Pingree calls for climate change action

By Stephen Betts | Mar 20, 2019
Photo by: Stephen Betts U.S. Rep. Chellie Pingree speaks at a Penobscot Bay Regional Chamber of Commerce breakfast March 20.

Rockport — With several tables filled with high school students in attendance, U.S. Rep. Chellie Pingree, D-Maine, said action must be taken now to deal with climate change.

Pingree spoke Wednesday morning, March 20, before the Penobscot Bay Regional Chamber of Commerce at the Samoset Resort.

The congresswoman, who lives on North Haven, said Congress can no longer debate whether climate change is happening or whether humans are contributing to the rising temperatures.

"My granddaughter turns 8 today. I don't want her asking me years from now why I didn't do anything," Pingree said.

She said the Gulf of Maine is warming up faster than nearly any ocean waters in the world and that will have a significant harmful impact on the state's fisheries. She said that as the waters warm, lobsters will head north and be caught in Canada.

Coastal communities are already seeing higher storm surges, she said.

Pingree, who has been in Congress since she was first elected in 2008, called for more federal support for renewable energy projects. She resident pointed out that the three wind turbines on Vinalhaven are an example of how renewable energy can reduce dependence on fossil fuels.

The past eight years of Republican control of Congress, with the past two in which both the White House and Congress were held by Republicans, has seen the United States lose opportunities to be in the forefront of renewable energy, Pingree said.

"We've been going in the wrong direction."

The country will not be able to fully be powered by renewable energy in five years, but significant progress can be made with support from the federal government. She said homeowners should be able to install affordable solar panels to their homes, pointing out that Germany -- which receives about as much sun as New England -- receives far more of its energy from solar than the United States.

"What Mainer doesn't want to be independent from the utility companies?" the veteran representative said.

Pingree also voiced support for public transportation, saying the Trump administration's proposed budget calls for deep cuts, including for Amtrak's northeast corridor.

"That is the direction we should be going in," she said.

The president's budget has zeros in accounts that deserve federal support, she said, including the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities.

The Rockland area is an example of a community that has thrived because of the creative economy after a transition from manufacturing. She said the arts are important for the community.

The federal government also should provide more support for the expansion of broadband service, Pingree said, pointing out that Maine is 49th out of 50 states for access to and speed of broadband.

"This is not a luxury; this is critical to businesses," Pingree said.

The Democrat also said the Trump administration must change its stance on visas for foreign workers, adding that this legal form of immigration is needed to support the tourist and service industries in Maine.

Comments (2)
Posted by: Ronald Horvath | Mar 22, 2019 09:07

"The big picture: "The impacts of long-term global warming are already being felt — in coastal flooding, heat waves, intense precipitation and ecosystem change," Gavin Schmidt, director of NASA GISS, said in a press release.

Since the 1880s, the average global surface temperature has risen about 2°F (1°C), which Schmidt — along with the vast majority of climate scientists — attributes largely to increased emissions of greenhouse gases due to human activities.
Increasing average temperatures are most pronounced in the Arctic, where temperatures have jumped at more than twice the rate of the rest of the globe, triggering sea ice and land-based glaciers to melt.


Record high annual temperatures over land surfaces were measured across much of Europe, New Zealand, and parts of the Middle East and Russia. No land areas were record cold for the year, NOAA found.

Details: NOAA also tallied up the list of billion-dollar weather disasters that affected the U.S. during 2018, counting 14 such events that add to a total of nearly $100 billion.

These disasters included Hurricanes Florence and Michael, Western wildfires and other extreme events. Their total damage is estimated at $91 billion, with Hurricane Michael in the top spot at $25 billion.


Studies show that climate change is already increasing the odds and severity of some types of extreme weather events, particularly heat waves and precipitation extremes. Links are also well-established between warming and drying conditions in the American West and more frequent, severe wildfires.


The past 3 years have seen more than double the annual average number of billion-dollar disasters, which NOAA attributes to "a combination of increased exposure, vulnerability, and the fact the climate change is increasing the frequency of some types of extremes that lead to billion-dollar disasters."

Posted by: Ananur Forma | Mar 21, 2019 09:14

This is why I always vote for Chellie Pingree.

She is consistent and dependable... she cares!

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