FCCI Releases Maine Carbon Budget Fact Sheet
A group of University of Maine faculty (many affiliated with CRSF’s Forest Climate Change Initiative) and graduate students, joined by a geology professor from Bates and a Maine Forest Service staff member, have recently compiled, synthesized, and analyzed an estimate of Maine’s carbon budget between 2006-2016 by major emissions source and land use category. This analysis is one of the first estimates of this kind for the state and helps frame the discussion around Maine’s carbon cycle, including current efforts being undertaken by Governor Mills and Maine’s Climate Council, which are seeking to achieve complete state carbon neutrality by 2045.
Key findings from the assessment include the importance of Maine’s forests and their associated wood products, that may currently offset approximately 75% of the state’s annual fossil fuel carbon emissions, and that the highest carbon stock densities were estimated to be in the state’s wetlands and salt marshes. The researchers emphasize that there are many uncertainties that exist for this type of detailed carbon accounting, and there are many aspects of the carbon cycle that are not monitored directly in Maine as in most states.
The analysis required compiling carbon estimates from various existing state and Federal reports and databases, and was carried out without funding. Several recommendations for future improvements were provided and would likely require a more significant analysis and external funding, with long-term improvements requiring investment in better statewide carbon monitoring systems.
The fact sheet and associated data are available here.