Principles for Climate Action

Principles for Climate Action in Maryland

Introduction

These evolving principles were developed by a group of climate advocates in Maryland united in our desire to advance our state towards an equitable, clean energy future. This group includes representatives from organizations with the Maryland Climate Coalition as well as individuals and organizations who have not previously been a part of the Coalition.  

We view these as “living” principles that guide how we inform our work together and the policies we hope to enact in Maryland. We offer them as a sign of our intentions and recognize we have much work to do in order to embody these intentions as a group. We also recognize that our network is not yet representative of those most impacted by climate and environmental injustice. 

We note in our outreach to people not yet at our table that we want these principles to express the values and perspectives of our coalition as it expands. When people bring a substantially new point of view that isn’t represented here, we will make modifications accordingly.

Statement of Principles

Maryland Climate Coalition proposes the following principles to guide Maryland on the path to a clean, renewable, just and equitable energy future. All actions, public and private, taken to address the climate crisis in Maryland should: 

  1. Comprehensively address climate change by reducing and eventually eliminating greenhouse gas emissions to reduce the impacts of climate change, sequestering carbon in soils and forests, and adapting to those impacts that cannot be avoided. Adapting to the impacts of climate change includes ensuring local resilience against natural disasters through science-based planning and protecting public health, especially in the most impacted and vulnerable communities in collaboration with those communities. Action to address climate change must be consistent with scientific understanding, in particular the findings of the most recent 2018 report of the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and the Paris 2015 Agreement goal of limiting global temperature rise to 1.5oC. 
  1. Support investment in green technology and infrastructure, prioritizing the needs of disadvantaged and underserved communities, both urban and rural. The transformation of our economy must be both equitable and just. As the transition from fossil fuels to clean, renewable energy occurs, we must address any disruption to workers and communities currently dependent on fossil fuel industries and provide economic security for workers and communities who may be harmed by changes to the economy, including loss of current industries, divestment and exclusion of unsustainable practices. 
  1. Create quality jobs and promote equitable economic growth and opportunity. We define quality jobs as those which provide: (1) family-supporting wages and benefits; (2) employees the opportunity to form a union and engage in collective bargaining without retaliation, intimidation, harassment or fear of reprisal; and (3) training and advancement opportunities. Equitable economic growth, at a minimum, should provide: (1) business opportunities for entities that have been traditionally excluded, including small businesses and women-owned, minority-owned, disabled- and veteran-owned, and employee-owned businesses; and (2) opportunities for traditionally underserved communities and people, including African Americans, indigenous peoples, Latinx people, people of color, low-wage, short-term, and chronically underemployed workers, women, veterans, returning citizens, laborers, people with disabilities, and people who identify as LGBTQIA.
  1. Spur the transition to a modern, resilient, and efficient grid that provides 100% clean, renewable electricity by or before 2040 and accommodates distributed energy resources to increase reliability and resiliency. This transition should reduce long-term energy costs. Low- and moderate income households must be protected from any adverse effects of rate increases or rate structure changes by ensuring that their household bills are affordable.  Underserved communities should have equitable access to affordable energy efficiency and renewable energy. Energy sources built, generated, and used locally should be prioritized wherever feasible.
  1. Create an accessible, affordable and connected transportation system in Maryland, including bike lanes, walkways, and public transit that is emissions-free, accessible and affordable to all groups of people regardless of age, ability, income, race, or ethnicity. 
  1. Retire polluting facilities and infrastructure and prevent construction of new polluting facilities and infrastructure; give priority in these activities to reducing pollution in communities that currently bear disproportionate burdens of polluting energy use, production, transportation, and infrastructure. 
  1. Draw down excess greenhouse gases from the atmosphere by regenerating agricultural soils, restoring and improving natural forests and protecting and enhancing vital wetlands. Ecologically sensitive and sustainable sequestration, in combination with elimination of greenhouse gas emissions, including methane leaks, can make Maryland’s economy carbon negative by 2050 and help fulfill the obligation for wealthy countries to keep global temperature rise to below 1.5 o C, as required by the 2018 IPCC report.