conjunction with Maine's Clean Car Program, which was established in 1999. The program encourages residents to commit to reducing vehicle emissions, the greatest source of pollution in the state. Vehicles that meet established standards are allowed to display a "Cleaner Cars for Maine" sticker. To cut down on toxic emissions, consumers are advised to make sure that all car purchases are green, and drivers are encouraged to reduce driving time, avoid idling engines, accelerate gradually, avoid speeding, fill gas tanks during cooler periods of the day, refrain from spilling gas and topping off tanks, and reduce use of air conditioning. Since maintenance habits may also affect the environment, Maine drivers are requested to use energy-conserving motor oils, get regular check-ups, replace filters and oil frequently, keep tires properly inflated and aligned, and repair all leaks.
Maine's State Planning Office began working on the issue of climate change in the mid-1990s. When the working grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency was exhausted, some members reformed as Maine Global Climate Change, Inc., for the purpose of educating the public about human behaviors that affect global warming and climate change. The group was successful in convincing the legislature to appoint a state climatologist. In 2004, Maine established a Climate Action Plan, targeting the transportation, industrial, commercial, institutional, and residential sectors as a means of controlling the emission of greenhouse gases by protecting the state's resources. The Department of Environment Protection announced 54 specific actions that had been proposed by working groups from all sectors, including forestry, land use, and transportation. Reporting and assessments were considered essential to keeping policies and responses up-to-date.
In 2007, Maine launched the Whole House pilot plan designed to provide homeowners with a oneway stop to transform their homes into energy-saving dwellings capable of reducing energy costs, fuel consumption, and greenhouse gas emissions. Using a plan developed by Energy Star, the Whole House project initially targeted 1,500 homes in southern and central Maine. Proponents of the plan promise the residents of Maine that, by working with a certified Home Performance contractor, they will be able to reduce energy costs, improve family health and safety, increase comfort, lower carbon footprints, and increase equity.
Maine's Smart Tracks for Exceptional Performers and Upward Performers (STEP-UP) program offers recognition and incentives to businesses that become involved in sustainable practices designed to mitigate the results of global warming and climate change. Actions taken are dependent on the type of businesses involved in the endeavor. For instance, Pratt & Whitney, which manufactures aerospace engine parts in North Berwick, pledged to reduce total energy consumption by 10 percent, total air emissions by 20 percent, water discharge by 30 percent, and the total amount of transported solid waste by 30 percent by 2008.
sEE ALsO: Automobiles; Greenhouse Gases; Energy; Transportation.
BIBLIOGRAPHY. Maine Department of Environmental Protection, www.maine.gov (cited November 2007); New England Climate, "2006 Report Card on Climate Change Action," www.newenglandclimate.org (cited November 2007); Pew Center for Climate Change, www.pewclimate. org (cited November 2007).
Elizabeth R. Purdy Independent Scholar
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