Informing the Maryland Commission on Climate Change

January 31, 2017

The Georgetown Climate Center developed resources to inform the Maryland Commission on Climate Change (MCCC) and its working groups during their deliberations. The Center also supports Maryland state agencies in other capacities, including by serving as a facilitator of the Transportation and Climate Initiative, which Maryland participates in. 

In the two memorandum's below, the Center identifies issues that may be of interest to the MCCC as it reports on the status of Maryland’s climate change efforts, develops recommendations for legislative action, and develops workplans for 2017 and beyond. The Georgetown Climate Center is funded by the Town Creek Foundation to serve as a resource to the MCCC.

Policy Considerations for Cutting Carbon Pollution

The memorandum focuses on two broad areas. First, it provides updates on significant state actions from the past year relating to the setting of state carbon pollution reduction goals and tracking progress toward those goals, including actions in California and Pennsylvania related to the accounting of methane emissions from the natural gas sector and new regulatory initiatives in Massachusetts to reduce GHGs from the transportation and natural gas sectors. Second, it highlights emerging issues in four strategy areas that states have indicated are of particular interest in the near term. These include state actions to reduce methane emissions from the natural gas supply chain; approaches to incorporating climate goals into state grid-of-the-future proceedings; addressing environmental justice and equity concerns in state climate actions; and pursuing regional actions to reduce emissions from the transportation sector through EV infrastructure development.

This memorandum is based on conversations with state officials and independent research that the Georgetown Climate Center has conducted to help inform Maryland and other states that are setting mid-term goals, implementing policies to meet those goals, and tracking their progress.



Policy Considerations to Prepare for Climate Change Impacts

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 consider future climate change.

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.  

To support the Maryland's Adaptation and Response Working Group the Center helped capture the progress state agencies are making in implementing the state's two adaptation plans: (1) the Comprehensive Strategy for Reducing Maryland's Vulnerability to Climate Change, Phase I: Sea-level rise and coastal storms (2008) and (2) the Comprehensive Strategy for Reducing Maryland's Vulnerability to Climate Change, Phase II: building societal, economic, and ecological resilience (2011). The Center also provided examples of best practices from other states that Maryland could consider for spurring additional climiate preparedness activities at both the state and local levels. 

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

  • Expand the Adaptation Working Group to include other stakeholders (such as agriculture, local government, and business) or create a citizen advisory council.
  • Set risk-based climate change projections to provide a baseline for state and local decisionmaking.
  • Establish state research priorities and coordinate with academic researchers.
  • Expand the scope of the Coast Smart rules or develop other standards to address other non-coastal 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.
  • Adapt policies regarding the preservation of cultural and historic resources toaccount for climate change impacts.