Climate Report Recommends Maryland Take Action

The Maryland Commission on Climate Change, chaired by Maryland Department of the Environment Secretary Shari T. Wilson, recently released its Climate Action Plan. The report details what effects global warming will have on the state, recommends actions to protect Maryland's property and people from rising sea levels and changing weather patterns, and outlines 42 actions to help the state greatly reduce its global warming pollution.

The report concludes that Maryland would see significant economic and environmental benefits from taking early, immediate actions to reduce global warming pollution and that the goals proposed by the commission are achievable and would help spur innovation in the state.

Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley said: "The Climate Change Commission and its work groups include some of the brightest minds in Maryland. Over the past 10 months, this dedicated commission of scientists, business leaders, environmental groups, public health advocates, and legislators have worked to put together an incredible road map for our future. By Executive Order, I asked this commission to study, prepare for, and offer solutions to address the serious challenge of climate change, and this report shows the Commission has clearly delivered on their pledge."

Preliminary analysis in the report indicates that by 2020 implementation of these 42 strategies could result in a net economic benefit to the state of approximately $2 billion dollars. A study by the Baltimore-based International Center for Sustainable Development shows that Maryland could create between 144,000 and 326,000 green collar and research and development jobs by developing clean energy industries, contributing $5.7 billion in wages and salaries boosting local tax revenues by $973 million and increasing gross state production by $16 billion.

The Commission is supported by the Scientific and Technical Working Group, chaired by Donald Boesch, president, University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science; the Greenhouse Gas and Carbon Mitigation Working Group, chaired by George (Tad) Aburn, director of MDE's Air and Radiation Management Administration, and co-chaired by Malcolm Woolf, director, Maryland Energy Administration; and the Adaptation and Response Working Group, chaired by John R. Griffin, secretary of Maryland's Department of Natural Resources and co-chaired by Richard Eberhart Hall, secretary, Maryland Department of Planning. These Working Groups and the technical work groups that support them represented diverse stakeholder interests and brought broad perspective and expertise to the commission's work.

The 42 options to reduce greenhouse gases range from energy efficiency and conservation, investments in clean energy technologies, waste management and advanced recycling, improved building and trade codes, "buy local" programs, and the use of farm by-products such as switch grass for energy production. Several transportation-related options, including smart growth, better land use, and increased mass transit would combine to reduce Maryland's vehicle miles traveled. If fully implemented, the plan would have Maryland reduce 2006 greenhouse gas emissions by approximately 25 to 50 percent by 2020.

"Maryland must take action now to prepare for the consequences of climate change. We do not have time to wait as we are already experiencing damaging impacts of sea level rise and intensified storms along Maryland's coast," said Department of Natural Resources Secretary John R. Griffin. "Harnessing nature's ability to adapt and heal itself, we will plant more trees to help capture excessive carbon pollution, restore more wetlands and living shorelines to help shield us from flooding and coastal storms, and plan ahead to reduce the vulnerability of Maryland's people, homes, investments, and wildlife."

To read the report, visit http://www.mde.state.md.us/Air/climatechange/index.asp.

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