CLIMATE CHANGE MARYLAND

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The earth's climate is changing. The time to act is now.

Under Governor Martin O’Malley’s leadership, Maryland has chosen to move forward, even as most states and the United States Congress have not. Greater action by the states will encourage the Nation to address climate change. In 2009, Governor Martin O’Malley and Maryland’s General Assembly charged the State with developing a Greenhouse Gas Reduction Plan (referred to as the Plan) that will reduce greenhouse gases 25 percent by the year 2020. In drafting and implementing the Plan, Maryland State Government has committed to making the smartest environmental and economic decisions possible, and to implementing the most effective climate change strategies.

Now is the moment in time to commit to reducing greenhouse gas emissions in Maryland and beyond. We can choose to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions now, or we can let these gases continue to increase until we are dealing with a full-fledged crisis. The longer we delay, the less effective and more expensive mitigation will become.

In addition to reducing greenhouse gas emissions, Maryland’s 2009 Greenhouse Gas Emissions Reduction Act requires the Plan to have a positive impact on job creation and economic growth in Maryland. Current analyses project that the Plan would result in estimated economic benefits of $1.6 billion and support over 37,000 jobs.

This website provides an overview of Maryland’s programs to reduce the impacts of Climate Change in Maryland. Download the full Greenhouse Gas Reduction Plan. The draft and appendices of the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Plan can be accessed here.

Summary of the Plan

Projected reduction of carbon dioxide-equivalent

Top: To reach the reduction goal of 55 million metric tons of carbon dioxide-equivalent annually, enhanced programs throughout all sectors (energy, transportation, agriculture, etc.) have been identified. Middle: The 2020 emissions goal (blue line) is 80.4 million metric tons of carbon dioxide-equivalent annual emissions, which is 55 million metric tons less annually than the projected emissions in 2020 with unmitigated growth or business-as-usual (red line). The light blue line is current estimated emissions. Bottom: The major sectors where greenhouse gas emissions can be reduced are energy and transportation; however every sector will need to do its part to reduce emissions.

To achieve a 25 percent reduction in Maryland’s greenhouse gas emissions by 2020, the State, through its implementation of the 150-plus programs and initiatives described in the Plan, must reduce Maryland’s greenhouse gas emissions by 55 million metric tons of carbon dioxide-equivalent annually. This reduction includes offsetting growth that is expected to occur between 2006 and 2020 (called the ‘business-as-usual’ forecast).

Business-as-usual forecasting is important because in the absence of regulatory programs requiring greenhouse gas emissions reductions, emissions will continue to grow through 2020. This increases the size of the reduction needed to reduce emissions by 25 percent from 2006 levels. The business-as-usual forecast accounts for this growth in emissions. In the middle figure opposite, the red line depicts the business-as-usual forecast.

Comprehensive plan

The Plan is a comprehensive, multi-sector, multi-agency plan that incorporates many innovative strategies. Th is includes programs that do not directly reduce carbon dioxide-equivalent, but rather absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. The State has held numerous public and stakeholder meetings and has been receptive to a broad range of ideas. More than a dozen state agencies and non-governmental organizations assisted in drafting the Plan.

Attainable goals

The goal of reducing emissions 25 percent is attainable by strengthening and building on current programs, such as the Maryland Renewable Energy Portfolio Standard and EmPOWER Maryland, and by incorporating cutting-edge technology and strategies. Since the initial release of the draft Plan in February 2012, over 1,000 public comments have been received and a number of strategy and program enhancements have been added. The State will continue to explore new areas and develop new programs before 2020. The Actions page summarizes the Plan’s key programs. The implementation of these programs will drive more than 80 percent of Maryland’s greenhouse gas emissions reductions.

To read the Plan's Executive Summary, you can download it here.

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