Science Group Runs Ad in Early Primary State Underscoring Climate Threat

Depicts Presidential Candidates in Rising Water from Climate-Induced Sea Level Rise

Published Jan 18, 2016

MANCHESTER, N.H. (January 18, 2016)—An ad unveiled in the Manchester, N.H., airport today depicts the four Republican and Democratic candidates currently leading in state polls standing behind podiums on a local beach, with tides rapidly rising to their waists. The words above Bernie Sanders, Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton and Marco Rubio read: “How will you deal with sea level rise in New Hampshire?” The animated ad will run for a month on all five of the airport’s video screens, including near security areas, bathrooms and the food court. 

The Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS), the group that placed the ad, hopes it catches the attention of all the presidential candidates and their reporter entourages as they pass through the airport leading up to the GOP presidential debate on February 6 and primary on February 9.

“The ad is intended to be provocative to spur conversation,” said Ken Kimmell, president of UCS. “Sea level rise is a real problem, not only in New Hampshire, but up and down the coast. People are wading through floodwaters during high tides on sunny days, and it’s only going to get worse as seas rise even more. Candidates need to talk about how they’re going to address this problem.” (See UCS study on increases in high tide flooding.)

A still version of the ad can be found on the UCS website.

UCS will hold a press conference at the airport today at noon. The speakers will include Erika Spanger-Siegfried, a senior analyst at UCS; Cameron Wake, a University of New Hampshire climate and sustainability professor; New Hampshire State Senator Nancy Stiles (R-District 24); and New Hampshire State Senator David Watters (D-District 4).

“Manchester Boston Regional Airport is the gateway for national and international media and every surviving campaign in the wake of the Iowa caucuses,” said Stiles. “I hope the ad drives home just how serious we are about getting the candidates to address this problem. And if reporters passing through the airport aren’t already asking the candidates about their plans, hopefully they’ll start doing so.”

Stiles co-hosted a summit organized by UCS and the World Resources Institute in Hampton, N.H., in October that focused on coastal flooding. The 40 locally elected officials from 18 coastal states in attendance, who are working to address the issue, agreed that it’s one of national importance. (See videos of elected officials.)

“This is a real problem that cities all along the Eastern Seaboard are struggling with,” said Watters. “This issue deserves a place of prominence on the national agenda. Oceanfront counties are home to more than 104 million Americans and account for 38 percent of U.S. GDP. This issue is not going away no matter who’s elected.”