Maine Releases Climate Action Plan

On December 1, Governor Mills and Maine’s Climate Council released “Maine Won’t Wait: A four-year plan for climate action.”

The 124-page document is broken down into eight strategies designed to reduce the state’s contributions to climate change and to prepare Maine to better adapt to changing conditions likely to occur in the decades ahead.

The Mills administration is expected to propose legislation in 2021 to implement some of the recommendations included in the Climate Action Plan. This is likely to come in the form of multiple bills. One of the challenges to implementation in the short term will be the costs associated with many of the Action Plan recommendations. Numerous proposals call for funding, but the state’s budget will be facing many challenges related to the ongoing pandemic and accompanying economic downturn.

More details, including an executive summary, can be found here: Climate Action Plan. Maine’s Climate Council has also pulled together an Implementation Chart that outlines a proposed timeline for specific outcomes and strategies included in the plan.

History of Maine Climate Council

This 39-person council was established in October 2019 after the legislature approved a bill introduced by Governor Mills earlier that year. The legislation creating the council established a series of goals and directed the council to incorporate those goals into a Climate Action Plan. The goals include carbon neutrality by 2045, reducing greenhouse gas emissions 45% below 1990 numbers by 2030, reducing greenhouse gas emissions 80% below 1990 numbers by 2050, and ensuring Maine people, industries, and communities are resilient to the impacts of climate change.

As a first step toward developing its action plan, The Council established six working groups in November 2019 to focus on distinct sectors: energy, transportation, natural and working lands, coastal and marine, buildings and infrastructure, and community resilience. The working groups delivered recommendations to the council in June 2020. Maine’s Climate Council finalized its action plan on December 1, 2020. The council will continue to exist – monitoring progress and proposing necessary adjustments to the action plan in the years ahead.