Maine launches climate action plan

Published on December 03, 2020 by Dave Kovaleski

© Shutterstock

Maine Gov. Janet Mills release the state’s climate action plan, which outlines steps the state will take to protect the state from climate change and spur economic growth.

The plan, called Maine Won’t Wait, is a four-year blueprint for dealing with climate change developed by the Maine Climate Council – an assembly of scientists, industry leaders, bipartisan local and state elected officials, and engaged citizens. The plan outlines efforts to reduce carbon emissions and achieve carbon neutrality in Maine by 2045. Steps include bolstering the electric vehicle market, expanding the number of heat pumps installed in Maine homes, and transitioning to renewable energy to curb greenhouse gas emissions.

Maine Won’t Wait also seeks to create economic opportunities. It encourages the growth of the clean energy economy; creates incentives for consumers, businesses, and industries to invest in energy efficiency; and supports innovative construction materials and agricultural systems that rely on Maine timber and farms to build and feed the state into the future.

“Over the past 14 months, the Maine Climate Council exemplified resiliency as it maintained its commitment through climate action despite the disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic,” Council co-chairs Hannah Pingree, director of the Governor’s Office of Policy Innovation and the Future and Melanie Loyzim, acting commissioner of the Maine Department of Environmental Protection, said. “The Plan the Council is advancing today will bring consistent and bold action on climate, over the next four years and into the decades beyond, to create a better future for our state and the next generations. Every individual, business, organization, and leader in Maine can play a role in making this plan a reality. This collective effort will be key to our success against the crisis that climate change poses for our state, nation, and world.”

Mills followed the release with several new initiatives, including a goal to create 30,000 clean energy and energy efficiency jobs by 2030. She also stated plans to expand further existing incentives for purchasing electric vehicles and build more EV charging stations across Maine. Also, she’d like to double the pace of home weatherization; purchase more renewable energy through the state procurement process; and create energy efficiency incentive programs for commercial businesses. Further, Mills intends to submit legislation to make Maine carbon neutrality by 2045 a law.

“From rising seas to warming temperatures to deadly natural disasters, humanity has been warned for generations that our climate is changing in profound and dangerous ways and yet not enough has been done to slow or stop it,” Mills said. “Climate change will have profound implications for our state, our economy, and our people – both present and future. This is why Maine won’t wait, and can’t wait, to take action to ensure the resiliency of our communities, to create clean energy jobs and build a clean energy economy, and to support Maine families’ transition away from expensive, harmful fossil fuels to homegrown, renewable energy. I look forward to working with community leaders across our state to advance these goals and preserve and protect this place we all call home.”

Maine has some of the most aggressive renewable energy requirements in the country, calling for 80 percent renewable energy by 2030 and 100 percent by 2050. The state also intends to build the first floating offshore wind research array in the country in the Gulf of Maine.