Grade Improves From Last Year; Progress Grows in Maine
Augusta and Portland, ME – A “Report Card” released today by a coalition of environmental groups in the United States and Canada has given Maine a grade of B- for its actions to reduce global warming pollution in the region. The B- represents an improvement from last year’s grade of C, and is attributable to Governor Baldacci’s leadership in finalizing Maine’s Climate Plan last year, and in jumpstarting its implementation this year.
“Governor Baldacci made important first steps in adopting the Maine Climate Action Plan in 2004 and the passage of some laws that will help reduce global warming pollution,” said Sue Jones, Energy Project Director for the Natural Resources Council of Maine, who helped grade Maine for the report card. “However, there is still a lot of work to do to reduce global warming pollution from the biggest sources – such as power plants, cars and trucks.
The 2005 Report Card on Climate Change Action was written to gauge the progress of individual states and provinces in meeting the goals of the New England Governor’s / Eastern Canadian Premiers’ Climate Change Action Plan of 2001. This group of Governor s and Premiers will be meeting next week August 28-29 in St. John’s, Newfoundland, Canada to discuss their progress in meeting the goals of the 2001 Climate Change Action Plan. In Maine, the report card is also an assessment of Governor Baldacci’s implementation of his 2004 Climate Action Plan.
“Governor Baldacci fired the starting gun with the announcement of the state’s climate action plan. This session, the Legislature took off running with the passage of a few important global warming policies,” said Matthew Davis, Advocate for Environment Maine, who also helped assess the state’s progress. “Maine’s got a long race to run to curb global warming, but we’re off to a good start.”
Recognizing the impacts of climate change on the region’s environment, economy and public health, in August of 2001 the Governors of the six New England states and the Premiers of the five eastern Canadian provinces committed the region to goals.
The Report Card released today highlights those areas in which Maine has made progress since 2004, and those areas in which much more work is needed. Highlights of Maine’s progress include measures such as passage of bills including: 1) the cleaner cars sales goals program; 2) a solar rebates program for photovoltaic and solar thermal systems; 3) voluntary energy efficient building codes; 4) natural gas efficiency incentives.
However, the state will need to take additional steps to hit the goals that it has set, including: 1) extending cleaner cars and cleaner fuel infrastructure tax incentives until 2010; 2) setting strong appliance efficiency standards; 3) promoting new renewable energy generation, especially wind power, and 4) adopting global warming pollution standards for vehicles, as required by the California LEV II Clean Car Standard.
The Report Card comes just six days before the region’s Governors and Premiers will meet in Newfoundland and discuss their progress in meeting the goals of the 2001 Climate Change Action Plan. High grades in the report card went to Connecticut in the U.S., which received a B, and Prince Edward Island in Canada, which received a B+. Low scores in the region went to New Hampshire and Nova Scotia, who each received grades of C-.