Climate Change Program

​Secretary Serena McIlwain and Governor Wes ​Moore hosted an Electric Vehicle event at MDE headquarters in March.

MDE's Climate Change Program oversees the development and implementation of the state's plan for reducing greenhouse gas emissions and conducts the state's greenhouse gas emissions inventory. The staff support the Maryland Commission on Climate Change, ​the Carbon Markets and Trees Commission, ​the Buildings Energy Transition Task Force, and the Building Energy Performance Regulations (BEPS) process, and they manage Maryland's membership in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) and the U.S. Climate Alliance. This program also ensures the state complies with climate change-related state and federal laws. 

Maryland has set the most aggressive GHG emissions reduction goals in the nation. Und​er the Climate Solutions Now Act (CSNA)​ ​​of 2022, a target has been established at 60% (over the 2006 level) by 2031 and net-zero emissions by 2045. MDE has been working with the Center for Global Sustainability (CGS) at the University of Maryland on a conceptual roadmap to reach our climate goals. 

Maryland is the recognized as leading the nation to protect the environment from climate change; the state is taking full advantage of the historic levels of federal investment to tackle damaging climate pollution, accelerate work to address environmental injustice, and deliver cleaner air. Meeting the climate crisis requires all Marylanders - companies, nonprofits, communities, and state and local governments. The Maryland Department of Environment is coordinating the State’s planning effort to reduce climate pollution and
will deliver the following:
● December 2023: State of Maryland 2031 Greenhouse Gas Reduction Plan to
achieve 60% climate pollution reductions by 2031 and be on track to net-zero
emissions by 2045.
● March 2024: Maryland’s Priority Climate Action Plan to identify near-term,
high-priority, and implementation-ready measures to reduce climate pollution and prepare Maryland’s eligible entities to compete in the transformative federal funding from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and the Inflation Reduction Act, including the $4.6 billion EPA Climate Pollution Reduction Grant competition.​

Temperature change in Maryland since 1895​​Courtesy of Professor Ed Hawkins, University of Reading

The main cause of climate change is human activities, particularly the emission of greenhouse ​gases (GHGs) into the atmosphere. The Maryland Department of the Environment's (MDE) Climate Change Program is leading the state's efforts to reduce GHG emissions while creating jobs and benefiting the economy as required by state law. Although many initiatives throughout the State contribute to these efforts, the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) and the​ Commission on Climate Change​ are key efforts by MDE, each of which can be explored further by following the navigational links on top, left-hand side of this page. ​

In November 2
018, a federal report ​advised that "climate change is affecting the natural environment, agriculture, energy production and use, land and water resources, transportation, and human health and welfare across the U.S. and its territories."  The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)  is warning that the world has no more than a year or two to see meaningful improvement in GHG emissions to avoid more drastic impacts of climate change. 

Wi​th 3,100 miles of shoreline, Maryland i
s the fourth most vulnerable state to suffer the effects of sea-level rise associated with climate change. Rising sea levels and increased storm intensity could have devastating and far-reaching impacts on the Atlantic coast and the Chesapeake Bay ecosystem that affect the environmental, recreational, and economic benefits enjoyed by Marylanders and visitors. Although M​aryland's coastal areas may be considered particularly vulnerable, all areas ​of the state are at risk. In general, climate change alters the severity, frequency, or distribution of existin​g issues that are impacte​d either directly or indirectly by temperature and precipitation. This includes, but is not limited to: ​

  • Impacts on coastal, bay, and inland water quality parameters that may change the viable uses of surface water, such as for irrigation, recreation, or human consumption. MDE's Water and Science Administration's Climate Adaptation Goals and Strategies are available here. ​
  • Human health issues, including those affected by impacts on food and water supply, air quality, and extreme weather events.​
  • A higher probability of negative outcomes for disadvantaged communities and individuals inherently more sensitive or with a reduced adaptive capacity for responding to the impacts of climate change.
  • More frequent disruptions to urban and coastal infrastructure in Maryland caused by extreme weather events and sea-level rise impact the economy of the region by restricting the flow of goods and affecting days worked;
  • Common stressors experienced among ecosystems, agriculture, fisheries, and forests such as those caused by general changes in temperature and precipitation regimes; increased extreme weather events; and increased pressures from weeds, diseases, and pests.

For the national perspective, visit the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Climate Change in the United States And, for the international perspective, read the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's (IPCC) latest report. ​

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​​We want to hear your ideas!

MDE will develop the state's Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Emissions Reduction Plan to submit to the Governor and General Assembly by the end of 2023, as required by the Climate Solutions Now Act.  The plan will be informed by the Center for Global Sustainability's Pathway report and Marylanders' comments.  Please read the report and use the comment form below. The deadline is 5:00 p.m. on October 15th.

Maryland Climate Pathway Cover.png
Supplemental Information:
Click to open the comment form

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