Panel on climate equity to hold first meeting February 26

Experts recruited from across Maine will advise and support the implementation of state’s four-year climate action plan, Maine Won’t Wait

Feb. 24, 2021

Augusta, MAINE – A new Equity Subcommittee of the Maine Climate Council, which will support ongoing planning and implementation of the state’s climate strategies to ensure shared benefits across diverse populations in Maine, will hold its first meeting on February 26.

Spencer Thibodeau, a Portland city councilor, has been named co-chair of the Equity Subcommittee, joining Ambassador Maulian Dana of the Penobscot Nation. The full subcommittee is comprised of 28 members of the Maine Legislature, the Maine Climate Council, and representatives from Maine’s youth, business community, nonprofit organizations, and scientific and academic institutions.

“The climate crisis is most strongly felt by the people of Maine who are least able to have their voices heard,” said co-chair Ambassador Maulian Dana. “This subcommittee will shed light on the experiences of our diverse and marginalized communities and propose strategies to ensure climate solutions prioritize and reach them. I appreciate the Maine Climate Council’s commitment to equity as a central tenet of the state’s climate actions and I look forward to the important work ahead.”

“I’m honored to have been asked to co-chair this crucial panel, and to bring the experience of Maine’s diverse populations to the forefront of climate planning,” said co-chair Councilor Spencer Thibodeau. “As temperatures and sea levels rise, so do the threats the public health, food security and economic stability of our most vulnerable people. The Maine Climate Council and the Mills Administration deserve credit for their foresight on climate change, and for their dedication to taking immediate action.”

“We are grateful and proud that Ambassador Dana and Councilor Thibodeau are contributing their vision and leadership to this important work for Maine,” said Council co-chairs Hannah Pingree, Director of the Governor’s Office of Policy Innovation and the Future, and Melanie Loyzim, Acting Commissioner of the Maine Department of Environmental Protection. “Over the coming years, this expert subcommittee will ensure that equity remains where it belongs -- on the forefront of Maine’s efforts against climate change.”

The Equity Subcommittee of the Maine Climate Council was created in Maine’s four-year climate action plan, Maine Won’t Wait, which was released Dec. 1, 2020. It is tasked with setting equity outcomes for climate actions, monitoring progress and making recommendations to the Council to ensure programs and benefits reach diverse and isolated populations and communities.

The subcommittee will build upon a groundbreaking equity analysis of the Maine Climate Council’s climate strategies that took place during the summer of 2020. That analysis, by the George S. Mitchell Center for Sustainability Solutions at the University of Maine, placed an equity lens on the four-year climate action plan, but also identified the need for further focus on ensuring climate equity in Maine as the state seeks to implement climate mitigation and adaptation programs.

Members of the Equity Subcommittee are appointed by Maine Climate Council and the Maine Legislature.

For more information about the subcommittee, its members, and to be notified of upcoming meetings and agendas, please visit the subcommittee’s website.