PORTLAND-- As Governor Janet Mills takes the helm this month, she has the power and opportunity to lead her state in adopting solutions to the climate crisis. Today, Environment Maine Research and Policy Center released a new report, Climate Solutions from Day One: 12 Ways Governors Can Lead on Climate Now, detailing actions governors can take immediately to significantly reduce planet-warming carbon pollution and ensure a more stable climate for their states and the nation.
Maine already collaborates in a regional climate initiative, the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, which is a power plant emissions cap-and-invest program. Governor Mills has also promised to set strong clean energy goals while increasing Maine’s renewable portfolio standards, lifting the cap on community solar, ending gross metering, and lifting the moratorium on new wind power projects. Environment Maine Research and Policy Center’s new report lays the roadmap for how the Mills administration can accomplish these objectives and go even further.
"To avoid a climate change-fueled future of more extreme weather, wildfires and rising sea levels, we need to do all we can to cut global warming pollution today," said Carissa Maurin, State Director for Environment Maine Research and Policy Center. "Governor Mills sits in a pivotal spot. With the stroke of a pen, she can increase renewable energy use, reduce transportation emissions and curb energy waste. These policies have proven effective and can bring immediate benefits to our health and environment."
Policies outlined in the report include setting a strong statewide emissions reduction goal and ways to promote electric vehicles in Maine. Also outlined is how Governors can ensure state governments “lead by example” by requiring state agencies to make climate-friendly purchasing decisions.
While the federal government is headed in the wrong direction--pulling out of the international Paris Agreement and rolling back the federal Clean Power Plan and Clean Car Standards--Governor Mills has a chance to demonstrate to her constituents, other states, and the international community that the United States is still serious about solving the climate crisis. Governors have many opportunities to lead on climate, by making state government a positive example for climate action; setting goals around renewable energy deployment, electric vehicle adoption, and waste reduction; and creating or joining bipartisan, regional partnerships across state lines.
Over the past year, top climate scientists have issued reports with dire warnings about our future. Every ton of greenhouse gas emissions saved will help avert the worst impacts of global warming, and we have no time to delay. The latest update to the National Climate Assessment makes the stakes for regions across the country clear. Without urgent action to cut carbon pollution, we can expect droughts, storms, wildfires, flooding, and many more negative impacts of global warming to get much worse. We need rapid action by our elected leaders -- and the solutions are abundant.
"In dozens of states, governors of every political stripe have taken strong action to put their states on the path to a lower-emission future," said Gideon Weissman of Frontier Group, report co-author. “When you're facing a dire threat, you need to use every tool in the toolbox. It's just common sense to cut energy waste in state buildings and boost renewable energy, and governors can make a difference right away.”
“The time for action on climate is now. Americans understand that climate change is an existential issue, with growing threats to the health and well-being of their friends, family and neighbors,” added Maurin, “We look forward to leadership from Governor Mills to ensure that Mainers can pursue their lives, liberty and happiness with a stable climate.”
Environment Maine Research & Policy Center works to protect clean water, clean air, and open spaces. We investigate problems, craft solutions, educate the public and decision-makers, and help the public make their voices heard in local, state and national debates over the quality of our environment and our lives.