Maine Climate Council Releases Final Climate Action Plan

On December 1, 2020, the Maine Climate Council released its final report, Maine Won’t Wait, A Four-Year Plan for Climate Action (the “Climate Plan”).

In June 2019, Maine Governor Janet Mills signed legislation creating the Maine Climate Council, and tasked it with developing this four-year Climate Plan to decrease greenhouse gas emissions by 45% by 2030 and 80% by 2050, and achieve carbon neutrality by 2045. The Climate Plan sets forth four goals: 1) Reduce Maine’s greenhouse gas emissions, 2) avoid the impacts and costs of inaction, 3) foster economic opportunity and prosperity, and 4) advance equity through Maine’s climate response.

To achieve these goals, the Maine Climate Council developed eight targeted strategies. Some of those strategies include:

  • Modernizing the transportation sector by accelerating the transition to electric vehicle and increasing fuel efficiency and use of alternative fuels
  • Modernizing Maine’s buildings by transitioning to cleaner heating and cooling systems and promoting climate-friendly building products
  • Protecting Maine’s natural resource industries and growing a clean energy economy by focusing on growing Maine’s forest products industry and using climate-related infrastructure projects to stimulate economic recovery
  • Protecting Maine’s environment and working lands and waters by promoting natural climate solutions and increasing carbon sequestration

Each climate strategy is broken down into more specific actions that are assigned to various lead state agencies that will be responsible for implementing these actions. For example, the implementation of the climate strategy targeted for the energy sector is as follows:

Strategy C: Reduce Carbon Emissions in Maine’s Energy and Industrial Sectors through Clean Energy Innovation

Additional climate strategies and detailed outcomes of each strategy can be found in the Climate Plan.

While this is the first Climate Plan, the work will be ongoing as the Maine Climate Council is charged with updating the plan every four years. Progress on climate strategies and action items will be monitored quarterly by the Maine Climate Council and working groups. The specific metrics that will be used for evaluating progress toward these climate mitigation and adaptation goals are outlined in the Climate Plan, as well as near-term and long-term funding and financing options for achieving those goals.

For more information on the Climate Plan, please contact firm energy and environmental attorneys Sarah TracyKayla GrantLisa Gilbreath, or Brian Rayback. See also Pierce Atwood’s recent alert on the Maine Governor’s Energy Office and Governor’s Office of Policy Innovation and the Future report on strengthening Maine’s clean energy economy.