The Mills Administration today announced the membership of the Maine Climate Council. The Climate Council, which was proposed by Governor Mills in April and passed with bi-partisan and overwhelming support in the legislature, is charged with establishing strategies and initiatives to help the state meet its greenhouse gas reductions and renewable energy generation targets as it works to combat climate change, and to make sure our communities, industries and people are resilient to the changes our state is facing.
The Climate Council consists of several department commissioners, key state leaders, science and technical experts, business and non-profit leaders, municipal leaders, a tribal representative, and a representative of Maine youth. It is co-chaired by Hannah Pingree, Director of the Governor’s Office of Policy Innovation and the Future, and Jerry Reid, Commissioner of the Department of Environmental Protection.
“Governor Mills has made tackling climate change one of her top priorities and, from ushering in renewable energy to establishing the Climate Council, she’s already taken significant action,” said Hannah Pingree, Co-Chair of the Maine Climate Council. “The future of Maine’s communities, our state’s economy, and the lives and health of our citizens depends on us stepping up to confront the challenge of climate change. I look forward to leading Maine’s Climate Council as we work to meet our emission reduction targets, create new clean energy jobs, and improve the resilience of our communities. The evolving science on climate is daunting, but the future world we leave to our children depends on our actions.”
“Maine has unique challenges when it comes to addressing the problems caused by climate change, but with those challenges comes unique opportunities,” said Jerry Reid, Commissioner of the Department of Environmental Protection and Co-Chair of the Maine Climate Council. “The Climate Council will bring together knowledgeable people with different perspectives to develop responsible strategies tailored to the needs of our citizens, our environment, and our economy. I look forward to beginning this important work.”
The Climate Council is scheduled to meet for the first time on Thursday, September 26, 2019 – during Climate Action Week. More details will be released next week on the timing and location of the meeting.
The Climate Council will also convene several working groups from within its membership – including a Scientific and Technical Subcommittee, a Transportation Working Group, a Coastal and Marine Working Group, a Natural and Working Lands Group, and others – to focus on how the state can tackle challenges within these specific areas. In addition to recommending new policy and innovative strategies to reach these emission and energy goals, the Council will update the Maine State Climate Plan every four years, and will solicit input from the public and report out progress on its goals every two years to the people of Maine. The first Climate Action Plan is due to be submitted to the legislature by December 1, 2020.
Under Governor Mills’ leadership, Maine has set statutory goals of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 45 percent by 2030 and at least 80 percent by 2050. She has also signed legislation to increase Maine’s Renewable Portfolio Standard to 80 percent by 2030 and set a goal of 100 percent by 2050.
The membership of the Maine Climate Council is as follows:
Jessie Perkins, Executive Director of the Bethel Chamber of Commerce
Expert on State’s Energy Sector: Ken Colburn, energy and climate expert