Adaptation Policy Considerations for the Maryland Commission on Climate Change

February 2, 2017

The Georgetown Climate Center identified issues that may be of interest to the Maryland Commission on Climate Change (MCCC) as it finalized its report on the status of Maryland’s climate change efforts and recommendations for legislative action, and develops its 2017 workplans.

This memorandum seeks to help the state document the important work it is already doing to prepare for the impacts of climate change and to provide recommendations for additional steps that the state could take, drawing on examples of practices from other states. In order to protect lives, health, property, economies, and natural systems, states need to adapt how they plan, regulate and make investments to incorporate projections of what future conditions will look like with a changing climate.

To develop this report, the Georgetown Climate Center leveraged our State Adaptation Progress Tracking tool. The Center actively tracks the progress states are making in preparing for the impacts of climate change through our state progress-tracking tool.

Maryland’s adaptation work is directed by two adaptation plans: (1) the Comprehensive Strategy for Reducing Maryland's Vulnerability to Climate Change, Phase I: Sea-level rise and coastal storms, which was published on September 12, 2008, and includes recommendations for how the state can adapt to impacts from sea-level rise and coastal storms; and (2) the Comprehensive Strategy for Reducing Maryland's Vulnerability to Climate Change, Phase II: building societal, economic, and ecological resilience, which was published on January 24, 2011 and provides recommendations for adapting to changes in precipitation patterns and increased temperature.

The Georgetown Climate Center is funded by the Town Creek Foundation to serve as a resource to the MCCC.

Georgetown Climate Center's adaptation recommendations consist of the following:

  • Expand the Adaptation Working Group to include other stakeholders or create a citizen advisory council.
  • Establish risk-based climate change projections that provide a baseline for state and local decisionmaking.
  • Establish research priorities and coordinate with academic researchers.
  • Expand the scope of the Coast Smart rules to include other impacts of climate change, such as increasing precipitation and temperatures.
  • Consider climate change in all state plans.
  • Track state progress and develop indicators to assess the efficacy of adaptation initiatives.
  • Provide technical assistance to local governments and build local capacity.
  • Use state funding programs as a “carrot” to encourage local adaptation.
  • Provide funding or financing to support private adaptation.
  • Require or encourage local governments to consider climate change in local plans.
  • Ensure equity in adaptation efforts at all levels of government.
  • Protect cultural and historic resources.