Maine Governor Janet Mills has announced the formation of the Maine Climate Council, which is tasked with helping the state confront climate change. The Nature Conservancy in Maine state director Kate Dempsey has been appointed to serve on the Council, while three staff experts and two TNC in Maine board members have been appointed to working groups.
The Climate Council was proposed by Governor Mills and passed in the Maine legislature with strong bipartisan support. It 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."
In addition to Kate Dempsey, who will serve on the 39-member Climate Council, TNC in Maine director of government relations and climate policy Rob Wood has been appointed to serve on the Council's Transportation Working Group; river and coastal restoration director Jeremy Bell will serve on the Coastal & Marine Working Group; and forest program director Mark Berry will join the Natural & Working Lands Working Group. TNC in Maine board members Dr. Heather Leslie and Dr. Stephen Shaler have also been appointed to the Council, with Dr. Leslie co-chairing the Coastal & Marine Working Group and Dr. Shaler serving on the Natural & Working Lands Working Group.
"Governor Mills and bipartisan majorities in the Maine House and Senate have made Maine a national leader in the effort to address climate change," said Kate Dempsey, State Director of The Nature Conservancy in Maine. "I am honored to be a part of the Maine Climate Council, and am eager to work together with my TNC colleagues and experts from around the state to move Maine toward a low-carbon future."
"Transportation is the largest source of greenhouse gas emissions in Maine," said Rob Wood, TNC in Maine Director of Government Relations and Climate Policy. "I believe Maine can lead the way in showing what it looks like to shift to a 21st century, clean and affordable transportation system in a rural state."
"Sea level rise and other impacts of climate change are increasingly affecting Maine’s coastal communities and natural habitats," said Jeremy Bell, TNC in Maine River and Coastal Restoration Director. "Now more than ever, we need to provide solutions that increase public safety while preserving our natural treasures."
"Maine’s forests and soils currently hold a tremendous store of carbon," said Mark Berry, TNC in Maine Forest Program Director. "Keeping forests on the landscape and allowing them to store more carbon is essential for Maine to be a leader in tackling climate change. It will also benefit our economy and our way of life."
The Maine Climate Council holds its first meeting on Thursday, September 26.
The Nature Conservancy is a global conservation organization dedicated to conserving the lands and waters on which all life depends. Guided by science, we create innovative, on-the-ground solutions to our world’s toughest challenges so that nature and people can thrive together. We are tackling climate change, conserving lands, waters and oceans at an unprecedented scale, providing food and water sustainably and helping make cities more sustainable. Working in 76 countries and territories—37 by direct conservation impact and 39 through partners—we use a collaborative approach that engages local communities, governments, the private sector, and other partners. To learn more, visit www.nature.org or follow @nature_press on Twitter.