Climate Change Effects on Maine Economy

  • The Gulf of Maine is warming 99% faster than the world’s oceans
  • Species distribution is shifting
  • Precipitation, temperature extremes, and wind speeds are increasing
  • Harmful insects such as ticks and emerald ash borer ranges are increasing

With warming waters, our fishing industry is in peril. The Gulf of Maine is experiencing shifts in key zooplankton species, changes in when and where key commercial species are caught, declines of cold-water species, and an influx of southerly species. Ocean acidification stresses calcifying organisms like lobsters and clams, making it difficult for them to produce shells. These factors will cost the fishing industry in Maine. For example, the Atlantic sea scallop, which is projected to move 430 miles north in coming years, alone brought Maine fishermen $9.3 million last year. Another major example is the shrimp fishery, which has been closed for five consecutive years due to the climate crisis affecting shrimp populations.

On land, our economy is threatened too. Drought stresses crops like blueberries, and the phenology (the timing of biological events like leafing) of sugar maple trees is changing, which affects the production of maple syrup. Additionally, sea level rise threatens real estate, with flooding occurring in critical areas along the entire coast of Maine. Check out these maps showing projections of how sea level rise will affect many of Maine’s coastal communities.


Key public health indicators such as Lyme disease and anamasplosis are on the rise. In just 10 years, the occurrence of tick and mosquito vector-borne diseases has shot up over 1800%. Asthma, impaired immune function, and increased susceptibility to respiratory infection are more common. Weather extremes have wide-ranging impacts on human health by disrupting energy supplies, compromising access to health services, contaminating water, and affecting sanitation and food storage. Harvard Medical School conducted research on Climate Change and Health in Maine, detailing many of these growing health threats.

Economic Goals of the Maine Climate Council–

These Goals will define how Maine allocates funds to provide leadership in helping the planet and its people to live sustainably and feel fullfilled.

Bold emissions reductions: The Maine Climate Council is charged with developing a plan to meet state greenhouse gas emissions reduction targets that are now in law, including a gross 45% greenhouse gas emissions reduction below 1990 levels by 2030 and at least 80% by 2050

Mitigation: Develop mitigation strategies to meet state emissions reduction requirements in all sectors of the economy, with a focus on Maine’s transportation, electricity, and buildings sectors

Resilience: Develop strategies that will make Maine people, industries, and communities resilient to the impacts of climate change

Transition: Develop programs to ensure Maine’s rural, low-income and elderly populations are not adversely impacted in the shift to a low-carbon economy, while also delivering benefits like lower heating bills. Increase Civic Participation by providing universal broadband access– for remote meeting participation.

Jobs: Recommend how to best grow good paying jobs in the transition to a lower carbon economy, and provide support and retraining for those industries and workers who will be most impacted by climate change

Maine Climate Council Reports to the Governor December 1, 2020. The next legislature could enact bills on its recommendations.

Tell the Maine Climate Council: Maine needs a bold Climate Action Plan

Add your name to urge the Climate Council to adopt a bold, new Climate Action Plan that will strengthen Maine’s economy with local union scale wage jobs, reduce air pollution, and build healthy, equitable (sustainable) communities. 

Continue reading more about Antonio’s interest in sustainable economic recovery and development, and climate policy justice below.

There is more for the 130th Legislature to contemplate–the recommendations of the Governor’s Economic Recovery Committee, which is charged with developing specific policy recommendations to stabilize the state’s economy, and build a bridge to future [sustainable] prosperity in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. As state representative, I will scrutinize these in light of the Climate Council’s policy recommendations. There is no sense in returning to a system that perpetrates the conditions for pandemics to occur. These recommendations are in the areas of Hospitality, Tourism, and Retail; Education and Workforce; Infrastructure (Transportation, construction, broadband, and banking); Innovation (Life sciences, tech, energy, start-up ecosystem); Healthcare, nonprofits, childcare & support services; Manufacturing and Natural Resource-Based Industries.

Here’s an excerpt for comparison from Environmental Entrepreneurs (E2): “While the economic impacts from COVID have been significant across the entire workforce in Pennsylvania, the fast-growing clean energy sectors demonstrate a significant opportunity to rebound and to add thousands of new jobs and investment to rebuild our economy, particularly if we position our state policies to seize this moment.”

Maine Economic
Development Strategy
2020-2029 link:

This link gives us objectives to aim for in combatting climate change. It is based on the premise that climate solutions that don’t also confront injustice are not solutions at all.

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