Appearing at an event held at Bowdoin College in her home state of Maine, Sen. Susan Collins told the audience she believes human activity contributes to climate change. “First of all, let me say that I believe that climate change is clearly occurring, and I believe that humans are part of the problem,” she said to applause. “I also believe there are natural variations in climate over time, but clearly human activity has exacerbated the problem.”

“In studying climate change, I’ve been to Antarctica and spent four days there visiting with scientists,” she said. “I’ve also been to the Arctic to study climate change, and I’ve met with native peoples in Barrow, Alaska…it’s right on the Arctic Ocean and for the first time (and this was eight years ago) the permafrost was melting and telephone poles were starting to lean over. They were seeing insects that they had never seen that far north.” She pointed to skyrocketing number of cases of Lyme Disease in Maine and the newfound prevalence of disease-carrying ticks as an impact of a warming climate. “I consider this a public health issue as well,” she added.

“As far as what you can do and what I can do, I have introduced and cosponsored a number of bills. One is aimed at fast-acting pollutants…methane, for example.” Collins is a co-sponsor of the Super Pollutants Act, which would create an Interagency Task Force on Short-Lived Climate Pollutant Mitigation. She also highlighted her record of voting to repeal “the tax breaks that the large oil companies get.”

Addressing climate change “is going to require a global approach,” she said. “We are not the sole emitter.” She cited a number of actions individuals can take to “make a difference” including driving more fuel efficient cars and using LED lightbulbs. “But ultimately it’s going to require government action as well.”