Adaptation Policy Considerations for the Maryland Commission on Climate Change

February 2, 2017

Policy Considerations to Prepare for Climate Change Impacts

This report seeks to help the state of Maryland 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. This report includes case study examples of how Maryland and other states are tackling the impacts of climate change by creating interagency commissions, requiring considerations of climate change in state planning and investment decisions, developing tools and science to support decisionmaking, and supporting local action on 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.

In addition to this report on adaptation recommendations for the state, the Center also provided recommendations on how the state could build upon its efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.  The Georgetown Climate Center developed resources to inform the Maryland Commission on Climate Change (MCCC) and its working groups during their deliberations to identify climate policy priorities for the near term. Both reports can be found HERE

In the these two reports, 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 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.  The Georgetown Climate Center's work to serve as a resource for the MCCC is funded by the Town Creek Foundation.