On Monday, an eerily warm, wet gale devastated the weekend’s winter wonderland. It played havoc on our streets, with ice sheets, twisted ankles and dinged-up drivers.

The next day, we went back to the cool January temperatures we Mainers know and need. These 40-degree swings are global warming here and now – appropriately dubbed “global weirding” – and it’s gross.

What goes up must come down: We’ve sent up into the atmosphere heat-trapping carbon dioxide by burning fossil fuels for 200 years. What’s coming down this week is the product of juicing our air with those dangerous amounts of energy, pouring down on our snowpack with eerily warm winter rain.

It’s scary to send our kids to school on roads sheeted with ice, praying against the odds of fishtailing traffic.

It’s scary to pour public dollars into clearing ice as opposed to snow – Portland alone has already blown through one-third of its entire winter road maintenance budget.

It’s scary to threaten the hundreds of thousands of Maine livelihoods that depend on a stable climate: the ski industry’s snow, the shrimp fishery’s cool ocean waters, the outdoorsmen who are finding moose dead of tick attacks because weird winters can’t kill off these Lyme-infested arachnids anymore.


But in the face of it all, the solutions offer so much hope: Energy sources cleaner than fossil fuels are growing fast, creating new jobs and stabilizing our climate for the jobs that already define Maine.

Just as we once weaned our light sources from whale oil to electricity, of course we can build a cleaner energy future that hires thousands of Mainers and prevents the pollution driving this season’s dangerously weird winter weather.

I support climate solutions, and call on all Mainers – including our leaders in Augusta and U.S. Sens. Angus King and Susan Collins – to do everything they can to build a cleaner, safer energy future.

Bonnie Frye Hemphill


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