Md. Environment Sec. Grumbles Attends Key Global Climate Conference in Spain


Mark Shaffer

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Md. Environment Sec. Grumbles Attends Key Global Climate Conference in Spain

Delegation of U.S. states delivers on bipartisanship and ocean stewardship


BALTIMORE, MD (December 13, 2019) – Maryland Department of the Environment Secretary Ben Grumbles attended and participated throughout the annual global summit on climate change, known as COP25 (Council of the Parties for the 25th year) in Madrid, Spain, which began December 7 and ended today.

“Thousands of people from around the world heard loud and clear that Maryland is committed to the Paris Climate Accord, with the Hogan Administration leading the charge for bipartisan environmental action locally and globally,” Grumbles said. “On behalf of the Hogan administration, I was honored to describe our state’s progress and ambition and help build partnerships in our state, the U. S., and around the world for clean and renewable, resilient and holistic solutions.” 

Many of Grumbles’ presentations, meetings, and interviews focused on Maryland’s economywide Greenhouse Gas Reduction Plan, Governor Hogan’s Clean and Renewable Energy Standard (CARES) —  which requires 100% clean electricity in the state by 2040 — the state’s commitment to clean cars and clean transportation, and the state’s leadership on adaptation and resiliency. 

Grumbles was joined by colleagues from six other states, who are members of the 25-state US Climate Alliance. He described to other countries the progress Maryland is making through regional collaborations such as the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), which just completed its 46th auction of allowances, resulting in $14.7 million in proceeds to Maryland’s Strategic Energy Investment Fund. 

One of the key deliverables from COP25 was a greater commitment to ocean and coastal health, allowing this year’s meeting to be properly named the Blue COP. Grumbles participated in the summit’s Ocean Climate Action panel with representatives from Washington, California, Hawaii and the Ocean Conservancy as well as the prime minister of Fiji and the environmental secretaries of Costa Rica and Panama.

“On behalf of US participating states, and with great support from Maryland Natural Resources Secretary Jeannie Haddaway-Riccio,  Maryland helped to issue a multistate letter on ocean climate action and partnership with the Alliance to Combat Ocean Acidification,” Secretary Grumbles said. “Maryland helped lead the effort with the Ocean Conservancy and the Natural Resources Defense Council to get states from coast to coast to sign on to a timely statement on the importance of mitigating climate change and greenhouse gas emissions on the oceans and bays.”

Grumbles participated in more than a dozen panel discussions, roundtables, bilateral meetings with other countries, and press conferences. He also met with students and professors from the University of Maryland and Johns Hopkins University, key organizations of businesses and environmental organizations, and key staff from Senator Ben Cardin’s office. Grumbles said he expects all of the information gleaned to be helpful in the upcoming environmental discussions because it underscored the need for clean, renewable, homegrown energy and a strong commitment to public-private partnerships and continuing innovations with science, technology, and regulation. 

“Maryland is a leader in fighting climate change and strengthening climate resiliency. This was a great opportunity to learn from others and build lasting partnerships for communities and ecosystems,” Grumbles said. “The COP25 conference was also a chance to tell the world that Maryland means business when it comes to bipartisan environmental, energy, and climate change solutions.” 

Grumbles is chairman of the independent, bipartisan Maryland Commission on Climate Change and also is chair of RGGI. 

In 2015, Governor Hogan signed legislation to strengthen and expand the Maryland Commission on Climate Change. The governor signed into law the Greenhouse Gas Emissions Reduction Act of 2016, which requires reductions of greenhouse gases in Maryland by 40% by 2030 – one of the most aggressive requirements in the country – while continuing to have a net positive effect on both the economy and job creation in Maryland. Governor Hogan also proposed and passed the Clean Cars Act of 2017 to boost the state’s efforts to encourage the use of electric vehicles.

Maryland is a member of the multistate RGGI, which agreed to reduce the program’s carbon pollution cap by 30% from 2020 to 2030, finding consensus for a stronger and sustainable program that will also grow Maryland’s economy through innovation and collaboration. Maryland is also encouraging other states to join the bipartisan initiative and for regions around the world to learn about RGGI’s impressive track record and new tools for clean energy progress.