MDE Unveils Draft Climate Change Plan

A Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE) news release (2019-10-15) unveiled the State’s long-awaited draft Greenhouse Reduction Act (GRRA) Plan. The draft plan outlines what the State and local governments will need to do to reduce in-state greenhouse gas emissions by 40% from their 2006 levels by 2030 and prepare for further reductions in the future.

The draft plan anticipates achieving a 44% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 and will result in a positive net economic and job gain for the state.

From the news release:

“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. …

Key elements of the draft plan include:

  • Governor Hogan’s proposed Clean and Renewable Energy Standard (CARES) and its requirement for 100% 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%

MDE plans on holding public and stakeholder meetings across the state. MACo is reviewing the draft Plan and will submit comments. Counties or other interested parties email their comments on the draft Plan to or mail their comments to:

Climate Change Program
Maryland Department of the Environment
1800 Washington Boulevard, Suite 730
Baltimore, Maryland 21230

Useful Links

2019 GGRA Plan Webpage (includes draft plan, executive summary, appendices, and public comment instructions)

MACo will be hosting a session on climate change at its Winter Conference on December 4-6, 2019. The session, “What’s the Plan? Meeting Our Climate Change Goals” is scheduled for December 4 from 1:45 pm – 2:45 pm. View the registration brochure for more details.

Learn more about MACo’s Winter Conference: