A view of fall foliage in front of Katahdin along Route 11, south of the town of Patten. Credit: Alexander MacDougall / Houlton Pioneer Times

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A recent article written by the Associated Press and published in the Bangor Daily News detailed the threat that climate change currently poses to New England’s seasons. 

Northeastern states will have to take action in order to protect their signature fall seasons. In Maine, we pride ourselves on pristine natural spaces. Unfortunately, the iconic red and yellow leaves that appear throughout the state in the fall are threatened by warmer temperatures caused by climate change. Droughts can cause leaves to turn brown and heat waves can cause them to fall off before the fall even arrives. 

One of the largest drivers of climate change is our transportation system, which releases millions of tons of greenhouse gases each year into the atmosphere. In 2019, 29 percent of all of the United States’ emissions came from the transportation sector making it the largest source of emissions in the nation. The majority of this climate-harming pollution comes from personal vehicles. 

It’s clear that we need to make a change to our transportation system. That’s where the Transportation and Climate Initiative comes in. TCI is a multi-state program that would reduce carbon emissions from transportation by one-quarter over the next decade by charging fuel importers in the Northeastern and Mid-Atlantic states. This program will help us shift away from single occupancy, fossil-fuel powered vehicles toward healthier, cleaner options.

Supporting TCI is Maine’s first step towards transforming our transportation system and saving the state’s iconic fall foliage.

Ryan Giunta