August 12, 2013

Climate change bus tour comes to Maine

The 'I Will Act on Climate' bus tour stops in Portland's Monument Square to call for local and federal action to address the widespread impact of climate change.

By North Cairn
Staff Writer

PORTLAND — A coalition of community leaders met Monday afternoon in Portland as part of a 27-state bus tour to demonstrate local support for climate change standards and to call on residents to act on climate issues.

click image to enlarge

Lobsterman Jim Merryman, owner of Potts Harbor Lobster Co., speaks at the "I Will Act On Climate" bus tour Monday in Portland's Monument Square. Other speakers included Portland Mayor Michael Brennan, U.S. Rep. Chellie Pingree, D-1st District, and U.S. Rep. Michael Michaud, D-2nd District, standing in background.

John Patriquin / Staff Photographer

The trip, known as the “I Will Act on Climate” bus tour, is stopping in communities across the country – such as Portland and Bangor – that organizers believe have been directly affected by climate change.

Tour leaders, along with state and local public officials and representatives of business and the energy industry, called for citizen participation in fighting climate change as well as in endorsing local and federal action to address its widespread impact.

Mainers are seeing the impact of climate change in the transformation of weather patterns and severity, declining fisheries, new diseases, varying lengths and dates of growing seasons in agriculture, and the gradual migration northward of everything from lobsters to tree species that flourish in cooler conditions.

Specific impacts of climate change that can be felt on the level of communities, families and individuals include the increasing incidence of Lyme disease from growing populations of deer ticks, emerging disorders in lobsters, and changing weather patterns that have brought significant changes in precipitation levels, said Dylan Voorhees, clean energy director of Natural Resources Council of Maine.

The bus arrived at Monument Square for a news conference featuring Portland Mayor Michael Brennan; U.S. Reps. Chellie Pingree and Mike Michaud; Phil Coupe, co-founder of ReVision Energy; Jim Merryman, lobster fisherman and owner of Potts Harbor Lobster Co.; Dr. Paul Perkins of Maine Physicians for Social Responsibility; and Vanessa Pike of Greater Portland Convention and Visitors Bureau.

The tour comes in the wake of President Barack Obama’s announcement of the nation’s first-ever limits on carbon pollution, infrastructure improvements to deal with the effects of climate change and new investments in clean energy and energy efficiency.

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