Yarmouth is holding community forums on its Climate Action Plan and collaborating with other towns in creating plans to address and prepare for climate change’s effects. Contributed / GPCOG

North Yarmouth held its first Climate Action Plan forum last month, joining neighboring towns of Cumberland, Yarmouth and Falmouth in preparing for climate change.

The year-long planning process is led by the Greater Portland Council of Government and a Climate Action Planning subcommittee.

The purpose of the plan is to develop strategies that will reduce town-wide emissions, build resilience, and prepare for a changing climate, GPCOG Director of Sustainability Sara Mills-Knapp said at the February meeting.

“The changing climate conditions … are leading to hazards that we’re seeing today and will continue to see more of in the future,” Mills-Knapp said.

Increased storms, flooding, extreme weather events, droughts and heat waves are becoming more prevalent in Maine, resulting in power outages, property damage and stress on wildlife.

According to state data, temperatures are increasing and weather patterns are changing rapidly, Mills-Knapp said.


“We’re seeing a three-degree, almost four-degree rise in average temperatures from 1900 to now,” she said. “We’re also seeing more rain and less snow.”

North Yarmouth will follow in the footsteps of neighboring towns, each of which has completed a Climate Action Plan within the last few years.

Cumberland adopted its Climate Action Plan in 2021. Since then, the town has been able to make strides in combating climate change, including building a solar farm and decreasing carbon emissions in town by 30%. Although the plans are not mandated by the state, they provide a roadmap of climate pressure points, Cumberland Climate Action subcommittee Chair Denny Gallaudet said.

“We’ve been able to accomplish a lot,” Gallaudet said. “We have quite a few things down the pipeline, particularly a larger solar farm for the school. We’re very gratified.”

Over the next few years, the subcommittee hopes to focus on reducing carbon emissions in residential areas of town, which make up 80% of the town’s carbon emissions. A strategy in reducing emissions residentially is to switch home heating and vehicles to more environmentally friendly models, Gallaudet said.

The subcommittee has been focused on adding heat pumps to homes, which offer air conditioning in the summer and heating in the winter. The goal is a 50% installation rate in homes across Cumberland, a number that Gallaudet believes will be reached ahead of 2030.


“The uptake on electric vehicles has been slower than we hoped, and I think that is primarily because the industry has been slow to get affordable vehicles on the road,” Gallaudet said.

Falmouth completed its own Climate Action Plan in 2023, and Yarmouth in 2022. Both towns have pledged to reduce carbon emissions by 2030 and reduce broader community emissions to net zero by 2050.

“Compared to neighboring towns, North Yarmouth already has low carbon emissions,” Mills-Knapp said.

In the next few months, North Yarmouth will focus on collecting greenhouse gas emissions data and completing a vulnerability assessment ahead of a future community forum, Mills-Knapp said.

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