President Joe Biden’s American Jobs Plan seeks to establish the United States as a leader in climate science and innovation, including through offshore wind projects in Maine. (chrisrt/Adobe Stock)

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 By Lily Bohlke 

April 20, 2021

AUGUSTA, Maine — President Joe Biden convenes a virtual climate summit with world leaders on Thursday, Earth Day.

He is also expected to unveil a new emissions-reduction target for the Paris Agreement, as well as pledge money to help countries with fewer resources than the U.S. combat climate change.

John Baldacci, Maine’s former governor, 2nd district Congressman and Bangor city council member, said Biden’s climate agenda would make a big difference in the state.

He pointed out Maine is poorer than the national average, has lost many manufacturing jobs to overseas and is in great need of high-paying union jobs.

“Asthma is a big issue in terms of the ozone that comes into our state from the Midwest power plants,” Baldacci remarked. “So we try to recognize that health care and clean energy are tied together, from the air we breathe and the water we drink.”

Maine lawmakers have introduced a bill to implement the state’s four-year plan for climate action, called “Maine Won’t Wait.”

It would reduce greenhouse-gas emissions 45% by 2030 and 80% by 2050, and commit to preparing communities for rising sea levels, increased flooding, droughts and wildfires.

Baldacci commented after four years of the Trump administration, which sought to roll back environmental protections and regulations rather than curb climate change, it is a relief to have a partner at the national level.

He added renewables represent opportunity in Maine, from solar to offshore wind.

“I always felt that we were importing too much of our fossil fuels and not creating enough renewable energy and doing it with our own people,” Baldacci explained. “Having them build the windmill blades and the component parts and to be kind of a center of excellence.”

Biden recently unveiled the American Jobs Plan, which would create millions of well-paying jobs, as well as rebuild the country’s crumbling roads and bridges and ensure access to clean drinking water. The White House gave Maine a C-minus grade on its infrastructure report card.Citation: Leaders Summit on ClimateCitation: Paris AgreementCitation: Legislative Document 87Citation: Maine Won’t WaitCitation: American Jobs PlanCitation: Maine fact sheet