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The Earth’s atmosphere is experiencing unprecedented changes that are modifying the global climate, with consequences for all regions and societies. Discussions have begun on how to reduce and eventually eliminate the rapid and accelerating additions of carbon dioxide, other greenhouse gases, and other pollutants to the world’s atmosphere and oceans. These efforts are vitally important and urgent for Maine and the rest of the world.
Maine’s Climate Future 2015 builds on the Maine’s Climate Future 2009 report (below); it is not intended as a comprehensive revision of all aspects of the original report. This update focuses on highlights of our understanding in 2015 of past, present, and future trends in key indicators of a changing climate specific to Maine, and recent examples of how Maine people are experiencing these changes. Sometimes the effects are the direct result of shifting temperature or precipitation. Other times, climate-related changes in other parts of the country and world affect Maine, directly or indirectly. Climate change often acts in concert with other stresses, including a changing chemical climate, rather than being a singular cause of any given change. Sometimes these changes represent a new opportunity.
Even if a coordinated response succeeds in eliminating excess greenhouse gas emissions by later in this century, something that appears highly unlikely today, climate change will continue because the elevated levels of carbon dioxide can persist in the atmosphere for thousands of years. What has emerged in the last five years since the initial report in 2009 is a broadening awareness that the changing climate is unfolding around us now, not just in the future, and that citizens are called on to adapt to these changes and prepare for the future. This reality does not diminish the need to dramatically bend the curve on rising greenhouse gas emissions, which is more important than ever. It does mean that both mitigation and adaptation are involved as Maine people move towards sustainability in the 21st century.
To learn more, download and read Maine’s Climate Future – 2015 Update (February 2015, Revised March 2015) :
PDF file - 12.8 MB
This report considers past change over geologic time, recent evidence of accelerated rates of change, and the implications of continued climate change in Maine during the 21st century as a result of greenhouse gas emissions and their associated pollutants. Even if a coordinated response succeeds in eliminating excess greenhouse gas emissions by the end of the century, something that appears highly unlikely today, climate change will continue because the elevated levels of carbon dioxide (CO2) can persist in the atmosphere for thousands of years to come.
To learn more, download and read Maine's Climate Future:
PDF file - 18.1MB
Building on Maine’s Climate Future, in 2009 the Maine Legislature charged the Maine Department of Environmental Protection to bring together a broad group of stakeholders across business, agriculture, forestry, marine, health, conservation, and transportation interests to initiate a climate change stakeholder adaptation process. More than 70 groups representing government, private industry, non-governmental organizations, municipalities, and the University of Maine participated in the discussions and working committees. In February 2010, Maine DEP presented the Legislature with a report on the the initial year of work in this stakeholder adaptation process that included a description of findings and recommendations. The full report and a summary document of People and Nature Adapting to a Changing Climate: Charting Maine’s Course can be downloaded from the Maine DEP climate change adaptation web site.