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December 4, 2023

Maine makes progress toward climate change goals

File photo / Tim Greenway Hannah Pingree is the director of the Governor’s Office of Policy Innovation and the Future.

Maine is taking strides toward its climate change goals, a new report shows.

A 2020 state plan, titled "Maine Won’t Wait," outlined specific goals to prepare for climate change and to help reduce the state's greenhouse gas emissions. Among the steps described were calls to install heat pumps, weatherize buildings, conserve land, build a green power grid, create clean energy jobs, increase electric vehicles and create local climate projects.

The goals were intended to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in Maine by 45 % by 2030 and 80% by 2050. Gov. Janet Mills also pledged that Maine would become carbon-neutral by 2045, a commitment she signed into law in 2022. 

Heat pump installation is one of the state climate plan’s most significant milestones. Over 115,000 new high-efficiency heat pumps have been installed in Maine, surpassing the climate plan’s 2025 goal of 100,000 new heat pumps two years early. In response to this progress, a new target of 175,000 additional heat pumps in Maine by 2027 has been set.

The state's housing and energy efficiency agencies have weatherized 12,705 homes since 2019, including 3,500 in 2023, a 39% increase. The climate plan’s goal calls for weatherizing 17,500 houses by the end of 2025.

Maine lags furthest behind in its electric vehicle targets. According to the report, the state would need 219,000 electric vehicles operating in Maine by 2030 to reach the reduction goals. 

Another goal that fell short this year has been land conservation. The goal was to conserve 30% of Maine land by 2030, and 22.2% of Maine's lands are in conservation as of this year. The number has been increasing slowly: 21.5% in 2020, 21.7% in 2021, and 22% in 2022.

“With climate effects on Maine, our nation, and our world remaining dire, but the financial and technical support to address climate arguably never greater, we are committed to ensuring Maine will not wait to protect its communities, people and economy from climate change,” said Hannah Pingree, director of the Governor’s Office of Policy Innovation and the Future, and Melanie Loyzim, commissioner of the Maine Department of Environmental Protection.

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