As scheduled the Maine Climate Council released the new four-year climate action plan, Maine Won’t Wait (PDF). Governor Janet Mills welcomed the release of the plan and announced actions her Administration will take to protect Maine people and communities and spur economic growth in the fight against climate change.
Governor Mills and the Legislature last year enacted bipartisan legislation that created the Maine Climate Council – an assembly of scientists, industry leaders, bipartisan local and state elected officials, and engaged citizens – to develop a plan to reduce carbon emissions and achieve carbon neutrality in Maine by 2045. Backed by the most comprehensive scientific and economic assessments about the effects of climate change in Maine in a decade, Maine Won’t Wait calls for decisive steps to achieve that goal, including bolstering the electric vehicle market in Maine, expanding the number of heat pumps installed in Maine homes, and transitioning to renewable energy to curb harmful greenhouse gas emissions.
Maine Won’t Wait details climate action steps that are intended to create economic opportunities for Maine, such as encouraging the growth of the clean energy economy; creating incentives for consumer, business and industry to invest in energy efficiency; and supporting innovative construction materials and agricultural systems that rely on Maine timber and farms to build and feed the state into the future. The plan highlights strategies to ensure our economy and communities are better prepared for the increasing impacts of climate change.
Governor Mills announced a series of actions intending to alleviate Maine’s climate crisis and to protect Maine people and the environment. These include a goal to more than double Maine’s clean energy and energy efficiency jobs to 30,000 by 2030; to further expand existing incentives for purchasing electric vehicles and build more EV charging stations across Maine; to double the pace of home weatherization; to purchase more renewable energy through the state procurement process; and to create energy efficiency incentive programs for commercial businesses.
Governor Mills also announced her intention to submit legislation to put Maine’s target to achieve carbon neutrality by 2045 into law; to further advance cost-effective clean energy development; to enact official sea level rise projections; to create incentives for small woodlot owners to support sustainable forestry management and sequester harmful carbon emissions, and to launch a pilot program for community-level climate resiliency planning to inform broader efforts in coming years. She also discussed her plans to work with legislators to work bond package that meets climate goals this upcoming session focused on establishing a fund for community infrastructure projects that stem the effects of climate change, funding to accelerate the pace of weatherization improvements to Maine homes, and investing in the critical extension of broadband Internet access across the state.
As the Council continues its work following the release of the plan, it will also convene a special Equity subcommittee to ensure future climate actions are conducted in Maine with focus on protecting and supporting vulnerable communities who are most at-risk from climate disruption.
Maine joined the United States Climate Alliance, a bipartisan coalition of 25 Governors and states that have committed to climate action, created the Maine Climate Council, and withdrew from a national offshore drilling coalition and removed a moratorium on clean wind power development
Maine has set some of the most aggressive renewable energy requirements in the country – 80 percent renewable energy by 2030, and a goal of 100 percent for 2050. Maine also enacted aggressive targets to cut greenhouse gas emissions into law – 45 percent by 2030, and 80 percent by 2050, as well as pledging to achieve carbon neutrality by 2045.
The state has partnered with Efficiency Maine to set an aggressive goal to install 100,000 new heat pumps by 2025. This year, Maine is on pace to install as many as 16,000 heat pumps, more than double what was done last year.