Maine Climate Council to begin review of climate change strategies, new research
September 8, 2020
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AUGUSTA, September 8, 2020 - The Maine Climate Council's work to create a four-year Climate Action Plan for Maine resumes this fall with a slate of virtual public meetings starting Wednesday, September 9.
To create its plan, the Council will unite expert strategies to combat climate change put forward by its six working groups in June with new research on the economic and environmental impacts of climate change and the solutions to address it.
This research includes cost/benefit analyses and data modeling of the climate strategies proposed by the Council working groups, as well as an analysis about the "cost of doing nothing" about climate change on Maine.
Later this fall, the Council will also receive a detailed equity assessment of its proposed climate change strategies, which evaluates their potential impact on underrepresented communities. This assessment was undertaken this summer in collaboration with the Senator George Mitchell Center for Sustainability Solutions at the University of Maine.
Public feedback on the proposed climate strategies will also be shared with the Council this fall. Since the strategies were unveiled in June, the Council has received thousands of responses from people across Maine, who shared their opinions through online surveys, virtual public events, and written comments.
The Climate Council will continue to take written comment on the strategies through Sept. 24, 2020. Instructions for sending comments are available on the Councils website, climatecouncil.maine.gov.
Despite the global economic and social disruptions caused by COVID-19, world climate trends remain unchanged and unsettling. In Maine, the city of Portland experienced its warmest summer on record in 2020. A recent analysis released by the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Agency found that Julys global land and water temperature was the second highest on record. The agency also reports 2020 has 99.9 percent probability of being among the top five warmest years on record.
The threat to Maine from climate change is growing, and no aspect of Maine life will be untouched by its effects, said Hannah Pingree, Director of the Governors Office of Police Innovation and the Future and Council co-chair. The Council has the all the ingredients to create a plan to combat climate change that will protect our environment, prompt economic recovery, and ensure all Maine people are heard.
Melanie Loyzim, Acting Commissioner of the Department of Environmental Protection, will be joining Pingree as Council co-chair to replace Jerry Reid.
Im excited and honored to help this Council create a robust plan to address climate change, said Loyzim. Indisputable climate science and alarming warming trends point to the need for serious action to curb greenhouse gas emissions and build resiliency in our communities.
The Maine Climate Council, which was proposed by Governor Mills in April 2019 and passed with overwhelming bipartisan support in the legislature, is an assembly of science and technical experts, business and nonprofit leaders, key state leaders, bipartisan municipal leaders, a tribal representative, a representative of Maine youth and other engaged citizens.
The goal of the Council is to recommend ways for Maine to address the threat of climate change in an economical and equitable way, meet greenhouse gas reductions and renewable energy generation targets, grow lasting economic opportunities across the state through innovation and new industries, and ensure communities, industries and people are resilient to the effects of climate change.
The Council is charged to deliver a comprehensive four-year Climate Action Plan to the legislature by Dec. 1, 2020, as outlined in state law. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Council swiftly shifted to all-virtual processes in mid-March to meet this deadline.
In addition to recommending new policy through the Climate Action Plan, the Council will monitor the states progress quarterly, report progress on its goals every two years to the people of Maine and update the Climate Action Plan every four years.
The Councils virtual meetings are open to the public, but registration for the Zoom webinar is required. For the meeting schedule and registration information, please visit: climatecouncil.maine.gov.