The Plan is good for Maryland
The Greenhouse Gas Emissions Reduction Act of 2009 requires the state to develop and implement a Greenhouse Gas Reduction Plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 25 percent from a 2006 baseline by 2020. The plan lays out a blueprint which, if fully implemented, can achieve the 25 percent greenhouse gas reduction required by law, while achieving positive job and other economic benefits.
Multiple Benefits of the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Plan
The plan will support a green economy, preserve valuable agricultural and forest land, aid in restoring Chesapeake Bay, diversify energy sources, and promote renewable energy. The plan’s 150-plus programs and initiatives will aid in expanding the state’s economy, including its renewable energy, transportation, green buildings, agriculture, fisheries, and forestry sectors. Therefore, while the principal aim of the plan is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and reduce the impacts of climate change, the implementation of the plan will result in widespread economic, public health, and environmental benefits.
Historically, environmental legislation (like the Federal Clean Water Act and Clean Air Act) has led to significant economic and human health benefits nationwide. The plan will support new industry and will accelerate investments in green technologies here in Maryland. The plan focuses on investments in the energy, transportation, and land use sectors of our economy. Implementing the plan will lead to increased investments in energy efficiency, green building practices, and renewable energy. Investing in Maryland’s green economy now will encourage smarter investments and support more sustainable economic growth for generations to come.
Air Quality Benefits
The plan supports Maryland’s multipollutant reduction approach. There are critical linkages between greenhouse gases and other air pollutants. Studies have shown that climate change, if unaddressed, will result in increased ozone and fine particle levels. Energy efficiency and other programs that are designed to lower greenhouse gas emissions also reduce emissions of nitrogen oxide, sulfur dioxide, mercury, other toxic metals, diesel exhaust, and black carbon. Working in concert on climate, energy, criteria pollutant, and toxics issues maximizes efficiencies and benefits and ensures that any adverse environmental and health effects are minimized. You can learn more about Maryland’s air quality by reading Maryland’s latest Clean Air Progress Report.
Chesapeake Bay restoration benefits
Nearly one-third of the nitrogen pollution in the Chesapeake Bay comes from air pollution (nitrogen oxide). The plan’s strategies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions will also reduce Maryland’s nitrogen oxide emissions, thereby advancing the State’s efforts to restore the Bay. In addition, slowing the rate of sea level rise can have a positive impact on the living resources of the Bay by reducing sediment loads and improving habitat quality.
Maryland state agencies are accountable for implementing strategies and the Bay restoration two-year milestones for reducing pollution through BayStat.
Renewable energy is unlimited, economically sustainable, and emissions-free. Wind and solar generation is expanding markedly in Maryland and is supporting thousands of jobs. Wind power is one of the most efficient, deployable, scalable, and affordable renewable energy technologies. Maryland’s wind speeds are high enough to generate significant energy. Solar energy, geothermal heating and cooling, and bioenergy (organic materials from waste products) are all potential sources of renewable energy in Maryland.
There are many grant and tax incentive programs in Maryland to increase energy efficiency and investments in renewable energy. Learn more.
The EmPOWER Maryland Low Income Energy Efficiency Program (LIEEP) helps residents of low income households install energy conservation materials in their homes at no charge.
Under the “EmPOWER Maryland” initiative, the state has worked to reduce energy consumption by 15 percent by 2015. To help achieve this goal, MEA has encouraged residents to adopt energy saving measures that are most appropriate for their home. In many cases, these measures do not require a large financial investment.