Mitigation Actions

  • Overview
  • What is being done in Maine to reduce greenhouse gas emissions?
  • Quick History
  • Groups, Activities, and Updates
  • References and Further Resources

Mitigation actions reduce the rate of climate change through strategies that reduce greenhouse gas sources and emissions, and enhance greenhouse gas storages. These interventions are taken, in part, to reduce the severity of impacts from the changing climate.

Activities to integrate these strategies generally focus on these topic areas:

  • Tracking Energy Usage
  • Setting Reduction Targets
  • Education and Public Outreach
  • Carbon Management and Sequestration
  • Materials Management
  • Agriculture and Forestry and Land Other Land Uses
  • Energy Generation, Supply, Transmission, and Distribution
  • Transportation and Land Use
  • Buildings, Facilities, and Manufacturing/Industrial Sector

Greenhouse Gas Emissions

The total amount of greenhouse gases emitted into the atmosphere by human activities is tracked and reported on in Maine, in the U.S., and internationally.  Key emissions reporting entities for each respective geographic region are: the Maine Department of Environmental Protection (State of Maine), the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (National), and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (International).


Fifth Assessment Report: Working Group III Report, Mitigation of Climate Change - Technical Summary

United States:

Inventory of U.S. Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Sinks, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency


The Department provides this biennial report to the Legislature, evaluating the State's progress toward meeting our reduction goals (38 M.R.S.A. § 578).

Seventh Biennial Report on Progress toward Greenhouse Gas Reduction Goals 2018, Maine Department of Environmental Protection

Maine GHG emissions 1990-2013

For more info on emissions inventorying and monitoring in Maine, reference DEPs Emissions Inventory Program.

What is being done in Maine to reduce greenhouse gas emissions?

Maine has established goals to reduce GHG emissions statewide (Maine law (38 MRS §576).  Currently the state is on track to meet this voluntary commitment.

CAP cover

Maine’s Climate Action Plan 2004, Maine Department of Environmental Protection

The Maine Climate Action Plan contains 55 recommended options to reduce GHG emissions in Maine and reach the emission reduction targets.

Key Finding:

Most of the recommended actions are expected to produce significant co-benefits in addition to saving carbon. Of particular significance are those that will have a positive impact on human health, will save consumers money through energy conservation and efficiency, will reduce our dependence on foreign oil and gas, will create jobs, and/or can be expected to promote economic growth and development. Many of these occur in the realm of air quality affecting human health, since lessening the emission of carbon dioxide from combustion of fossil fuels for electricity or transportation will also lead to reductions in other air pollutants. These include smog-producing sulfur and nitrogen oxide, and those fine particulates implicated in asthma and other respiratory diseases.  Other co-benefits are expected to arise from the development of new technologies, particularly in the forestry sector, which in turn will produce additional economic benefits. (pp. vi-4)

Quick History of Climate Action Work in Maine

2000 Maine Climate Action Plan, Maine State Planning Office ME SPO
2001 NEG/ECP Climate Action Plan NEG/ECP
2003 LD 845 “An Act to Provide Leadership in Addressing the Threat of Climate Change”
CHAPTER 237: Sec. 1. 38 MRSA c. 3-A
121st Legislature
2004 Maine Climate Action Plan DEP
2005 Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative Memorandum of Understanding RGGI
2006 First Biennial Report on Progress Toward Greenhouse Gas Reduction Goals DEP
2007 Maine adopts legislation and rules to implement Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative RGGI
2008 Second Biennial Report on Progress Toward Greenhouse Gas Reduction Goals DEP
2010 Third Biennial Report on Progress Toward Greenhouse Gas Reduction Goals DEP
2012 Fourth Biennial Report on Progress toward Greenhouse Gas Reduction Goals DEP
2014 Fifth Biennial Report on Progress Toward Greenhouse Gas Reduction Goals DEP
2016 Sixth Biennial Report on Progress toward Greenhouse Gas Reduction Goals DEP
2017 NEG/ECP Regional Climate Change Action Plan NEG/ECP
2018 Seventh Biennial Report on Progress toward Greenhouse Gas Reduction Goals DEP

Groups, Activities, and Updates

Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI)

Maine is a member of a cooperative effort by nine Northeast and Mid-Atlantic states to limit greenhouse gas emissions. RGGI is the first mandatory, market-based CO2 emissions reduction program in the United States.  Participating states set a cap on CO2 emissions from the power sector and require emission reductions over a given period of time.

Maine Comprehensive Energy Plan

The Governor’s Energy Office (GEO) is required to develop biennial updates of the Comprehensive State Energy Plan, which includes the interaction between energy planning and GHG reduction goals.  The plan provides strategies for: addressing the state’s most significant energy challenges; lowering energy costs; encouraging cost-effective renewable energy production; and, reducing the state’s oil dependence.  The plan also includes updates on wind energy development. 

Renewable Portfolio Standards

The Renewable Portfolio Standards require that electricity suppliers obtain a percentage of their electricity supply from renewable and efficient sources.

Efficiency Maine Trust Annual Report & Trust Triennial Plan

EMT administers energy efficiency and limited renewable energy programs using a combination of electric & natural gas ratepayer funds, RGGI, and Forward Capacity Market (FCM) revenues.  Specific GHG reductions are measured in many of these programs and reductions are reported by Efficiency Maine in its annual report. The Efficiency Maine Trust also prepares a strategic plan to provide integrated planning, program design and implementation strategies for all energy efficiency, alternative energy resources and conservation programs administered by the Trust.

New England Governors and Eastern Canadian Premiers

Regional Climate Initiative

Resolution 39-1, adopted by New England Governors and Eastern Canadian Premiers (NEG/ECP) in August 2015, established a 2030 GHG emission reduction marker range of 35–45 percent below 1990 levels for jurisdictions in the NEG/ECP region.  This plan is a follow-up to the regional 2001 Regional Climate Change Action Plan.

Transportation and Air Quality

Northeast Waste Management Officials' Association (NEWMOA) NEWMOA is a non-profit association of state environment agency programs that address pollution prevention, toxics use reduction, sustainability, materials management, hazardous waste, solid waste, emergency response, waste site cleanup, underground storage tanks, and related environmental challenges in the northeast states. The association provides a strategic forum for effectively solving environmental problems through collaborative regional initiatives.

Northeast State for Coordinated Air Use Management (NESCAUM) NESCAUM is a nonprofit association of air quality agencies in the Northeast.  The association provides scientific, technical, analytical, and policy support to their air quality programs to assist them with implementing national environmental programs required under the Clean Air Act and other federal legislation.

References and Further Resources

US Energy Information Administration

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency