The Montgomery County Climate Action Annual Report highlights 75 accomplishments to reduce climate-related risks.
Montgomery County has released its first Climate Action Plan Annual Report, a work plan detailing Fiscal Year 2022 (FY22) accomplishments and Fiscal Year 2023 (FY23) plans to combat climate change. The report highlights 75 accomplishments in the first year since the plan was released in June 2021.
The Climate Action Plan (CAP) is a strategic plan to cut community-wide greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions 80 percent by 2027 and 100 percent by 2035, compared to 2005 levels. The plan also seeks to reduce climate-related risks to the County’s residents, businesses and the built and natural environment.
During the first year of CAP implementation, County departments and agencies actively worked on 75 climate actions out of the 86 actions identified in the CAP. In FY23, County departments and agencies intend to make progress on 77 climate actions.
According to the press release:
“This summer has showed us that climate change is already here. Heat waves and storms are becoming more severe, underscoring the need for Montgomery County and other communities around the world to stay laser-focused on climate action,” said County Executive Marc Elrich. “We will continue to accelerate our climate efforts in the coming year. I recommended, and the County Council approved, record funding for our climate initiatives in the county’s Fiscal year 2023 budget. Our local resources to address climate change will be enhanced by federal funding from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and the recently enacted Inflation Reduction Act.”
FY22 Climate Action Accomplishments include:
- Clean Energy: Many solar projects were installed, including a total of 1,027 new residential solar installations and two community solar projects for low- and moderate-income residents. Legislation that funds the Montgomery County Green Brank to expand its clean energy work was passed by County Council.
- Buildings: The County Council unanimously passed Building Energy Performance Standards legislation, which requires minimum energy performance thresholds for existing covered buildings and drives them to improve their energy efficiency over a set time period, thus reducing carbon emissions.
- Transportation: Ride On service levels were restored to 80 percent of pre-COVID-19 levels by January 2022. Free fares have been made permanent on Ride On for those under 18, seniors and persons with disabilities. The first 25 electric Montgomery County Public Schools’ (MCPS) school buses have arrived as part of a plan to replace 326 diesel buses with electric school buses over four years. The Department of Environmental Protection estimates that plug-in vehicles made up 9.5 percent of new vehicle registrations in the last year.
- Carbon Sequestration: Tree Montgomery planted 1,700 trees in FY22, for a cumulative total of more than 7,450 shade trees planted through the spring 2022 planting season.
- Climate Adaptation: The Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) completed the construction of Glenmont Forest Green Streets, with 53 rain gardens, bio-retention gardens, and tree boxes installed. DEP and the Office of Emergency Management and Homeland Security (OEMHS) began installing 35 early warning flood sensors that can alert residents sooner about high water or flooding events.
- Governance: DEP, the Office of Innovation, and the Office of Human Resources sponsored five climate training programs for 75 County government staff from 20 departments and developed a comprehensive set of resources for the new Climate Change Ambassador Training Program to build understanding and engagement among County government staff about climate change.
- Public Engagement, Partnerships and Education: The MCPS Board of Education unanimously passed a Sustainability Policy, committing MCPS to cut greenhouse gas emissions 80 percent by 2027 and 100 percent by 2035 compared to 2005 levels, in line with the CAP.
- Public Engagement, Partnerships and Education: DEP organized climate storytelling workshops, facilitated by Climate Stories Project that had community members develop, record and share their personal and community relationships with climate change. The project focused on amplifying the voices of under-represented and frontline community members. Montgomery County also co-launched the Maryland Coalition of Counties and Cities for Climate Action.