I am a retired high school science teacher who is deeply concerned with the urgency of the climate crisis. The state of Maine can take a step in the right direction to responsibly address the crisis by enacting L.D. 1461, a bill requiring the state to divest itself of fossil fuel stocks.

Our state is to be commended for being a leader in setting standards to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and to promote sustainability. Now, Maine needs to take the next step and divest from the fossil fuel industry.

The industry needs to put its vast financial resources into developing alternative energy sources and to keep 80 percent of its fossil fuel reserves underground in order to keep the world in livable shape. Divestment sends a strong message to the industry that a new business plan is needed.

“In the case of fossil fuel investments,” writes Daniel M. Kammen, the Class of 1935 Distinguished Professor of Energy at the University of California, Berkeley, “divesting is not only the moral thing to do but is also financially prudent.

“As fossil fuel companies continue expanding their search for more hydrocarbons, the world’s carbon budget is shrinking. From Canadian tar sands to shale oil, the ‘bottom of the barrel’ is proving to be increasingly dirty. When government regulation aligns with this reality – and it must – the vast majority of reserves will have to stay in the ground unburned, rendering them stranded assets. Remaining invested in fossil fuels is a bad bet all around.”

Now is the opportune time for Maine to divest. L.D. 1461 will have a public hearing before the Joint Committee on Appropriations and Financial Affairs at 2 p.m. Jan. 9 in Room 228 of the State House.

Support divestment. Join other Mainers and testify in support.

Billy Rixon

Freeport