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Earth’s atmosphere is experiencing unprecedented changes that are modifying global climate. Discussions continue around the world, the nation, and in Maine on how to reduce and eventually eliminate emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2), other greenhouse gases, and other pollutants to the atmosphere, land, and oceans. These efforts are vitally important and urgent. However, 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 CO2 can persist in the atmosphere for thousands of years to come.

In late 2007, Governor Baldacci asked the University of Maine and its ClimateChange Institute to lead a wide-ranging analysis of the state’s future in the context of changing climate during the 21st century. The assignment involved making use of existing knowledge and understanding of climate change; the terrestrial, freshwater, and marine ecosystems that characterize our environment; and the socioeconomic characteristics of the state. The project involved no financial support for new research or data collection, but participating scientists contributed their time and expertise to initiate a process that could lead to systematic planning and thoughtful decisions for the future. Based on considerable prior research, this report serves as a preliminary step designed to frame future detailed analyses focused on Maine by teams that will likely continue for years.

Citation/Publisher Attribution

Jacobson, G.L., I.J. Fernandez, P.A. Mayewski, and C.V. Schmitt (editors). 2009. Maine’s Climate Future: An Initial Assessment. Orono, ME: University of Maine.


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