Statement of Dylan Voorhees, NRCM Clean Energy Director
“This major report provides additional clear scientific evidence to match what Mainers are increasingly aware of from their daily lives: climate change is not a far off threat, but something that is already beginning to affect our communities. It shows definitively that we must take action now to curb the carbon pollution that will further disrupt our climate and acidify our oceans.
“Although the U.S. has already warmed by at least 1.5 degrees (F) due to climate change, it could warm several degrees more, with radically greater impacts on public health, agriculture and forestry, sea-level rise, and storm flooding damage. These impacts will be wide-ranging, and Maine, with our long coast and natural resource-based economy, is clearly vulnerable. We have an obligation to future generations to do what we can to address this clear threat by reducing pollution levels immediately with common sense strategies.
“Maine and the Northeast have led in limiting climate-inducing carbon pollution from power plants, the largest source of carbon regionally and nationally, through the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI). RGGI has provided large net benefits to Maine’s economy, including through investment of more than $40 million in energy efficiency projects everywhere from homes to manufacturing plants. Now the EPA is working to develop national limits for power plants. It is unacceptable to Maine and our climate that today fossil fuel polluters across the rest of the country emit carbon pollution freely and without any limit whatsoever.
“In Maine more than 300 businesses and thousands of individuals have spoken out in support of action on climate, specifically adoption of power plant limits by the EPA. Today’s scientific report shows that the time for delays is long since over.”
Background: The National Climate Assessment (NCA) is a congressionally directed report to inform the President, the Congress, and the American people about the current state of scientific knowledge regarding climate change effects on U.S. regions and key sectors, now and in the coming decades. It is the most comprehensive report of the impacts of climate change on the United States.
This is the third National Climate Assessment (the first was in 2000, the second in 2009). The 1,300-page report is the work of more than 300 scientists and experts and is reviewed by the National Academy of Sciences. The “National Climate Assessment and Development Advisory Committee” was established in 2010 to administer the NCA. One of the committee members is David Hale, President of the College of the Atlantic in Bar Harbor, ME. It is chaired by Professor Jerry Melillo, Director Emeritus at the Ecosystems Center of the Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole, MA.
The full NCA and highlights with interactive media are available at http://nca2014.globalchange.gov .