Fighting Climate Change
Climate change is real, caused by human activity, and an urgent threat to our way of life. For too long, scientific warnings were ignored and now we’re at a crisis point. To avoid a major, irreversible catastrophe, we must take bold action to become carbon neutral by 2050.
Together, these bills take immediate and comprehensive action to combat and mitigate the climate crisis.
Maine has been acutely affected by the climate crisis. The Gulf of Maine is warming faster than 99% of other bodies of water on the planet. Rates of asthma and Lyme disease have grown exponentially. Acidifying waters are making it harder for shellfish to grow their shells. Coastal flooding and sea level rise have increase dramatically.
It's hard to imagine a place like Maine without its iconic oceans and coastline—a crucial part of our state's history and landscape, as well as an irreplaceable resource for 30,000 thousand Mainers who make their living from marine-related industries. But currently, the Gulf of Maine is warming faster than 99% of Earth's other waters, threatening our way of life.
Across the country, coastal communities are suffering from ocean acidification, rapidly warming oceans, and rising sea levels. States like Maine that rely on pristine oceans are experiencing toxic algal blooms, increasing amounts of plastics pollution, distressed marine habitats, and disruption in the fishing and tourism industries that are the backbone of coastal economies.
We must protect our coastal ecosystems while also preventing attacks on our oceans, such as oil and gas exploration.
If the United States doesn’t take immediate, economy-wide action at all levels of government, our health and natural resources that support our economic growth could face irreparable harm. We must prevent average global temperatures from increasing beyond 1.5 degrees Celsius through economic incentives, and we must take advantage of the opportunity before us to create good, clean jobs that transition our energy system and create a more equitable future for all Americans.
The agriculture sector contributes approximately 10% of total US greenhouse gas emissions, therefore farmers have the opportunity to reverse the effects of climate change by improving soil health and capturing carbon in their soil.
As an organic farmer for more than 40 years, I can tell you that farmers are our allies in the fight against climate change. Many farmers are already implementing climate-smart practices in their operations. If we give farmers and food producers the right incentives—and bring them to the table when we’re discussing climate policy—we can preserve our food system, cut down on emissions, and sequester carbon in our farmers’ soil.
For far too long, scientific warnings of climate change have been ignored. It is increasingly clear that to avoid major catastrophe, the United States must immediately reduce emissions and become carbon neutral by 2050. Thankfully, now more than ever, policymakers and the public agree we must act swiftly. This will take a myriad of approaches to reduce emissions from sectors all across our economy.
The climate crisis is already having devastating effects on the public health of our communities, with communities historically subject to injustice feeling the brunt of them. We need to be prepared to support communities that are most likely to be impacted and therefore more vulnerable to asthma, food-borne illnesses, and heat-related impacts all worsened by climate change, weather unpredictability, and highly polluted air.
Our reliance on fossil fuels has proven to be one of the biggest contributors to climate change. We must swiftly move towards energy sources that are net-zero carbon emitters, like wind, solar, and thermal energy. A combination of strong federal policy and robust investments will spur growth in the renewable energy economy, which will create millions of jobs across America, lower the cost of renewable solutions, and move us closer to achieving 100% net-zero emissions before it is too late.
Our government must do everything it can to gather all the relevant information on climate change, support additional research, and use it to guide us into the next steps of climate change solutions.
We also must support grant programs and education so the next generation will have the tools to fight climate change. Currently, only 30% of middle school teachers and only 45% of high school science teachers understand the extent of the scientific consensus on climate change, even though over 97% of actively publishing climate scientists agree that human activity is the primary cause of climate change.
Our waters, plants, animals, and lands are already feeling the effects of climate change. Once our natural resources are altered, these changes are usually irreversible.
While our natural resources are at risk in a changing climate, they can also play an important role in protecting us from some of the worst impacts of the climate crisis. We must enact legislation that protects our natural resources from senseless harm.
Our country once led the world on climate change solutions, but under the Trump administration, we’re lagging far behind. We must immediately re-enter the Paris Climate Agreement and reemerge as the global leader on climate change—which is one of our greatest national security threats.