Maine's Climate Future: An Initial Assessment

In late 2007, then Governor Baldacci asked the University of Maine and its Climate Change Institute to lead a preliminary analysis of the effects of climate change in Maine during the 21st century. This report from the analysis considers past climate change, recent evidence of accelerated rates of change, and the implications of continued climate change in Maine as a result of greenhouse gas emissions and their associated pollutants. The assessment highlights some of the critical climate impacts on various ecosystems and economic sectors in Maine, with the intention to help frame the policy and management discussions on adaptation that are needed, while emphasizing new opportunities that exist for the state.

Climate projections for the state were developed using the intermediate level greenhouse gas scenario (A1B) from the Intergovernmental Panel On Climate Change Fourth Assessment (IPCC4, 2007). In this report analyzes climate simulations from a various coupled ocean-atmospheric models, which were then used to predict seasonal temperature and precipitation in Maine over this century. 

Climate impacts are reviewed from the initial assessments on Maine's Gulf, freshwater ecosystems, forests, biodiversity, and indigenous people. This is followed by 'Sector Impacts and Opportunities' which provides an overview of the agriculture, forestry, tourism and recreation, energy, transportation, human health and economic sectors and related climate impacts. 

 

In response to the initial report in 2009, the Maine Legislature directed the Maine Department of Environmental Protection to lead a stakeholder-driven process to identify priority risks and strategies for initial climate change adaptation efforts in Maine (L.D. 460).  After receiving the resulting report in February 2010, the Maine Legislature asked DEP to continue the process with a final plan for state climate change adaptation due by 2012 (L.D. 1818). The initial stakeholder adaptation report was adopted as the final plan in 2012, although the resulting final report is no longer hosted on Maine's Department of Environmental Protection website due to a change in the state's administration and climate policy.

 

 

Publication Date: April 2009

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