Last week I participated in marathon Zoom meetings representing forestry issues on the Maine Climate Change Council, appointed by Gov. Janet Mills last September (see membership below). To many of you, this may seem a low priority issue as you adjust to major market swings and payroll challenges, but from a strategic market perspective you are all major players in this global discussion. There is growing public awareness that trees play a significant role in sequestering carbon.
The Climate Council is responsible for integrating and prioritizing which strategies to move forward in the State Climate Action Plan that will be delivered to the governor and Legislature by December 1, 2020. So the action plan will survive beyond the pre Covid-19 vaccine period we are currently experiencing, and it will shape the legislative discussion and market opportunities for Maine for years to come.
On June 17 and 18, Climate Council members were presented with the recommendations submitted from the following working groups:
- Buildings, Infrastructure and Housing
- Community Resilience, Public Health and Emergency Management
- Coastal & Marine
- Natural & Working Lands
In preliminary calculations of Maine’s carbon cycle, the University of Maine Center for Research on Sustainable Forests (CRFS) estimates that of the 5.1 million metric tons of carbon (MMTC) emitted annually in Maine, 2.8 MMTC (approximately 55 percent) is offset by carbon uptake from forest growth. An additional 15 percent of carbon is embedded in forest products.
Maine’s numbers look good because we have one of the highest ratios of forestland acres to population levels in the nation. Tom Doak, executive director of the Maine Woodland Owners; Dana Doran, executive director of the Professional Logging Contractors of Maine, and I have been working to represent the opportunities our industry can bring to the table, while managing expectations.
The Maine Climate Council is responsible for integrating and prioritizing which strategies to move forward in the State Climate Action Plan that will be delivered to the governor and Legislature by December 1, 2020. Over the next few months, I’ll be sharing my analysis of these recommendations with the industry and seeking feedback. I’m pleased that many of the recommendations reflect opportunities derived from a healthy forest economy. There are some regulatory approaches that concern me, and I’ll point those out in my report.
The action plan will survive beyond the pre Covid-19 vaccine period that we are currently experiencing, and it will shape the legislative discussion and market opportunities for Maine for years to come.
Maine Economic Recovery Committee
I’m trying to keep a pulse on the health of our businesses and share this insight with the administration and legislators. Steve Schley, who chairs the FOR/Maine Executive Committee, continues to serve on the Governor’s Economic Recovery Committee charged with identifying short-term and long-term actions to ensure a coordinated recovery effort. I would encourage you to reach out to Steve and listen in on the public meetings. The 39-member committee includes representatives of small businesses, non-profits, financial institutions, unions, municipalities, tribal and immigrant communities, hospitality and tourism industries, and educational institutions as well as a bipartisan delegation of legislative designees. Committee meetings will be held each Friday from 8-9 a.m. from now until July 10th. See upcoming meetings.
In the face of all the challenges facing us, there’s also a hearty crew keeping the tradition of the MFPC’s 14th annual golf tournament going at the Bangor Municipal on July 9th. Because of Covid 19, the tournament will have different rules this year. There will not be a registration at noon, instead players will be asked to go directly to the carts with their names on them. Each team will be asked to send a text message to Sue McCarthy’s cell phone, 207-841-1651, indicating that your team has arrived and they are ready to go. There will be two carts per team and players will have to alternate walking to the next hole because two people are not allowed on one cart. We will let you know if that changes. Also at this point we can’t have a gathering at the end so a box dinner will be delivered to all players. 2020 MFPC Golf Registration Form. Although we’re prevented from gathering in an official award reception, we’ll make sure the contestants are recognized in a special way! Many thanks to the sponsors of the event.
Please don’t hesitate to call me with your questions and concerns as we all navigate these challenging times. Be safe.