Study says climate threatens Northeast icons like lobsters and foliage

Imagine the Northeast without lobsters, snow, cranberries, and colorful foliage. Without that, you’d have — what, white churches and crusty old lumberjacks? But all those natural icons are at risk from climate change, says a report the Union of Concerned Scientists put together with scientists and economists. “The character of this region is at stake,” says UCS President Kevin Knobloch. “The emissions choices that we make today will lead to starkly different futures in our lifetime and certainly the lifetime of our children.” In an area where average annual temperatures have climbed 1.5 degrees since 1970 — and winter temps more than 4 degrees — climate risks are real. Scientists say if temperatures keep rising, droughts could imperil agriculture, while warming ocean waters would prove inhospitable to crustaceans. Hardwood forests could die out, along with the spruce and fir that are key to the region’s pulp and paper industry. One New Hampshire ski operator put it simply: “We’re the affected.”