Wednesday March 13th state director Carissa Maurin gave the following testimony on behalf of Enviornment Maine in support of Represenative Ralph Tucker’s bill LD 797 ‘An Act To Limit Greenhouse Gas Pollution and Effectively Use Maine’s Natural Resources’ which would require that by January 1, 2050 the State must reduce net annual greenhouse gas emissions to at least 80% below the 1990 net annual greenhouse gas emissions level. It directs the Department of Environmental Protection to establish interim net annual emissions levels and to monitor and report on gross and net annual greenhouse gas emissions. It also directs the department to update the State’s climate action plan and evaluate the State’s progress toward meeting the reduction levels. Her testimony is as following:
“Good morning distinguished members of the Environment and Natural Resources Committee. Thank you for allowing me to present this testimony. My name is Carissa Maurin and I am the State Director at Environment Maine. I am speaking today in support of LD 797, ‘An Act To Limit Greenhouse Gas Pollution and Effectively Use Maine’s Natural Resources’.
The Gulf of Maine is warming faster than 99% of the world’s oceans and becoming inhospitable to species that we have long relied upon and causing them to move north. The Gulf Of Maine Research Institute just received a $790,000 grant from the National Science Foundation to study the impacts of warming oceans on cod and lobster and document marine habitat shifts caused by rising temperatures. This shows how serious this issue is here in the Gulf of Maine because without our fishing industry our economy will collapse.
Global warming is also accelerating sea-level rise, with disastrous implications for coastal communities. Carbon emissions are linked to warming temperatures and the melting of glaciers, which caused sea levels to rise approximately 5 to 8 inches in the last century. Tidal flooding and storm surges will only get worse if we do not curb our carbon emissions, both here in Maine and globally. Our state is seeing some of the worst impacts of sea-level rise, so we need to be leaders in the fight against global warming. Inaction will not only lead to increased financial burdens, but also cause millions of people to lose their homes and change Maine’s iconic coastal communities forever.
Additionally, with the warming of temperatures comes longer and warmer summers causing tick population to multiply exponentially. Lyme disease cases in Maine have increased 10-fold in the last few years. The tick population has exploded so much that moose calves have been found sucked to death covered in 14,000 ticks. We can not afford to lose our beloved moose which is a stapling in our hunting communities and a Maine tourist attraction.
For all of these reasons and more is why we need to strengthen our commitment to reduce carbon pollution 80 percent by 2050. If we start to invest in renewables, energy efficiency, battery storage, and electric vehicles we can reduce our dependence on fossil fuels while creating new jobs in Maine. This bill will help us develop a comprehensive plan for making sure we achieve carbon reductions in a way that benefits Maine people and grows our economy.
I would like to end this testimony with a quote from our late President Theodore Roosevelt, “We have become great in a material sense because of the lavish use of our resources, and we have just reason to be proud of our growth. But the time has come to inquire seriously what will happen when our forests are gone, when the coal, the iron, the oil, and the gas are exhausted, when the soils shall have been still further impoverished and washed into streams, polluting rivers. One distinguishing characteristic of really civilized men is foresight. We have to, as a nation, exercise foresight for this nation in the future; and if we do not exercise that foresight, dark will be the future.” I urge you all to exercise foresight on this issue by passing LD 797. Thank you for your consideration.”