For so many of us, our parks are what make our state so special. But right now, they’re being harmed by air pollution and a rapidly changing climate. For example, the Gulf of Maine has warmed faster than 99% of ocean waters. The rapid increase in temperature harms ecosystems, wildlife and fisheries across our coast. Warmer and shorter winters has led to an increase in tick-borne illnesses. Sea level rise and increased flooding is set to cause extensive damage to dunes, bluffs, salt marshes, and more.
To ensure our communities and wild places stay protected, we need cleaner air and a stable climate. That will require us to address transportation — right now, the way we get around is the largest source of global warming emissions across the U.S and in Maine. In Maine, transportation accounts for a massive 54% of all global warming pollution.
One of the best ways to curb pollution is to replace gasoline powered vehicles with electric vehicles. The average electric vehicle in Maine emits 93% less global warming pollution than the average gasoline powered car. This drastic reduction in emissions underscores the importance of transitioning to all electric vehicles.
Though electric cars are growing in popularity, consumers are still concerned about finding a place to charge. Maine has made a commitment to expanding the use of electric vehicles with a goal of 219,000 electric vehicles on the road by 2030 — a great step in the right direction. However, a comprehensive state-wide electric vehicle charging network is a necessity for meeting those goals and spurring greater EV adoption.
Some of the places where we’re not seeing nearly enough charging stations are the very parks and public lands that electric vehicles would help protect. Since people charge their electric vehicles when they are parked, a lack of infrastructure near hiking trails means many folks suffer from range anxiety — the fear that they’ll run out of juice on the way back from a day on the trail.