Carbon Footprint
The AMC has a long-standing commitment to using its huts, lodges and sporting camps as models for sustainable operations and environmental stewardship. These policies are designed to both reduce our environmental impact and provide an opportunity for guests to learn how to practice conservation at home. In some cases we are upgrading our destinations to make them more energy-efficient. In the case of the Highland Center, we built a lodge and education center from the ground up to utilize the latest in green design and technology.
AMC’s Climate Research
Continuing AMC’s original mission statement of 1876 “to explore the mountains of New England and adjacent regions, both for scientific and artistic purposes”, today AMC’s research focuses on causes of and changes to the Northeast’s sub-alpine forest and alpine plant communities. AMC is examining the resistance and resiliency of these ecosystems to climate change and air pollution. Research is done collaboratively with partner universities and organizations from Baxter State Park in ME to NY’s Adirondacks. AMC’s Joe Dodge had the insight to initiate daily weather measurements in the 1930’s on Mount Washington’s summit, the origin of the Mount Washington Observatory, and at AMC’s Pinkham Notch, NH facility. Today these are some of the best long-term climate data sets for mountains in the world, and important tool AMC now uses to study climatic trends and their impact on northeastern mountain ecosystems.
Spreading the Word
The problem: Rising temperatures, increases in storm intensities, coastal flooding due to sea level rise. This is happening now across the Northeast and will worsen unless greenhouse gas emissions are dramatically reduced.
While regulating greenhouse gases remains paramount (e.g. carbon and methane emission control) to slowing human cause climate change, here are other important approaches that must be advanced in parallel to federal action on climate change.
Promote energy efficiency: The cleanest energy is the energy not used. And energy conservation works. For example, the New England power grid operator projects flat energy demand into the future, and reduced demand in RI and VT thanks to energy efficiency programs.1
Promote close to home and residential energy generation, such as solar. Advances in technology to generate, store, and move energy closest to where it used is a trend that has the potential to reduce the demand for large scale energy production built in remote areas and then transmitted across long distances. Undeveloped land, even it is protected open space, often is threatened as the path of least resistance for large energy projects. Residential solar is becoming more doable with declining costs and incentives. Learn more here.
Support environmentally balanced cleaner energy: We need a paradigm shift away from fossil fuels to cleaner energy sources. Yet no energy source is environmentally benign. Even the development of cleaner energy infrastructure should avoid degrading lands that are important for ecological protection and quiet outdoor recreation. AMC is working to advance energy project siting policy regionally. Learn more here.
Adapt. Our climate has already been altered and we need to find solutions to warmer temperatures, more intense storms, and coastal flooding. A recent International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report highlights the need for, and empowerment of, adaptation.