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Good morning.

The two most important things that we have a responsibility to do in government are one, to prepare our children for a bright future and to preserve and protect our natural.

Global warming is real. There is overwhelming scientific agreement that we are changing the environment that sustains us.

The stakes are incredibly high. If we allow climate change to continue, the world faces terrible consequences that could put Maine’s economy and quality of life at risk.

While the problem is daunting, we are taking steps right now to halt the growth of greenhouse gases, like carbon dioxide, that cause global warming.

Together with Rep. Ted Koffman of Bar Harbor and Sen. Phil Bartlett of Gorham, I introduced legislation this week that will move Maine forward with the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, called RGGI for short.

RGGI is a coalition of 10 Northeastern states that have pledged to reduce the production of the gases that contribute to global warming and climate change.

The need for action is urgent.

The science tells us we need to move forward to find solutions.

Nationally, the politics of global warming have stood in the way of progress.

Environmental groups have been fighting it out with industry and the business community. The result is a stalemate, which allows the problem to get worse.

In Maine, it’s different.

Working with leaders in the House and Senate and the state’s environmental and business groups, we have been able to craft a plan that will produce real progress.

It’s called the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative Act of 2007.

Too often, political rhetoric pits the environment against jobs.

That’s a false choice we don’t have to make.

We know that in Maine because our air, water and natural resources are closely tied to our economic health.

Around the country, this has become a partisan issue, with Democrats and Republicans divided. It doesn’t have to be that way. Already, there is bipartisan support for our efforts to combat climate change.

Republican State Sen. Dana Dow from Lincoln County spoke very eloquently this week at our press conference and there are many other republican co-sponsors.

Together, we are setting a course that will reduce the emissions of climate-changing gases.

Our plan also invests in energy efficiency for homes and businesses, and it protects electric customers from unreasonable rate increases.

Maine has already led the way nationally in with our energy policies.

We were the first state government that bought 100 percent of its electricity from renewable sources.

We established tax credits for the production of alternative fuels in the state.

And we have set an achievable goal of increasing renewable power in Maine by 10 percent over the next decade.

My commitment to energy conservation, to energy efficiency, and to renewable energy is longstanding. Because it is right for the environment. It is right for consumers. And, it is right for the economy.

To address climate change, back in 2003 I directed the Department of Environmental Protection to develop a Climate Change Action Plan to assess and address climate change in Maine. The DEP developed this plan. Maine was the first in the nation. California has now followed our lead.

The cap-and-trade program that came from that Plan is one of the most effective greenhouse gas reduction strategies both in terms of carbon reductions and cost-effectiveness.

What we’ve done will create a regular and predictable market, prevent market manipulation, and help consumers by reducing bills and long-term costs of energy.

There are naysayers out there who deny that global warming is happening. They point to the snow on the ground in April or the storm that we just had, or a really cold day when the car wouldn’t start.

They refute the science on grounds that can best be described as blind faith. Just six weeks ago, an international panel confirmed that there is general scientific agreement that human activities are causing rapid global warming.

2006 was the hottest year on record. And while we’ve had an unusual April, you can remember December and January were the warmest in the books.

We know climate change is real.

You can stop in and ask hunters and fishermen that gather and they’ll tell you the ice is late to come and early to leave. There’s very little snow to track deer in the fall.

Farmers can tell you because it has affected their planting and harvesting.

Loggers about the ground not being frozen enough for them to work for much of the winter.

If things don’t change, our coastal communities could be threatened by rising sea levels and our industries in fishing could be endangered.

We all have a part to play. Working together we can make a difference for our state, for our children and for their future.

Thank you.

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