Wednesday, October 16, 2019

MDE Announces Maryland "Climate Goals"

Maryland Department of the Environment releases draft plan to achieve climate goals
The Maryland Department of the Environment announced on Tuesday the release of a comprehensive, economy-wide plan to dramatically reduce emissions of greenhouse gases.

MDE says the new draft plan will set Maryland on an ambitious path and “serve as a model for how the nation can respond to climate change while also supporting economic growth.”

The Greenhouse Gas Emissions Reduction Act – Reauthorization, signed into law by Governor Larry Hogan, expanded on the original law to require that the state achieve at least a 40 percent reduction in statewide greenhouse gas emissions from 2006 levels by 2030. This requirement is substantially greater than the United States’ commitment to reduce emissions by 26-28 percent by 2025 under the Paris Agreement.

“Maryland has invested the time and done the hard work needed to propose this aggressive, achievable, science-based climate action plan,” said Maryland Environment Secretary Ben Grumbles. “The Hogan administration is committed to confronting the climate crisis through bold, collaborative, innovative, and bipartisan action.”

The draft plan incorporates a comprehensive set of more than 100 measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, including investments in energy efficiency and clean and renewable energy solutions, widespread adoption of electric vehicles, and improved management of farms and forests. It also supports new industries and technologies by encouraging investment in the energy and transportation sectors.

Maryland Department of the Environment estimates as much as $11.54 billion in increased economic output in the state by 2030, and the creation of more than 11,000 jobs as a result of these proposals.

The Maryland Department of the Environment is required by the Greenhouse Gas Emissions Reduction Act – Reauthorization to develop a statewide greenhouse gas reduction plan. The department developed the draft plan in coordination with other state agencies and stakeholders, including the bipartisan Maryland Commission on Climate Change. The law also requires the department to solicit public comment on the draft plan from interested stakeholders and the public before adopting a final plan.

Key elements of the draft plan include:
  • Governor Hogan’s proposed Clean and Renewable Energy Standard (CARES) and its requirement for 100 percent clean electricity by 2040—one of the most ambitious goals in the nation
  • An increased emphasis on clean transportation through the Maryland Clean Cars program, expanded investment in public transit, upgrades of half of the state’s transit buses to clean power, and, potentially, the regional Transportation and Climate Initiative’s “carbon cap-and-invest” program
  • Continued participation and leadership in the geographically expanding Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), the market-based program to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from power plants
  • Programs to phase out the use of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), greenhouse gases that are significantly more potent than carbon dioxide, and to better identify and reduce methane leaks in the energy sector
  • Enhanced healthy soil initiatives, through which farmers can make significant contributions to climate change goals by sequestering carbon
  • Increasing the energy efficiency of buildings through investments under the EmPOWER Maryland program, along with the implementation of Governor Hogan’s executive order directing state buildings to reduce energy use by an additional 10 percent
The draft plan will achieve a 44 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030, surpassing the 40 percent reduction goal required by state law. In addition to reducing emissions that contribute to climate change, the draft plan aims to also promote better air quality by reducing emissions that contribute to ground-level ozone and fine particle pollution. It will also improve water quality through reductions in nitrogen pollution to the state’s waterways, including the Chesapeake Bay.
To say I'm skeptical of the value and  ability of the state to achieve these goals is an understatement. But if they really thought they would achieve "$11.54 billion in increased economic output in the state by 2030, and the creation of more than 11,000 jobs as a result of these proposals", you would not need climate change to justify them.

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