Opinion

Climate change a critical challenge of our time

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To the Editor;
Matthew Gagnon’s opinion column suggested that past predictions made by various scientists have failed to come true, and this causes skepticism of some current climate predictions. He cited predictions by Stanford biologist Paul Ehrlich who thought mass starvation would occur in the 1970s due to overpopulation. Gagnon also referred to predictions made in the 1970s and 1980s regarding air pollution. In part, these predictions didn’t come true because steps were taken toward solving the problems.

For example, the Clean Air Act of 1970, championed by former Maine Senator Edmund Muskie, a Democrat, and signed into law by Republican President Richard Nixon, along with later legislation, resulted in the much-cleaner air we enjoy today compared to then.

Gagnon didn’t mention scientific predictions that are coming true. For example, climate models predict that the northeastern U.S. will become wetter and warmer. And since 1895, when we began keeping records, Maine’s average annual precipitation has increased 6 inches, and our average annual temperature has increased 3 degrees. These changes are affecting forestry, agriculture, fishing, and human health. We need bipartisan leaders today to tackle the current environmental challenges of climate change. Maine’s political leaders should remember Muskie’s legacy and act to meet this critical challenge of our time.

Sue Erich
Orono

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