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At UN, Mills says Maine will go carbon neutral by 2045

Gov. Mills' executive order referenced Maine's recent mandate to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 45% below 1990 levels by 2030 and 80% by 2050.

NEW YORK — Maine Gov. Janet Mills told the United Nations General Assembly on Monday that her state will combat climate change by going carbon neutral by 2045.

Mills, a Democrat, was invited to talk about Maine's efforts to combat climate change at the UN Climate Action Summit 2019 in New York City. It was the first time a Maine governor addressed the UN.

Mills, who was elected in 2018 after running with a pledge to tackle climate issues, also released an executive order Monday about the state's carbon neutrality goal.

"And if our small state can do it, you can. Because we've got to unite to preserve our precious common ground, for our common planet, in uncommon ways for this imperative common purpose," Mills told the assembly.

RELATED: Mills set to become 1st sitting Maine governor to address UN

The climate action summit aims to bring together governments and the private sector to focus on renewable energy, sustainable agriculture and adaptation to warming temperatures. Mills was speaking alongside world government leaders, including Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Kenya's President Uhuru Kenyatta, who spoke about the toll of drought. She was the only elected U.S. official to speak at the event.

In Maine, rising temperatures are a major concern for the state because of its dependency on industries like fisheries and forestry. The Gulf of Maine, which is the center of the U.S. lobster fishery, is warming faster than most of the world's oceans, and that is bringing change to marine life that has been disruptive for fishermen.

Mills' executive order to bring the state to carbon neutrality referenced Maine's recent mandate to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 45% below 1990 levels by 2030 and 80% by 2050. The state also established the Maine Climate Council to work on emission reductions and clean energy transition.

The executive order states that the climate council will provide recommendations to meet the carbon neutrality goal no later than Dec. 1, 2020.

The climate summit took place on a day when it was 88 degrees in Portland, which is Maine's largest city. That temperature broke a record high mark for the day that had stood for 78 years.

Mills- and climate change-related stories on NEWSCENTERmaine.com:

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