The warming climate is a good thing, right? Those of us who shunned swimming in the cold Maine ocean water can now do so in much warmer water.

And sure, a bunch of Maine fish, clams, shrimp, and other critters are going, going, gone, but we can still get some of them from aquaculture facilities. While there are fewer lobsters along the central and southern Maine coast, there’s still a lot of them Downeast, and although alarms are being raised about a decline in baby lobsters there, when they leave Downeast, we can still get them in Canada — at least for a while.

A lot of dangerous and annoying critters will be disappearing from the northern forest, including moose. But hey, we’ll still be able to see and hunt them in Canada. And those noisy boreal forest birds that plague us upta camp — including boreal chickadees and spruce grouse — will be long gone too.

We lost a year’s class of native brook trout last year, because of the drought, but they are still plentiful in northern Quebec in the Leaf River. Of course, five days of fishing there costs $7,500.

Snake lovers will be pleased when rattlers and pythons arrive, and a lot of Mainers who moved south for warmer weather can return. Just don’t tell them about the erratic weather patterns we now suffer. Perhaps you’ve enjoyed all the rain this spring and early summer. Good for the garden, right?

Yes, I know some of the plants we grow now will disappear, but there will be new plants, including new varieties of grapes so we can make more wine here. And boy, we are going to need more wine.


Of course, there will be a downside to climate change, including the anger of our grandchildren and great-grandchildren who will question why we denied that the climate was changing and refused to do anything to stop it.

OK, of course I’m kidding about all of the good things brought our way by climate change. As the news about our changing climate gets worse, and our president withdraws from the Paris Accord and vows to restore the ailing coal industry, we all need to step up and do everything we can to fix this problem. I only hope we are not too late.

In this newspaper recently, I’ve learned a lot about this problem. Both good and bad things are happening. An Associated Press story reported “around the world, coal-fired power plants are being shuttered as governments and private companies invest billions in wind turbines and solar farms.” That same story reported that China is investing $360 billion in green-energy projects by 2020, a good thing because that country is the world’s largest global carbon emitter. And guess who is second? Yup, us.

We ought to be deeply distressed by what’s happening to our lobsters. The Press Herald reported that widespread ocean warming has wiped out lobsters in southern New England, and the result of the loss of other commercial fisheries means that lobsters are now more than 80 percent of our state’s total commercial fisheries profits. Yes, our fisheries economy is in one basket.

Scientists report that our country’s withdrawal from the Paris Accord could result in emissions of up to 3 billion tons of additional carbon dioxide every year, melting the ice sheets faster, bringing more extreme weather, and raising sea levels higher. Say goodbye to Portland’s docks and Commercial Street. In the Paris Accord, we had promised to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 2025 to 26 to 28 percent of 2005 levels — about 1.6 billion tons.

There’s a lot you can do to reverse the president’s decision. Start by contacting all members of our congressional delegation and asking them to support an initiative launched last session by Sen. Susan Collins to establish a carbon fee and dividend. As Mark Reynolds, executive director of the Citizen’s Climate Lobby, wrote on this page recently, this would apply a fee to fuels based on the amount of carbon dioxide they will emit when burned. And the revenue would be returned to all of us.

You can also get to work here in Maine to move us from the back of the pack to the front in creation of alternative energy sources, especially solar. It will help if we work together to elect a new governor who supports clean power. And you should be supporting our environmental groups that are in the forefront of this effort, including the Climate Table, which recently reported that 69 percent of Mainers believe climate change is happening and almost as many say it is already adversely affecting their environment. Yes, you get it and you are right.

For now, please enjoy a few lobster rolls this summer. And pray for our lobsters and lobster industry.

George Smith is a writer and TV talk show host. He can be reached at 34 Blake Hill Road, Mount Vernon 04352, or [email protected] Read more of Smith’s writings at

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