Landmark Document Sets Course for Carbon Reductions and Economic Revitalization
November 12, 2020 (Augusta, ME) – The Maine Climate Council voted today to finalize draft recommendations for the state’s next Climate Action Plan (CAP), a document that will guide Maine’s efforts to meet ambitious climate goals set by Governor Mills. The final Climate Action Plan is due to be released December 1.
The Climate Council is a nonpartisan collection of scientists, industry leaders, lawmakers, and municipal officials convened by the governor to develop a four-year plan to prepare for the impacts of climate change and provide a path to reduce emissions by 45% by 2030 and at least 80% by 2050.
The CAP provides policy recommendations in eight strategy areas, including the transportation sector, natural and working lands, and community resiliency. Specific policies identified in the Plan will need to be implemented via administrative actions or passed through the Legislature.
Though much work remains, Maine Audubon and others around the state are expressing excitement and optimism at the direction that Maine is taking to protect its environment and spur its economy.
“The final Climate Action Plan succeeds in promoting an appropriately diverse set of policy solutions to our climate crisis, including recognizing the critical role our natural and working lands play in controlling carbon,” says Eliza Donoghue, Director of Advocacy & Staff Attorney at Maine Audubon. The final CAP aims to increase the total acreage of conserved lands in the state to 30% by 2030; ensure that new renewable energy development is sited properly to protect natural resources; and develop new incentives to increase carbon storage on priority lands, among other recommendations.
The CAP also provides a number of strategies to spur the renewable energy economy, especially in promoting technologies like electric vehicles and heat pumps seen as key to meeting emission reduction goals. Maine Audubon corporate partners in the renewable energy economy sector welcome the state’s emphasis on these technologies.
“Investment in the environment is investment in the economy,” says Vaughan Woodruff, the CEO and Founder of Insource Renewables, based in Pittsfield, which specializes in the installation of solar panels and heat pumps. “With many clean energy technologies now proving to be cheaper than fossil fuels, Maine can take the good work of the Maine Climate Council and utilize successful state entities, such as Efficiency Maine, to ensure the benefits of these technologies are accessible to people across Maine.”
“The job potential related to electric vehicles and charging infrastructure is vast,” says Barry Woods, Director of Electric Vehicle Innovation at Maine-based Revision Energy. The transportation sector is the single largest contributor of carbon emissions in Maine, and the CAP includes a number of recommendations to reduce its impact. “The policies in the final Plan will guide Maine towards a cleaner environment and a stronger economy.”
The final Climate Action Plan is due to be released December 1 and its recommendations will need to be either administered through state agencies or passed through the state legislature. Maine Audubon and our partners in the renewable energy and home energy efficiency sectors look forward to making a cleaner, greener future for Maine.