Environment Maine Report Examines Climatic Changes Through a Generational Perspective

Media Contacts
Laura Dorle

Environment Maine Research and Policy Center

PORTLAND – Environment Maine released a new report today that examines climactic impacts over five generations.

On the heels of ocean scientists determining that Casco Bay waters rose five inches during 2009 -2010, an “unprecedented” spike in a two year period, the report was released Tuesday morning on the Maine State Pier, which is under threat of flooding due to sea-level rise and increased frequency of severe storms.

The report, Dangerous Inheritance: The Hotter, More Extreme Climate that We’re Passing Down to America’s Young, examines changes in temperature, storm intensity and sea level rise through the eyes of five different generations. New Englanders of today are experiencing 28 percent more rain and snowfall than Baby Boomers experienced in the 1970s. The Millennial Generation entered adulthood during the hottest ten-year period in the last 100 years. Larger storms have increased 20 to 30 percent in Maine, packing a punch to families and businesses in Maine’s coastal communities.

“We can no longer delay – Maine’s way of life and future generations are in danger, “ said Laura Dorle, Campaign Organizer with Environment Maine. “Together we can take action on climate change to build a stronger, healthier, and more secure future for Mainers to come.” 

This unique perspective of generational experience was highlighted by Allen Armstrong, faith leader and grandfather, representing the Baby Boomer generation, Lewiston City Councilor Kristen Cloutier speaking for Generation X and as a mother, and Iris SanGiovanni from Maine Students for Climate Justice standing for the Millennial generation.

“Four years ago, I became a grandfather and last year I gained another grandson. Suddenly, the future became a lot more real to me. What sort of world would these little guys be living in when they’re my age?” posed faith leader, Allen Armstrong. “Our scientists have identified the climate change impacts that will occur during the lifetimes of my grandchildren if we continue with business as usual. We cannot stand by and fail our grandchildren – we must act on climate change now, starting with the Clean Power Plan.”   

“I don’t want to imagine a future where my daughter, Ridley’s, health is at risk and the places she holds dear are no longer what they used to be,” said City Councilor Kristen Cloutier, “As a mother, I want to ensure the best possible future for Ridley. This is why I believe we need to act on climate change now.” 

“My generation has entered a world where it has been the hottest decade in the last 100 years, Portland’s waters are already rapidly rising, and things will only get worse unless we take action now,” said Iris SanGiovanni, “Maine Students for Climate Justice urge Senator Collins and King to be leaders on the Clean Power Plan.”

Scientists agree that the United States needs to cut pollution by at least 80 percent by 2050 to protect future generations from the worst impacts of global warming. Environment Maine urged Senators Collins and King to lead on the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Clean Power Plan (CPP) and not delay on finalizing the plan and setting it out for implementation.

The EPA is in the process of finalizing standards to limit carbon pollution form dirty power plants. As proposed, the EPA’s Clean Power Plan (CPP) will result in the reduction of carbon dioxide emissions from the power sector by approximately 30 percent from 2005 levels by 2030 nationwide. Each state has broad flexibility to create plans to best achieve the emission reduction targets. Maine’s reduction target is 14 percent.

“In Maine, we have abundant opportunities to transition our state to clean, renewable sources of energy like solar and wind. However—even if the state were to do everything in its power, and individuals took action as well, those changes would be insufficient without federal-level action,” said Dorle. “It’s time for our state to lead—so generations that follow will grow up in a safe climate.”





Environment Maine is a citizen-funded environmental organizing advocacy group with more than 20,000 members and supporters statewide.