Maryland’s Strategy for Combating Climate Change Revealed
Maryland has proposed an ambitious plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 60% by 2031 compared to 2006 levels, and to achieve net zero emissions by 2045. The Climate Pollution Reduction Plan includes promoting cleaner electricity production, increasing the number of electric vehicles, improving building efficiency, and requiring all electricity used in Maryland to be renewable by 2035. However, the plan is estimated to cost approximately $1 billion per year, and environmental groups have urged state leaders to produce a solid plan to cover these costs.
Maryland’s Plan to Cut Greenhouse Gases
Maryland has unveiled an ambitious strategy to curb greenhouse gas emissions, featuring proposals aimed at encouraging cleaner electricity production, increasing electric vehicle usage, and enhancing building energy efficiency.
The Climate Pollution Reduction Plan provides Gov. Wes Moore and leaders with a pathway towards the state’s climate change objectives.
Maryland aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 60% by 2031, relative to 2006 levels. Currently, the state is about halfway to this goal and has several programs underway to support this target, from promoting renewable energy to improving building efficiency.
The state also aims to achieve net-zero emissions by 2045. To bridge the remaining gap towards the 60% reduction goal, the report suggests additional programs and policy measures.
Key Measures of Maryland’s Climate Plan
The report proposes expanded actions such as:
- Covering the full cost of electric heat pump and water heater installation for low- to moderate-income households
- Mandating newly installed heating systems to be zero emission
- Offering rebates on electric car purchases and building more charging stations
- Increasing tree planting and improving forest and wetland management
- Requiring 100% of electricity used in Maryland to come from renewable sources by 2035
- Reducing driving mileage on Maryland roads by 20%
These policies would not only cut emissions but also provide health and economic benefits to Maryland residents including cleaner air, lower energy costs, and job opportunities in green industries.
While these climate-friendly policies come with an annual cost of about $1 billion, the state plans to partly fund the climate plan through federal money from the Inflation Reduction Act and the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.
The report suggests considering funding options such as bonds, emission-related fees and tolls, and an in-state cap-and-trade system for carbon emitters. Maryland already participates in a multistate regional carbon cap-and-trade program.
Reaction to Maryland’s Climate Plan
Advocacy groups generally applauded the report, but called for a more concrete funding plan. The Maryland Public Interest Research Foundation, or PIRG, urged the governor and lawmakers to “move quickly to implement this thorough plan”. The Maryland League of Conservation Voters called the report “timely and comprehensive,” but noted that the state fell short in planning how to cover the recommended policies’ cost.
While the state works on a financial plan, the League of Conservation Voters suggests the state should proceed with no-cost policies such as reclassifying trash burning and reducing driving mileage.
The Chesapeake Climate Action Network also observed that the state has yet to fully account for the plans’ costs. Jamie DeMarco, the network’s Maryland director, said, “It is Governor Moore’s responsibility to lead on the question of revenue raising and not punt the hard choices to the legislature.”
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