Secretary Serena McIlwain and Governor Wes Moore host an Electric Vehicle event at MDE headquarters in March 2023.
The Maryland Department of the Environment's (MDE) climate change program is leading the state's efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions while creating jobs and benefiting the economy.
Maryland has set the most aggressive emissions reduction goals in the nation. Under the Climate Solutions Now Act (CSNA) of 2022, a target has been established to reduce emissions by 60 percent (over the 2006 level) by 2031, achieve 100 percent clean energy by 2035 and reach net zero emissions by 2045. Released in December 2023, our Climate Pollution Reduction Plan contains detailed policies and initiatives to reach our climate goals.
The new policies in the plan reduce emissions while generating up to $1.2 billion in public health benefits, $2.5 billion in increased personal income, and 27,400 jobs compared to current policies, according to modeling by Towson University’s Regional Economic Studies Institute. The average household will save up to $4,000 annually on energy costs if they convert from an oil furnace and gas-powered cars to heat pumps and electric cars.
Find out more about tax credits and rebates for electric vehicles.
Highlights of the plan include:
Completing the transition away from coal-fired power plants
Scaling renewable infrastructure, including solar, wind and battery power
Providing more incentives for consumers to choose electric when they are ready to replace vehicles and expanding available charging infrastructure
Advancing energy efficient retrofitting of 9,000 existing buildings and helping consumers electrify their homes by switching to heat pumps, electric water heaters and electric appliances
Electrifying school buses, transit buses and government fleet vehicles
Maryland has already reduced greenhouse gas emissions faster than almost any other state, achieving a 30 percent reduction in statewide emissions from 2006 levels by 2020. In 2022, the Maryland General Assembly passed the Climate Solutions Now Act, establishing the most ambitious greenhouse gas reduction goals in the nation. In June 2023, MDE released Maryland’s Climate Pathway Report with modeling and policy options provided by the University of Maryland’s Center for Global Sustainability. Seven listening sessions were held across the state to gather feedback from the public.
(Left to right) Blink Charging CEO Brendan Jones, League of Conservation Voters Executive Director Kim Coble, Governor Moore, Secretary McIlwain and Baltimore Mayor Brandon Scott.
Our 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. Our staff supports 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. Our team also ensures that the state complies with climate change-related state and federal laws.
In November 2018, 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.
Governor Moore takes a spin in an electric car at MDE headquarters in March 2023.
With 3,100 miles of shoreline, Maryland is 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 Maryland'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 existing issues that are impacted 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.
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.
The Inflation Reduction Act
The Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) is a federal law enacted on August 18, 2022. The law provides billions of dollars for tax credits, rebates and federal programs to invest in healthcare, domestic energy production and manufacturing, and climate change mitigation. The Maryland Office of People's Counsel has created a helpful website for consumers to look up these incentives.
The Inflation Reduction Act Guidebook
provides an overview of the clean energy, climate mitigation and resilience, agriculture, and conservation-related tax incentives and investment programs in the IRA.
News and Information about Climate Change
Is it too late to keep global warming below 1.5 °C?
Nature Magazine illustrates the challenge in 7 charts
What does this mean to me?
NPR Radio explains three ways climate change affects your life
How does climate change happen?
The US EPA has a good overview of the science