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Executive Order issued to expand Commission on Climate Change

ANNAPOLIS, MD (November 19, 2014) – Building on the Administration’s efforts to address the effects of climate change, Governor O’Malley today issued an executive order that expands the membership (list attached), mission and work of the Maryland Commission on Climate Change.

The Executive Order states that more must be done to achieve the State’s goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in Maryland and prepare State and local governments as well as residents for the likely health, environmental and socioeconomic effects of climate change. The requirements of the Executive Order include an expansion of the Commission membership and the development of a plan to achieve an 80 percent, science-based reduction in Maryland’s Greenhouse Gas Emissions by 2050.

“Climate change is real, and Maryland is vulnerable. But we can make a difference through our actions and doing what works,” said Governor O’Malley. “It is critical that we move forward and continue to lead by example in addressing an issue threatening the Chesapeake Bay and our way of life. This expansion of the Commission on Climate Change’s membership and mission will help to further energize this effort.”

“It’s an honor to be given the opportunity to work with Maryland’s leaders on securing the state’s growth and vitality in the face of challenges from climate change,” said Sue Briggum, Vice President, Waste Management, Inc. “The Executive Order sets the framework for business, environmental and community groups and government to work together to envision a concrete plan and means to measure progress toward a safer and cleaner environment. Business can provide pragmatic perspectives on how the Governor’s vision can be realized throughout state programs.”

“This new Executive Order will expand the scope and enhance the effectiveness of the steps already undertaken by the Administration to reduce our state’s greenhouse gas emissions and increase our ability to deal with the negative impacts of climate change,” said Stuart Clarke, Executive Director, Town Creek Foundation. “The result will be a Maryland that is cleaner, healthier, and more resilient in the face of the climate challenges and disruptions of the future.”

The Executive Order makes reference to the March 2014 United States Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which reported that the effects of climate change are occurring on all continents and across the oceans, and that numerous opportunities exist to respond to and mitigate associated risks. It also notes that effects already experienced by Maryland include sea level rise of more than one foot in the last century, increasing water temperatures in the Chesapeake Bay and more rain and flooding in the winter and spring and less in the summer.

Maryland’s people and their property, natural environment and public investments are extremely vulnerable to climate change impacts that include sea level rise, increased storm intensity, extreme droughts and heat waves and increased wind and rainfall. A new survey from George Mason University in partnership with the Climate Communication Consortium of Maryland shows that eight out of 10 Marylanders feel that addressing climate change should be a priority for Maryland’s Governor and General Assembly.

Under the leadership of the Administration Maryland has taken actions that demonstrate the State’s strong commitment to addressing the causes and consequences of climate change. In 2007, Former Governor O’Malley established Maryland’s first Commission on Climate Change to develop an action plan to address the drivers of climate change, to prepare for its likely impacts in the State and to establish goals and timetables for implementation. Maryland Commission on Climate Change. The Commission, made up of 16 State agency heads and six members of the General Assembly, was charged with the development of a Plan of Action to address the drivers of climate change, to prepare for its likely impacts in Maryland and to establish goals and timetables for implementation. The Commission released the Maryland Climate Action Plan in 2008.

Other key steps taken by Maryland to address climate change include:

To view the full executive order, click here: http://climatechange.maryland.gov/publications/executive-order-01.01.2014.14-strengthening-climate-action-in-maryland/.