located AT THE northeastern tip of the United States, Maine is known chiefly for its wood and seafood products. Nearly 90 percent of its land area is forested, and 21,000 acres (85 sq. km.) are designated as state forests. Maine has 3,478 mi. (597 km.) of tid-ally influenced shoreline. These forests and coastlines are particularly vulnerable to climate changes caused by global warming. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency reports that rainfall in parts of Maine has decreased by 20 percent over the last century. In the future, the sea level in Rockland is predicted to rise as high as 14 in. (36 cm.), leading to coastal flooding, beach erosion, and the loss of valuable wetlands. As a result of this vulnerability, Maine has taken decisive action in establishing policies, priorities, and actions designed to modify human behaviors associated with global warming and climate change.
Between 1990 and 2001, the population of Maine increased by 5 percent. During that same period, carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions rose by 20 percent to a total of 22.7 million metric tons. In 2005, Maine established new standards for motor vehicle emissions based on those already in place in California. As a result of these efforts, Maine now has the eighth lowest level of CO2 emissions in the United States. The Public Utilities Commission acted in 1999 to move Maine toward renewable energy, requiring that 30 percent of all power come from renewable sources, such as fuel cells, tidal power, solar, wind, geothermal, hydroelectric, biomass, and solid-waste fueled generators.
In 2001, the New England governors and Eastern Canadian premiers began developing plans to reduce the levels of greenhouse gas emissions throughout the area. In addition to establishing a Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Emissions Inventory, the plan called on members to develop specific plans for reducing GHG emissions and for energy conservation, educating the public, leading by example, reducing GHG emissions from electric power plants, conserving energy, and reducing the overall impacts of climate change. In 2006, Maine received an overall grade of "B" for actions taken on accomplishing these goals. The report card cited progress in purchasing hybrid vehicles for the state, establishing LEED standards in
new and renovated state buildings, reducing travel miles of state employees, reducing energy consumption, increasing the use of clean energy, developing strict vehicle emission standards, and focusing on renewable energy and carbon-neutral generators. The report card stated that improvements were needed in the areas of fuel efficiency, education, research, and mandated building codes.
The responsibility for overseeing environmental factors that lead to global warming and climate change is divided among several departments in Maine. The Department of Environmental Protection encompasses the divisions of Air Quality, Land and Water Quality, and Remediation and Waste Management, as well as the Board of Environmental Protection. The Bureau of Health, which operates under the auspices of the Department of Human Services, manages the Health and Environmental Testing Laboratory, the Environmental Health Unit, and the Division of
Health Engineering. Other agencies with environmental responsibilities include the Department of Agriculture, which includes the Board of Pesticide Control, the Department of Conservation, the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, the Department of Marine Resources, and the State Planning Office, which oversees land use, coastal management, natural resources, waste management, and recycling.
In 2003, Maine became the first state in the United States to set a specific target for reducing GHG emissions. Established by an act to provide leadership in addressing the threat of climate change, the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Target Program mandates that emissions be restored to 1990 levels by 2010, and reduced an additional 10 percent by 2020. Long-term plans entail drastic reductions that may reach 75 to 80 percent of 2003 levels. The new standards work in
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Global warming is a huge problem which will significantly affect every country in the world. Many people all over the world are trying to do whatever they can to help combat the effects of global warming. One of the ways that people can fight global warming is to reduce their dependence on non-renewable energy sources like oil and petroleum based products.