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Wind turbinesMore wind and solar power. More conservation of energy, recycling, mass transit, and green jobs.  Less waste.

These are the highlights of a new greenhouse gas reduction plan unveiled today by Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley during a “Climate Change Summit” in Baltimore.

Coming on the heels of President Obama’s new plan to reduce carbon dioxide pollution from power plants nationally, O’Malley’s plan includes raising Maryland’s requirement of how much renewable energy utilities must purchase to 25 percent of their total sources of electricity, up from the current 20 percent.

  In addition, the governor wants to reduce electricity consumption by 15 percent, double the use of mass transportation, plant 43,000 acres of trees, and set a goal of “zero waste” to boost recycling (because waste in landfills is a source of methane, a greenhouse gas). 

“Climate change is not an ideological issue any more than gravity is. It’s not about whether we move left or right, but whether we make the right choice for Marylanders,” O’Malley said.  “As severe weather events continue to grow in size and impact, and elongated trends of poor air quality continue, the costs of inaction would grow exponentially.”

The governor’s goal is a reduction in greenhouse gases by 55 million metric tons a year, and the creation of more than 37,000 jobs, many from building alternative energy projects, such as wind turbines.  To learn more about the details, click here.

“In the face of virtually unrecognizable weather and rapidly rising seas, Governor O’Malley is stepping up to lead,” said Mike Tidwell, director of the Chesapeake Climate Action Network. “The Governor’s plan is an example that other states should follow, given the intensifying impacts of climate change and the unacceptably slow response on Capitol Hill.”

Maryland has a special motivation to lead other states in reducing the pollution that causes climate change, O’Malley said, because its extensive waterfront makes it one of the most vulnerable to sea level rise caused by global warming.  Every day in Maryland, an average of 1.6 acres of land are lost to rising water levels and erosion.

“We have a planet to save, and we have jobs to create,” O’Malley said.  “And what we stand for is what we stand on.”

By Tom Pelton

Chesapeake Bay Foundation

 

 

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