President Donald Trump’s decision to leave the Paris Climate Accord, sent shockwaves not only here at home, but around the world. It represents a monumental failure of common sense in addressing what is becoming the defining issue of our time. Not to mention a complete abdication of American leadership abroad.

From ocean warming and acidification, shoreline loss, water scarcity, land ecosystem changes and the like, there are real and unavoidable impacts to our way of life if we don’t start addressing the root problem.

Here in Maine, we are particularly concerned about these issues being a coastal state, with such a large portion of our population along the coast, not to mention the impact to our natural resources-based economy. That’s why Mainers take climate change seriously. It affects our environment, our safety and our livelihoods.

With the federal government in disarray, Maine should step up to the plate. We don’t have the time nor the luxury to wait around for the next election or for Congress to act. We have to do something now. 

The Senate Democrats have backed a joint order calling on Maine to join the rest of the world in doing its part to fight climate change by joining the Paris Agreement. Specifically, the measure would have Maine join 12 other states and Puerto Rico who have already joined the United States Climate Alliance, a group of states committed to upholding the international climate accord signed in Paris by nearly 200 countries in 2016. Even municipalities are getting involved. The city of Portland has joined the Climate Mayors network, a group of mayors from cities in several states that have agreed to support the goals and benchmarks of the Paris climate accord.

In a disappointing 17-16 party line vote, every Republican in the Senate voted to kill the measure. Every Democrat voted for it. This is something that shouldn’t be partisan. Climate change is real, verified by science and data, and is one of the defining issues of the next generation.

This represents a common theme of a complete refusal to recognize near-universally accepted science that proves the Earth’s climate is changing — that our planet is becoming less hospitable every year and that those changes are caused by human behavior. We must preserve and protect our planet. It’s the only one we have.

— Justin Chenette, D-Saco, is serving his first term as the youngest senator in the Maine Senate, and represents Senate District 31, which includes Saco, Old Orchard Beach, Hollis, Limington and Buxton. He previously served two terms in the Maine House of Representatives. Outside the Legislature, he is the digital advertising executive at the Journal Tribune and is the owner of Chenette Media LLC, a marketing and public relations firm. Sign up for legislative updates at or

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