Marylanders Address Climate Solutions for Wildlife and Communities

This month the Maryland Climate Coalition kicked-off a six-stop “Clean Energy Roadshow” highlighting how Marylanders are taking action on cleaner, more energy efficient solutions at home, in our communities, and in Annapolis.

Baltimore Co. delegates

Maryland Delegates Shelly Hettleman, Dana Stein, Adriane Jones, Benjamin Brooks and Steve Lafferty discussing strategies to address climate change. NWF Photo by Tiffany Hartung

State legislators, green business, civic, faith and environmental groups are coming together for the “Energy, Health & Climate” expos to showcase how Marylanders can take action for climate solutionsfrom making their homes more energy efficient to raising their voices for stronger clean energy policies in Annapolis.

“The 2016 Maryland General Assembly session will be a crucial time to renew and strengthen Maryland’s response to climate change. Maryland’s landmark 2009 Greenhouse Gas Reduction Act is up for renewal in 2016, and expanding the state’s clean energy standard to 25 percent by 2020 will be before the General Assembly for consideration.” – Dana Stein, Maryland State Delegate, District 11 Baltimore County and member of Maryland’s Commission on Climate Change.

Eastern Shore

The Chesapeake Bay is under threat from climate change. NWF Photo by Tiffany Hartung

Maryland has been addressing climate change impacts through its Greenhouse Gas Reduction Plan, required by the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Act.  The plan directs the state to implement the smartest environmental and economic decisions that produce effective climate change strategies. Strategies include increasing Maryland’s clean energy use and ensuring energy is used in the most efficient ways through the EmPower Program.

One of the top greenhouse gas emissions reducing programs in the plan is Maryland’s renewable portfolio standard. The standard sets requirements for Maryland to derive a certain amount of energy from renewables. Increasing the amount of clean, renewable energy that Maryland uses to 25% by 2020 will help Maryland meet its greenhouse gas emissions reduction goal and grow the state’s economy.

Transitioning to clean energy sources is one of the essential ways to protect people and wildlife from climate change pollution and its impacts, such as sea level rise and flooding.

great blue heron

Wildlife living in the Chesapeake Bay region like the great blue heron will be negatively impacted by climate change unless we take action. Photo by Beau Considine via Flickr Creative Commons

With its expansive coastline, low-lying topography, and growing coastal population, the Chesapeake Bay region is among the places in the nation most vulnerable to sea level rise. The state of Maryland is currently losing approximately 580 acres every year to shore erosion, placing natural treasures like Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge and Tangier Sound and the wildlife species that depend on them at risk.

In addition, increasing Maryland’s renewable portfolio standard would spur significant economic gains. The policy would create nearly 2,000 new jobs per year in the state’s solar industry and spur 4,600 new jobs in the regional wind-power economy. According to the Solar Energy Industries Association, Maryland’s solar industry already includes more than 170 companies and 3,000 jobs today.

“Increasing Maryland’s clean energy standard to 25 percent by 2020 means jobs for Maryland, including more public sector jobs, more manufacturing and constructions jobs. That is a big win for all of Maryland’s workers and for our communities.” – Adisa Muse, Maryland Working Families

Take ActionJoin the National Wildlife Federation and the Maryland Climate Coalition in calling on Maryland’s General Assembly to renew Maryland’s Greenhouse Gas Reduction Act and increase the renewable portfolio standard by signing a petition to lawmakers.

Catch a stop on the roadshow, check out the remaining stops in November.

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