There is no doubt within the scientific community that the earth is warming, that that warming is significantly caused by human actions, and that that warming may have catastrophic consequences if left unabated. The most dramatic impacts on Maryland are likely to be associated with sea level rise. With 7,000 miles of shoreline Maryland’s vulnerability to sea level rise is amongst the highest in the nation. If greenhouse gas emissions continue to increase at the present rate sea level will rise by over 2 feet along Maryland’s shoreline causing the disappearance of islands and wetlands as well as increasing risk for coastal communities and some of the oldest parts of our historic port cities. These are just the most dramatic climate change impacts, however. Virtually all aspects of life for Marylanders will ultimately be impacted by climate change.
Although Maryland is a small state, it is responsible for nearly as many greenhouse gas emissions as Sweden and Norway combined. Since 1990 our gross emissions have increased by about 18%, a more rapid rate of growth than overall U.S. emissions. Since 2006 Maryland has taken major steps to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions from cars and power plants, and to increase energy efficiency in the State. In 2009 it became among a small handful of states to establish ambitious goals for dramatically reducing greenhouse gas emissions society-wide. The Greenhouse Gas Reductions Act of 2009 commits the state to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 25% by 2020.
Climate change is a global problem that Maryland’s reductions will not solve. Maryland’s reductions will count for Maryland, however. They will make the state more sustainable and resilient, and they will establish leadership examples for other states, and for the nation as a whole, to follow.
The Town Creek Foundation is committed to helping Maryland exceed its greenhouse gas reduction goals. In support of this commitment we are making grants to help identify and pursue necessary new laws, policies and regulations, and to promote strong leadership and bold strategies from office holders, advocates and citizens.