Making Maryland carbon-neutral in a generation

Responses to open letter on climate change

Marc Korman, Maryland State Delegate, District 16, marckorman.com

I am honored to join the dozens of Maryland lawmakers at the federal, state and local levels who are pledging to make Maryland carbon neutral within a generation in order to combat the threat of climate change. Climate change is real, human-made and an urgent threat facing our planet.

Recent studies from the National Climate Assessment and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change have found that we only have 12 years left to lock down the actions necessary to avoid catastrophic consequences of planetary changes. With this in mind, it is vital that Maryland do its part to reduce carbon emissions and set an example for other states to follow.

In recent years the Maryland General Assembly has shown its dedication to reducing carbon emissions. During the 2018 legislative session the Assembly passed my legislation, the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative Extension Act (HB 230), which will protect our cap-and-trade program for power plants. The Assembly also overrode the Governor's veto of the Clean Energy Jobs Act (HB 1106), which increased our state's renewable portfolio standard to 25%.

Additionally, the Assembly passed my legislation, the Maryland Pension Climate Change Risk Act (HB 993) which, among other provisions, requires that the State Retirement and Pension System study risks and risk mitigation strategies related to climate change on our State's investments because of physical risks, such as rising seas levels.

These legislative accomplishments show that Maryland is committed to fighting the effects of climate change, but there is still so much more we can do to safeguard our planet. Another solution that can help reduce Maryland's carbon footprint would be to join states across the region in establishing a "cap and invest" program to place a limit on carbon emissions from transportation fuels and redirect our investments into efficient transportation networks and renewable energy.

I look forward to working with my colleagues in the General Assembly during the upcoming legislative session to build on the progress we have made and help Maryland achieve a carbon-neutral economy.

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