We must step up our actions
The most recent Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and United Nations reports make it clear that the United States, including Maryland, must act much more ambitiously to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions that are driving the climate crisis. We have to achieve significant progress in the next 10 years, or we will lose the chance to prevent the most catastrophic effects of global climate change.
The administration’s draft Greenhouse Gas Reduction Plan won’t get us there…
- Under Gov. Larry Hogan’s leadership, the Maryland Department of Environment (MDE) produced a draft plan nearly 10 months late. It depends on faulty assumptions and projections, rather than concrete actions and science, to meet a 40% GHG reduction target by 2030.
- The latest science is clear that this 40% target is now outdated.
- The draft plan includes reliance on coal and fracked gas as part of a “clean and renewable” plan for the electricity sector, and undeveloped and unproven technologies.
Instead of providing a clear roadmap for Maryland’s climate action, the Administration’s plan obscures our goals. We need a strong climate action plan. And, while it is being developed, legislators need to take concrete steps.
Priorities for 2020 General Assembly Session:
Greenhouse Gas Reduction Act (GGRA) Reform
- Brings our greenhouse gas reduction targets in line with leading global science by increasing the 2030 reduction target from 40% to 60% relative to 2011 and establishing a 2045 target for net zero emissions.
- Requires that 40% of state resources dedicated to emissions reduction be spent in frontline and disadvantaged communities, and establishes labor protections.
- Requires that the plan follow established science in specific areas (for instance, what qualifies for emissions reductions in areas like transportation).
Retrofits of Existing Buildings
- Addresses the 25% of Md. greenhouse gas pollution produced by emissions from heating and cooling of buildings by establishing energy efficiency standards for existing buildings when they undergo renovation or retrofit and targeting complete fossil fuel elimination in buildings by 2050 at the latest.
New Building Standards
- Further addresses emissions from heating and cooling of buildings by establishing “net zero building standards” for new government buildings and new commercial & residential buildings at the latest by 2025; prohibits natural gas connections to new buildings.
Housing Density and Land Use
- Contributes to reduced residential and transportation-based emissions by allowing more people to affordably live in densely-populated areas, legalizing duplexes, triplexes, and fourplexes in neighborhoods close to transit and jobs.
Public Transit Funding
- Provides essential support for public transit by increasing by $175 million a year capital funding for the Maryland Transit Administration to close a shortfall identified in the Capital Needs Inventory, so as to improve rider safety and service, and access to local bus, commuter bus, light rail, metro subway, paratransit and MARC.
Electric Buses, Cars, and Infrastructure
- Promotes the increase in electric vehicles required to reduce transportation-based emissions by committing MTA to enter into contracts that only purchase electric buses starting in 2022. Supports expansion of charging stations, especially in multi-unit housing.
- Complements the gains made under the Clean Energy Jobs Act of 2019 by removing incentives to two of the most polluting combustible electricity sources still included in Maryland’s Renewable Portfolio Standard: black liquor and municipal waste incineration.
Just and Equitable Transition Off of Coal
- Eliminates climate, air, and water pollution from our state’s 6 coal-fired plants by establishing phase-out dates for all plants by 2025. The coal plants are the second largest emitter of greenhouse gases in Maryland, behind only gasoline-powered vehicles.
- Protects communities and workers affected by this transition to a new economy by creating a “Coal Community Transition Fund.”
Public Service Commission Climate-Based Decision-making
- Requires the PSC to factor climate change into all its electric sector regulation, including the approval of new generating plants.
Community Choice Energy (CCE)
- Permits counties, municipalities, and communities to get lower cost electricity for residents, including from clean renewable sources, by “aggregating” the combined demand of their residents through contracts, while allowing any resident to “opt out” if they choose.
- Promotes compositing as a way to enrich soils, reduce methane production in landfills, reduce food waste, and hence reduce GHG emissions.
- Prevents large organic waste generators from sending that waste to landfill or incinerators if there is a compost or digester facilities within 30 miles. The size of the generator will phase in over time.
Carbon Sequestration in Soils
- Promotes regenerative and healthy soil practices and provides incentives to transition to these sustainable agriculture practices.