The Maryland Commission for the Innovation and Advancement of Carbon Markets and Sustainable Tree Plantings, established under the Tree Solutions Now Act of 2021, focuses on achieving the state's goal of planting five million native trees by 2030. The commission's responsibilities include developing a plan for tree planting, ensuring proper maintenance, recommending a Maryland-based carbon offset market, and advising on policies to mitigate tree clearing during transportation projects.
The initiative, supported by the Maryland Department of the Environment and other agencies, emphasizes planting in underserved urban communities and aims to realize multiple benefits, such as carbon sequestration and improved air and water quality. Aligned with Maryland's climate goals, this effort contributes to a 50% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030. The state's leadership in initiatives like the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative and the U.S. Climate Alliance further complements these endeavors. For more details, the Commission's Plan for Growing 5 Million Trees in Maryland can be accessed. For inquiries, contact Dr. Rachel Lamb at email@example.com.
The Green & Blue Infrastructure Policy Advisory Commission, established through Senate Bill 348/HB653 in 2022, serves to provide guidance to the Maryland Department of the Environment, the Baystat Subcabinet, and local government officials.
Their focus is on enhancing and expediting the implementation of green and blue infrastructure projects across the state. These projects aim to achieve various objectives, such as reducing nutrient and sediment entering the Chesapeake Bay, sequestering nutrients within the bay, enhancing climate resilience, carbon sequestration, protecting and restoring vital terrestrial and aquatic habitats, rejuvenating streams and wetlands, establishing living shorelines, revitalizing shellfish populations, and rehabilitating forest and agricultural lands. For inquiries, contact Gabrielle Leach at Gabrielle.Leach@maryland.gov.
During the 2015 session, the Maryland General Assembly established the Maryland Commission on Climate Change as a statutory body, entrusting it with the vital role of advising the Governor and General Assembly on strategies to address the causes of climate change and prepare for its consequences. The Commission, led by the Maryland Department of the Environment Secretary or a designated representative, comprises members representing various sectors, including state agencies, the legislature, local government, businesses, environmental nonprofits, organized labor, philanthropic interests, and the State University system.
In its most recent recommendations, the Commission conducted a thorough review of climate science, including findings from the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). It urged an adjustment of the state's previous 40% greenhouse gas emissions reduction target by 2030 to at least 50%, aligning with the latest scientific consensus. Achieving this ambitious goal would necessitate substantial changes in state and federal policies that would impact daily life for all citizens.
The Climate Solutions Now Act, enacted in 2022, further elevates the state's climate ambitions by setting a 60% emissions reduction target by 2031 and a "net zero" target by 2045. The Commission is tasked with developing proposals to attain these goals, with an awareness that changes must be implemented well in advance of the target deadlines, as their cumulative impact is essential.
Under the new Act, the Commission must create four new reports and establish four additional working groups, each with specific representatives. The existing four working groups focus on greenhouse gas mitigation, adaptation and response (resilience), scientific and technical guidance, and education, communication, and outreach.
The four new working groups added by the Climate Solutions Now Act are:
Just Transition Employment and Retraining: This group will concentrate on transitioning workers from fossil fuel industries to clean energy employment opportunities, with a strong representation from labor organizations and affected industries.
Energy Industry Revitalization: Focusing on potential impacts to small businesses and facility closures due to climate policies, this group will provide essential insights.
Energy Resilience and Efficiency: Comprising representatives from electric energy companies, this group will address energy infrastructure improvements, transmission efficiency, and battery backup solutions.
Solar Photovoltaic Systems Recovery, Reuse, and Recycling: This working group will explore options for recycling or reusing solar panels.
The Commission, hosted by the Maryland Department of the Environment, holds meetings at least four times a year, with additional meetings as required. These meetings are conducted virtually, and there is an opportunity for public comment during each session. For more information, you can contact Susan Casey at Susan.Casey1@maryland.gov.