We are currently at 1 degree Celsius in terms of global warming. Marine species in Maine are moving north to higher latitudes. Elsewhere, we have ever-more-ferocious storms, fires and droughts.

An additional rise of 0.5 C, taking us to 1.5 C, will exacerbate ice sheet instability in Antarctica and Greenland. Current rates of greenhouse-gas emissions will bring us to 1.5 C by 2030; this is just 11 years away. Between 1.5 C and 2 C, “feedback loops” – complex interactions that reinforce climate change processes – will make ice melt increasingly irreversible. This is when things start to spiral out of control.

We will see ever-more-severe flooding of low-lying coastal areas. Over time, significant parts of cities such as Miami and New York will become uninhabitable. Around the world, hundreds of millions of people will be displaced. Almost all coral reefs will die.

To stop the global warming juggernaut we will have to implement rapid and far-reaching changes throughout the economy. We can do this. We did it when gearing up to fight Japan and Germany in the Second World War. We need a plan of action. The Green New Deal is an emerging blueprint. If not the Green New Deal, then we need a similarly bold and ambitious alternative.

What we cannot afford is a continuing refusal on the part of our politicians to acknowledge the necessity to take action.

We should demand that all our local representatives endorse Maine’s own Green New Deal, or come up with a viable alternative. In 2020, we should elect to the House and Senate only candidates who support a national plan bold enough to halt the rise in global warming.

We have no choice. There is no Plan B. We can do this, but we have to begin to act now.

Nigel Calder