Climate change poses a dire threat to our future: There is now more carbon pollution in our atmosphere than at any other point in human history. That carbon is being absorbed into our skies and seas, leading to major climate impacts here in Maine and across the country. Maine is already feeling the negative effects of climate change, and we are dedicated to doing all we can to address this crisis.

On Dec. 6, led by students at Bowdoin College, our communities came together to call for stronger action in the fight against climate change. As your representatives in Augusta, we are grateful for these students’ leadership and for the commitment our towns have shown to responding to the climate crisis.

As the Gulf of Maine continues to warm at an alarming rate, climate change threatens our lobster population with warmer temperatures and more acidic waters. Warmer seawater combines with melting ice sheets and glaciers to create deadly sea level rise. According to the Natural Resources Council of Maine, a one-meter sea level rise would submerge at least 20,000 acres of coastal real estate in Maine; a six-meter rise would submerge 128,000 acres.

To slow and mitigate climate change, this spring the Legislature voted to create the Maine Climate Council, an idea that came to us from Gov. Janet Mills. The council has ambitious goals, and is working to reduce greenhouse gas pollution by 80% and transition Maine to using 100% renewable energy by 2050.

Along with the Maine Climate Council, the Legislature approved several laws this past session that will help the council achieve its goals. We supported a new law to encourage more solar power projects, making it easier for small and medium-sized groups to convert to solar power. We also updated Maine’s Renewable Portfolio Standard, requiring that more of Maine’s electricity come from renewable sources, including solar and wind.

Now is the time for action. All of us must do our part to address climate change and adapt to the changes and impacts already taking place. At every level of government and in every community, we must act thoughtfully and quickly. For our part, we commit to working with our colleagues in the Legislature to enact policies that will make Maine carbon-neutral as soon as possible. Maine must continue to lead the nation through the bold and immediate action that this critical moment requires.

Sen. Brownie Carson, Harpswell, Rep. Mattie Daughtry, Brunswick, Rep. Jay McCreight, Harpswell, and Rep. Ralph Tucker, Brunswick are Democrats in the Maine Legislature

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