The state is already feeling the effects of global warming, and they are just going to get worse if the U.S. isn’t part of the effort to address it.
Man’s use of fossil fuels is warming the planet, and the warming is happening faster in the Gulf of Maine than in almost any other spot.
We have already seen the results with the disappearance of the shrimp fishery and the failure of cod stocks to rebound, despite years of strict conservation measures.
Lobstermen are praying that the shell diseases that have wiped out their competition in the warmer waters of Long Island Sound don’t make their way up the coast. Far from shore, milder winters have caused tick populations to explode, devastating the moose population.
And cities and towns are grappling with the planning implications of sea level rise that could reach 4 feet by the end of the century.
So when President Trump says that he’s putting America first by withdrawing from the Paris climate accord, we’re not buying it.
He’s certainly not putting Maine first, because the people here are already dealing with the impacts of climate change and are going to be among the first to suffer the consequences when his failure to grasp the nature of this issue has calamitous results.
There are no coal mines in Maine, but even if there were, Maine people have a lot more to gain from a thriving renewable energy industry, where private businesses develop efficient and clean technologies, than they would from the survival of the Rust Belt coal plants that Trump wants to prop up.
A healthy Maine depends on a healthy natural environment to support core industries such as fishing, forestry and tourism. Maine cannot be better off in a world where the United States eschews its leadership role in protecting the environment, giving developing nations license to do the same.
And that’s why it is foolish for Trump to try to go it alone on climate change. It’s not just tailpipe emissions on the Maine Turnpike that are heating up the Gulf of Maine – it’s power plants in China and factories in India. Blunting the trend requires a global effort, and without America, it will not succeed. We have too much at stake to stay out of it.
There is no way to put “Pittsburgh before Paris” when it comes to global warming, as the president promised Thursday. There is only one planet, and its health demands that we put all reasonable effort into reducing greenhouse gas emissions and slowing global warming.
Climate change is not in Maine’s future – it’s happening right now. We don’t have time to wait.