BALTIMORE (Feb. 19, 2021) — The Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE) has released a comprehensive plan that sets a clear and unifying path for the state to dramatically reduce greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to climate change, while also growing jobs and the economy for Marylanders.
The Greenhouse Gas Emissions Reduction Act calls for a reduction of emissions of 40% by 2030 (from 2006 levels), while pursuing more ambitious goals recommended by the independent, bipartisan Maryland Commission on Climate Change. The newly released GGRA Plan calls for a new goal: 50% reductions by 2030. The 2030 GGRA Plan also includes a longer-term goal of net-zero GHG emissions by 2045.
“This plan is ambitious and achievable, bold and balanced with over 100 actions that underscore the urgency for real and lasting climate solutions,” said Maryland Environment Secretary Ben Grumbles. ”Maryland’s long standing leadership is shown by being ranked the No. 1 state in the nation in reducing greenhouse gas emissions while growing the economy, according to the World Resources Institute. As the United States rejoins the Paris Agreement, the Hogan administration intends to keep the momentum going in Maryland with a bipartisan plan that builds upon our success and adds new measures across all sectors of the economy and levels of government.”
After incorporating feedback on the 2019 draft plan from the public and stakeholders as required by law, MDE and partner agencies established new climate solutions addressing GHG emissions from electricity generation, transportation, building energy use, natural gas infrastructure, and natural and working lands. MDE’s emissions analysis shows that the implemented 2030 GGRA Plan will come very close to achieving a 50% reduction by 2030 without accounting for anticipated new federal government policies to reduce emissions. As the Biden administration takes action to address climate change through federal policies — including rejoining the Paris Agreement today — Maryland expects to be able to achieve a 50% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030.
The plan incorporates a comprehensive set of over 100 programs and measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. These include investments in energy efficiency and clean and renewable energy solutions, clean transportation projects and widespread adoption of electric vehicles, planting more than seven million trees, and improved management of existing forests and farms to capture and contain more carbon in trees and soils.
It also supports new industries and technologies and “green” jobs by encouraging investment in the modernization of electricity, transportation and buildings sectors, the largest sources of GHG emissions in Maryland. MDE estimates as much as $5.3 billion in increased economic output in the state by 2030, and the creation of more than 6,000 jobs as a result of these proposals.
The major elements of the plan also include thoughtful implementation of programs and measures that address environmental and climate justice, recognizing that disadvantaged communities can be disproportionately affected by climate change and environmental pollution. In addition to mitigating the impacts of climate change by reducing greenhouse gases, the plan will improve public health by reducing air pollutants that contribute to ground-level ozone and fine particle pollution. It also will improve water quality through reductions in nitrogen pollution to the state’s waterways, including the Chesapeake Bay.
MDE developed the plan in coordination with nine state agencies and the Maryland Commission on Climate Change’s Greenhouse Gas Mitigation Working Group, Science and Technology Working Group, Adaptation and Resiliency Working Group, and Education, Communication, and Outreach Working Group, as well as extensive input from citizens and stakeholders. The Maryland Climate Change Commission working groups were instrumental in modeling scenarios based on current science for the plan. Under the GGRA law, MDE will provide a progress report to the General Assembly next year, and the General Assembly will then act to maintain the goals, revise them, or let them expire in 2023.