Climate Change Commission Releases Action Plan

Fully implemented plan would enable Maryland to reduce global warming pollution 25 to 50 percent by 2020, with net economic benefit of approximately $2 billion, says report

BALTIMORE (Aug. 27, 2008) – Today the Maryland Commission on Climate Change, chaired by Maryland Department of the Environment Secretary Shari T. Wilson, 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 forty-two 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.

“The findings of this report demonstrate that Maryland can and should take action now to reduce our global warming pollution,” said Maryland Department of the Environment Secretary Shari T. Wilson. “We can chart a future that includes economic growth and lower greenhouse gas emissions. Our study shows that not only are our goals are achievable, they will also help Maryland create jobs and reduce energy costs to consumers.”

Preliminary analysis in the Climate Action Report indicates that, by 2020, implementation of these forty-two 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.

In April 2007, Governor O’Malley signed an Executive Order charging the Commission to address three key questions: what can the State’s best scientists tell us about how and when climate change will affect Maryland’s citizens and natural resources, what can Maryland do to adapt to the consequences of climate change, and what can Maryland do to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases to begin reversing global warming trends?

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.

MDE Air and Radiation Management Administration Director Tad Aburn said: “The recommended plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions is aggressive and shows that the kind of early action needed to effectively address global warming is possible. The plan achieves deep and early reductions in a way that will economically benefit Maryland residents and businesses while creating new ‘green’ jobs.”

Having reviewed more than 300 options to reduce greenhouse gases, the Climate Action Report recommends a suite of 42 measures that 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.

Dr. Donald Boesch, President, University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science, said: “Maryland’s climate is already changing and will almost certainly change more dramatically during the rest of the century. However, substantially reducing the global emissions of greenhouse gases could avoid the most severe impacts to Maryland. Nonetheless, the scientific assessment provides a best estimate of the higher sea levels and warmer conditions for which Maryland should be prepared.”

“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.”

On April 20, 2007, Governor Martin O’Malley signed Executive Order 01.01.2007.07 establishing the Maryland Commission on Climate Change. Sixteen State agency heads and six members of the General Assembly comprise the Commission, whose principal charge is to develop this Climate Action Plan to address the drivers of climate change, to prepare for its likely impacts in Maryland, and to establish goals and timetables for implementation.

The Order emphasized Maryland’s particular vulnerability to climate change impacts of sea level rise, increased storm intensity, extreme droughts and heat waves, and increased wind and rainfall events. It recognized that human activities such as coastal development, burning of fossil fuels, and increasing greenhouse gas emissions are contributing to the causes and consequences of climate change. While noting Maryland’s recent climate initiatives, the Order emphasized that continued leadership by example by Maryland State and local governments is imperative.

The Climate Action Report is available at:

Source: Maryland Department of the Environment

Maryland Commission on Climate Change Members

-- Shari T. Wilson, Chair, Secretary, Department of the Environment
-- Delegate Kumar P. Barve, Maryland General Assembly
-- Delegate Virginia P. Clagett, Maryland General Assembly
-- Alvin C. Collins, Secretary, Department of General Services
-- John Droneburg, Director, Maryland Emergency Management Agency
-- David Edgerley, Secretary, Department of Business and Economic Development
-- T. Eloise Foster, Secretary, Department of Budget and Management
-- Senator Brian E. Frosh, Maryland General Assembly
-- Nancy S. Grasmick, Superintendant of Schools, Department of Education
-- John R. Griffin, Secretary, Department of Natural Resources
-- Richard Eberhart Hall, Secretary, Department of Planning
-- William E. Kirwan, Chancellor, University System of Maryland
-- Steven B. Larsen, Chairman, Public Service Commission
-- Andrew Lauland, Advisor, Governor’s Office on Homeland Security
-- Senator Paul G. Pinsky, Maryland General Assembly
-- Senator E. J. Pipkin, Maryland General Assembly
-- John D. Porcari, Secretary, Department of Transportation
-- Roger L. Richardson, Secretary, Department of Agriculture
-- Delegate David D. Rudolph, Maryland General Assembly
-- Raymond A. Skinner, Secretary, Department of Housing and Community Development
-- Ralph S. Tyler, Commissioner, Maryland Insurance Administration
-- Malcolm D. Woolf, Director, Maryland Energy Administration

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