MCCC recommends state reduce GHG emissions 40% by 2030 with strengthened links to healthy economy

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Mark Shaffer

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MCCC recommends state reduce GHG emissions 40% by 2030 with strengthened links to healthy economy

Baltimore, MD (December 16, 2015) – A new report from the Maryland Commission on Climate Change that was adopted unanimously Wednesday calls on the State to develop and implement a plan  to reduce  greenhouse gas emissions by 40 percent by 2030 while strengthening efforts to improve the State’s economy and creating new jobs.

A recent status report by the Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE) found that the plan required by the 2009 Greenhouse Gas Emission Reduction Act, which is designed to achieve a 25 percent reduction by 2020, is estimated to create a net economic benefit between $2.5 billion and $3.5 billion and help create and maintain between 26,000 and 33,000 new jobs.

The Commission also endorsed the recommendation in the MDE status report that the State continue its efforts to achieve the 25 by 20 goal established in the Greenhouse Gas Emissions Reduction Act while also enhancing efforts to support economic development and job creation. The MDE report shows that the State is on track to meet the 25 percent reduction goal by 2020.

“The Maryland Climate Change Commission is broad and diverse but all agree the State should be proactive and balanced in responding to the challenges and opportunities ahead,” said Commission Chair and Maryland Department of the Environment Secretary Ben Grumbles. “The report reflects the members’ wide range of perspectives, tracks recent and ongoing efforts and identifies a balanced and achievable path forward based on sound science, environmental progress and a strong economy in Maryland.”

The Commission report summarizes research that led to the recommendations and highlights Maryland’s vulnerability to sea level rise, one of the consequences of a warming climate.

“This report is testament to our commitment to address our ever-changing climate, an important ecological and economic issue for the state, its resources and its citizens,” Maryland Department of Natural Resources Secretary Mark Belton said. “By strengthening our ability to adapt and prepare, we can better protect our infrastructure, plan for anticipated sea level rise and increase our communities’ resilience to change.”

The report also endorses the Department of the Environment’s recent recommendation that efforts to achieve deeper reductions must strengthen efforts to insure that the State’s plan to address climate change will also have a net positive impact on the economy and help Maryland create and maintain jobs.

“The science presented to the Commission is clear: climate change is happening and is already impacting Marylanders statewide whether from rising sea level or more extreme storms,” said Maryland Sen. Paul Pinsky, a lead sponsor of the 2009 law. “Our task is to ensure the State continues to make significant progress in reducing greenhouse gas emissions as climate change is an issue that will affect every citizen in the State.”

The Commission report also recommends broadening Maryland’s 2030 climate action goals and plans to ensure that State climate action strategies: effectively address possible economic dislocations; produce economic benefits that are sustainable and equitably distributed across Maryland’s population; produce public health benefits; reduce energy burdens in low-income households; and make vulnerable communities more resilient in the face of extreme weather and other challenges brought on by climate change.

“We know that we are moving ever more rapidly into a carbon-constrained future,” said Commission Steering Committee Co-Chair Stuart Clarke, executive director of the Town Creek Foundation. “With this report we are committing to doing our part to help put Maryland on a path toward a future prosperity that is both sustainable and equitable. In the coming year we will be working to ensure that all of Maryland’s citizens and communities are included on this journey.”

“Maryland’s current climate action strategies are expected to benefit the State’s economy by billions of dollars and create tens of thousands of new jobs,” said Commission Steering Committee Co-Chair John Quinn, director of state affairs for the Baltimore Gas & Electric Company. “As the Maryland Commission on Climate Change studies and recommends strategies to achieve additional reductions, it will build on these benefits. Future efforts will remain focused on greenhouse gas reduction strategies that will have a positive impact on the State’s economy so that any efforts implemented are sustainable, benefitting both the environment and the economy.”

The Maryland Commission on Climate Change is charged with advising the Governor and General Assembly on ways to mitigate the causes of, prepare for and adapt to the consequences of climate change and maintaining and strengthening the State’s existing Greenhouse Gas Reduction Plan. Commission priorities include building broader partnerships with federal, State and local governments and the private sector to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and prepare for the likely impacts of climate change in Maryland, better communicating with and educating Marylanders about the urgency of the challenge and options to address it and establishing action plan goals and timetables for implementation.

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