BALTIMORE, MD (October 15, 2009) – Today Maryland Governor O’Malley, the Maryland Department of the Environment, and the Maryland Higher Education Commission congratulated the University of Maryland, College Park, for receiving the “America’s Greenest Campus” award. Among more than 450 competing universities, Maryland had 2,257 participants in the contest – the highest number of any university – to measure and reduce each college’s carbon footprint.
“It gives me great pleasure to congratulate the faculty, students, and staff of the University of Maryland, College Park for winning the ‘America's Greenest Campus’ award,” said Governor Martin O’Malley. “Even as the Federal government, and leaders around the world, debate how to address climate change, here in Maryland we are putting our words into action every day. The University of Maryland students have made us all proud, and we owe them thanks not only for reducing their carbon emission and also for inspiring others.”
Maryland Department of the Environment Secretary Shari T. Wilson said “Maryland is a leader on climate change, from voluntary individual actions to State commitments to a clean energy economy. We're fortunate to have participation on the Maryland Climate Change Commission from the University System of Maryland Chancellor William Kirwan and Vice Chancellor of Environmental Sustainability Donald Boesch. The Commission's Climate Action Plan provides the road map to achieving our commitment to reduce greenhouse gases 25 percent by 2020 -- the University of Maryland, College Park is truly helping to make our future goals a reality today.”
“This is a great achievement for the University of Maryland College Park,” Secretary of Higher Education James E. Lyons, Sr., said. “I know Chancellor Brit Kirwan has devoted much of his attention to promoting sustainability throughout the University System of Maryland. So for USM’s flagship university to receive this outstanding recognition is testament to Brit’s leadership and the outstanding work done by his sustainability faculty and staff at College Park, and throughout the System, who recognize making our State’s environment cleaner and greener is important not just for our children, but our children’s children.”
With more than 3,000 miles of shoreline, Maryland is the fourth most vulnerable state to the effects of climate change. Maryland’s Greenhouse Gas Reduction Act, part of the O’Malley-Brown Administration’s Smart, Green, and Growing 2009 legislative package, commits the State to reduce greenhouse gases 25 percent by 2020. Recent State initiatives, including the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative cap-and-trade program, Clean Cars Act, and Empower Maryland, have put the State on track to reduce greenhouse gases by 12.5 percent -- half of the 25 percent reduction goal.
The Maryland Climate Change Commission’s Climate Action Plan details 42 options to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Preliminary estimates indicate that, by 2020, implementation of these forty-two strategies could result in a net economic benefit to the state of approximately $2 billion.