Report Urges Maryland Climate Action, Highlights Economic Incentives

Maryland’s Commission on Climate Change is urging comprehensive
action
to
reduce air pollution, prepare for a warming climate and get ready for rising
water along the region’s vulnerable coastline.

In a new report, the commission emphasizes the
incentive of a potential $2 billion economic benefit to Maryland, if the state
follows the report’s recommendations. An International Center for Sustainable
Development study found that Maryland could create between 144,000 and 326,000
"
green collar" and research and development
jobs.

The report’s 42 greenhouse gas reduction recommendations include
tighter restrictions on coastline development because of sea level rise risks, new power generation
standards, and stricter building codes for development.

The report shows
"that aggressive pollution targets are possible and good for the state, not only
environmentally, but economically…We can get it done this year," said Brad
Heavner, state director of Environment Maryland.

Society has incurred
"considerable costs," the panel argues, from past decisions that were "not in
sync with past and present climate conditions…These costs are likely to
increase as climate change accelerates." The benefits of warming temperatures
are fleeting, the commission said, while "the costs of
inaction
are
likely to stay and increase."

Neighboring Virginia is
also a low-lying state at risk of the potential effects of climate change. "We
have 3,500 miles of coastline and tidal shoreline [where] we have literally
hundreds of billions of dollars of military, commercial and industrial
infrastructure. We need to be concerned about that." L. Preston Bryant Jr.,
Virginia’s secretary of natural resources and chairman of the climate
commission, told the
Washington Post.

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