As Mainers, we understand how to weather the storm. In the winter, we dutifully pull out the shovels and snowblowers, keep the gas tank half-full, and know to always have the bread and milk on hand during a snowstorm.

A wave crashes over a car traveling along Beach Avenue in Kennebunk two hours before high tide on the morning of Dec. 23, 2022. One of the impacts of the continuing increase in sea surface temperatures is rising sea levels. The Dec. 23 storm combined higher sea levels with a significant surge and astronomically high tides. Gregory Rec/Staff Photographer, file

In the summer, during those sticky, hot and humid days, we bring out our fans and escape to the coast if we can. And we always, in all seasons, make sure our neighbors have what they need.

But tackling the climate crisis will take more than just Mainers’ resilient and hardy dispositions. The Gulf of Maine has experienced one of the fastest rates of warming of any ocean ecosystem. And data from 2022 shows the second-warmest year on record for the waters just off our coast.

It’s not just rising sea levels, more severe storms and tick-borne illnesses as a result of this warming that threaten our way of life. Mitigating the impacts of climate change also protects the character of Maine – the pristine forests, rugged coastlines, offshore waters and local farms that depend on strong, healthy and vibrant natural ecosystems. These important natural and working waters and lands are most at risk from climate change, and yet their ability to store carbon is a powerful tool against the harmful effects of the crisis.

We are doing what we always do with a storm on the horizon: We are taking action and preparing for what is to come. At the heart of our approach are the strategies in Maine Won’t Wait, an ambitious four-year climate plan launched by the Mills administration in December 2020.

These strategies have created historic momentum for reducing emissions, advancing clean energy, and protecting Maine’s infrastructure and environment from the harms of climate change. In fact, we’ve made considerable progress toward a clean-energy economy that supports cost-effective and equitable deployment of technologies like offshore wind, distributed generation and energy storage – already, we’re on track with 53% of Maine’s electricity coming from renewable sources.


But when it comes to facing a storm of this magnitude, it’s all hands on deck, and Maine can’t do it alone. The transition to clean energy will require cooperation from all stakeholders, including state and local government, the private sector, and individuals. We need to continue to invest in research and development of new technologies, promote energy efficiency and conservation, and encourage public participation and education.

The support we need is coming from the national level. The first-ever comprehensive climate bill on the books and the largest climate action investment in history –  the Inflation Reduction Act – is delivering unprecedented support for climate and resilience priorities, including some two dozen tax provisions that will save families money on their energy bills and accelerate the deployment of clean energy, clean vehicles, clean buildings and clean manufacturing – and help us hit our newly announced 2040 goal to source all of Maine’s electricity from renewables.

The federal Bipartisan Infrastructure Law is also committing $2.4 billion to Maine, including significant funds to modernize the electrical grid, expand electric vehicle charging, make infrastructure more resilient, accelerate home weatherization, expand public transportation options and support the transition to clean energy.

And we’re already seeing just what that support means. Just last month, the Biden-Harris administration announced that Maine would receive $3 million to develop innovative strategies to cut climate pollution and build clean energy economies. This new program will provide flexible planning resources for the state agencies to develop and implement scalable solutions that protect people from climate pollution and advance environmental justice.

Additionally, ​​Efficiency Maine has expanded existing weatherization programs with $25 million in increased funding from the Maine Jobs and Recovery Plan for residential weatherization and another $25 million for energy-efficiency incentives in municipal, county and school buildings.

The implementation of these two massive pieces of legislation is ongoing, and this is just the beginning. The climate crisis is the storm of the century. But with Maine Won’t Wait and much-needed support at the federal level, we’re ready to meet this moment.

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