Shaheen, Hassan & Pappas Announce Nearly $244K to Support Climate Change Research Led by UNH

March 02, 2021

(Washington, DC) – Today, U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Chair of the Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies Appropriations subcommittee which funds the National Science Foundation (NSF), announced with U.S. Senator Maggie Hassan (D-NH) and Congressman Chris Pappas (NH-01) that the NSF will award $243,760 to the University of New Hampshire (UNH) in support of climate change research. Specifically, the funding would support efforts by UNH to understand the impact of three significant global changes – climate warming, the release of nitrogen into the atmosphere, and invasion by non-native plants – on soil located in the American Northeast. These three factors have significant implications in New Hampshire and throughout the Northeast for economic activities and the survival of ecosystems that serve as natural habitats for native plant and animal species and could further accelerate the ongoing impact of climate change.

“There is no question that climate change poses a very real threat to New Hampshire and the Northeast’s environment, economic vitality and way of life,” said Senator Shaheen. “Each Granite Stater is affected by climate change, and the impact to our state will increase over time unless we take action now. Funding like this NSF grant awarded to the University of New Hampshire that helps us understand the serious, consequential impact of climate change on one of our most essential natural resources – our soil – will be a crucial part of efforts to prevent, combat and mitigate its consequences. Securing federal investments to protect New Hampshire from the effects of climate change and combating this crisis have long been top priorities of mine, and I’ll continue to fight for more funding through my work on the Senate Appropriations Committee.”

“From rising sea levels to extreme weather, communities across New Hampshire are already seeing the effects of climate change, which makes understanding the long-term impacts of this threat even more urgent,” Senator Hassan said. “I am glad to announce this federal funding to researchers at the University of New Hampshire who are doing important work in climate change prevention and mitigation by examining how this existential threat will impact our regional ecosystem. I will continue working with the delegation to secure additional resources to help our state combat the devastating effects of climate change and protect our way of life.”

“Climate change continues to represent an existential threat to New Hampshire’s environment, public health, and our economic well-being,” said Congressman Chris Pappas. “I’m pleased that University of New Hampshire will be receiving these funds from the National Science Foundation to continue to study the impacts of climate change on our state and region. I remain committed to working with our delegation to help secure federal funding to address climate change while working on the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee to promote climate resiliency and clean energy infrastructure.”

“Soils play a vital role in climate change because they contain the largest amount of carbon in land-based ecosystems in the form of organic matter which contains critical nutrients,” said Serita Frey, professor of natural resources and the environment at UNH.  “The warming of soils can accelerate the decay of organic matter and release that stored carbon into the atmosphere. Our goal is to better understand how warming in conjunction with other global changes influences the decomposition process, and ultimately, the amount of carbon stored in soils.”

Senator Shaheen is a leader in the Senate for safeguarding our natural environment. She helped introduce the International Climate Accountability Act – legislation to prevent former President Trump from using funds to withdraw from the Paris Climate Agreement and direct the administration to develop a strategic plan for the U.S. to meet its commitment under the Agreement. Shaheen also introduced widely praised bipartisan legislation with Senator Rob Portman (R-OH) to save American homes and businesses billions of dollars in energy costs and dramatically reduce the United States’ carbon footprint. As a senior member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, Shaheen is a vocal advocate of the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) and, together with Senator Hassan, cosponsored the bill signed into law last year to permanently fund the LWCF and help address the more than $43 million maintenance backlog in New Hampshire.