In his inaugural address on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, President Barack Obama delivered an historic call to action to address climate change.

He referred to our “obligation” to address climate change saying: “that the failure to do so would betray our children and future generations.”

I couldn’t agree more. We have an obligation to future generations to take strong action to address climate change now to protect ourselves from more extreme weather like drought, wildfires and hurricanes and to prevent the associated public health impacts of climate change.

We can see the increasing severity and frequency of extreme weather events such as superstorm Sandy that destroy communities and ruin people’s lives.

According to the newly released National Climate Assessment, 2012 was the hottest year on record in the United States, including in Maine.

The report reveals that Maine and the Northeast can expect more severe heat waves, extreme precipitation events, and coastal flooding because of sea level rise. The time to take action to cut carbon dioxide emissions is now.

The president and Congress should take four specific actions:

* Finalize EPA rules regulating carbon dioxide emissions from newly constructed power plants.

* Establish a new carbon dioxide pollution standard for existing power plants.

* Appoint a climate change champion to lead the EPA in Lisa Jackson’s footsteps.

* Support job-creating incentives for renewable energy and energy efficiency.

The president’s historic call to action on climate change signals promise for policies to curb industrial carbon pollution in the his second term. We all need to come together to provide the president and our congressional representatives with the public support they need to proceed with significant climate policies.

Linda Stanton

Fayette

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