Climate Change in the Midterms: Where do Candidates Stand? 


Julie Bobyock, News Editor

As the New Hampshire midterm elections rapidly approach, many issues are at the forefront of voters’ minds. At the top of that list for many students is climate change. 

The 2021 New Hampshire Climate Assessment showed that the mean annual maximum temperature in New Hampshire has increased an average of 2.3 degrees Fahrenheit since 1901, with rates of warming doubling starting in 1970. Continued warming could lead to sea level rise, decreased snowpack, more intense rain events, more frequent droughts and a detrimental impact on the state’s outdoor recreation and ski industry, according to the report.

Cameron Wake, University of New Hampshire (UNH) Earth Systems Research Professor, emphasized the importance of voting when asked how it helps to combat climate change. 

“There are distinct differences between Republican and Democratic candidates for state and federal offices on issues relating to addressing human-driven climate change, and specifically on actions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and adapt to our changing climate,” Wake explained. “I would strongly recommend that you vote for candidates who share your particular views on how best to address the climate crisis. I know I do.”

Erin Hale, UNH Sustainability Lecturer, also emphasized the importance of having your voice heard through voting. 

“Our elected officials care about the issues that voters care about,” Hale said. “If those of us who care about the climate don’t vote, our decision-makers won’t get the message that they need to do anything about climate change. The more of us that vote, and vote for people who care about the climate, the more incentive our policymakers will have to enact policy that addresses climate change – no matter what side of the isle they are on.”

An overwhelming majority of scientists believe that climate change is occurring and is primarily due to human activity. So, how do some of the candidates plan to address climate change? Let’s break it down below. 


Republican Chris Sununu, governor of New Hampshire since 2017, is running for re-election against Democratic candidate Tom Sherman.

When asked what, if any, regulations or laws should the state adopt to combat climate change in a WMUR interview, Sununu answered that he hopes to focus on a transition to wind energy and hydropower. 

“It’s all about balance and knowing what the availability of your state’s opportunities are, and making sure you’re not putting a cost or burden on your citizens,” Sununu stated. 

However, in the past Sununu has vetoed clean energy bills and rejected efforts to reduce greenhouse gas reductions and misrepresented climate science.

Tom Sherman worked as a doctor for 30 years and is currently a state senator. When asked about how the state could combat climate change, Sherman said he first wants to adopt the technology needed to make the transition to renewables to make the ability to choose alternative energy options easier. 

“Embracing the technology for solar, wind, hydropower and offshore wind energy number one, decreases our carbon footprint, and number two, brings down our energy costs,” Sherman said in the same WMUR interview

U.S. Senator

Donald Bolduc, a Donald Trump-endorsed Republican candidate for U.S. Senator and retired U.S. Army general, is running against Democrat Maggie Hassan, who has served as New Hampshire’s U.S. Senator since 2017.

In an NHPR interview, Bolduc expressed his views on climate change initiatives. 

“As a United States senator, I will approach this situation with a balanced approach that, hey, we need technology, we need to move forward, but we can do it in a safe way,” Bolduc said. “And, you know, at this point, I’m very comfortable with America. What I’m not comfortable with is China, Russia, North Korea, Iran, and how they pollute and how they hurt the environment. And that really needs to be addressed by the United States, by the international community.”

Hassan recently helped to pass the Inflation Reduction Act, which is estimated to reduce carbon emissions by 40% from 2005 levels by 2030. In a recent interview with The New Hampshire, Hassan was questioned about plans to mitigate and combat climate change. 

“There is more work we need to do,” Hassan explained. “We must keep a coalition in power that is interested in addressing this critical existential threat.” 

Hassan has also worked to enhance coastal resilience to sea level rise.

“Strengthening coastal resilience is key to combating the harmful effects of climate change in the Granite State,” said Hassan. “That is why I worked to secure funding for coastal resiliency in the bipartisan infrastructure bill. I am glad to announce this federal funding opportunity that can help both our economy and our environment, and I will continue working to help reduce the impact of flooding and other climate change-related events on our local communities.” 

U.S. House

Republican candidate Karoline Leavitt, who worked as a presidential writer and later served as an assistant press secretary in the Press Office during Donald Trump’s presidency, is running against Democratic candidate Chris Pappas, who has been New Hampshire’s representative in Congress since 2019. 

In a WMUR interview, Leavitt was questioned about how much she would prioritize climate change mitigation. 

“I don’t think the federal government should be in the business of solving these environmental challenges,” Leavitt said. “Especially when it comes to solving trillion dollar legislation, like the Green New Deal….which would completely bankrupt our American economy and ensure that taxpayers are being ripped off in the name of climate change. I want these challenges to be solved at the state and local level, where business is best done.” 

However, in another WMUR interview, Leavitt claimed climate change is a fake issue. 

Pappas was also questioned about his climate change initiatives. 

“We are already seeing the impacts of climate change in our way of life and economy in New Hampshire,” he said. “That’s why I supported legislation that invests in clean energy that will reduce our emissions by 40 percent by the end of the decade…This isn’t an either or proposition, either we combat climate change, or we have a strong economy. We can absolutely have both.” 

Pappas also explained that the legislation he helped to pass could create up to 30,000 new clean energy related jobs in New Hampshire alone. Pappas also cosponsored the Clean Economy Act in 2019, which aimed for the U.S. to reach net zero emissions by 2050. 

For students looking for more information on how to vote in the upcoming election on Nov. 8, 603 Forward offers information on their website. Students can also access more information on how to vote by checking out the University of New Hampshire Voting page.