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Speaking this morning, Maryland Gov. O'Malley has upped the ante for reduction of statewide greenhouse gases. Stating that "we trust in the fierce urgency of now" he proposes that Maryland reduce economy-wide greenhouse gas emissions 25 percent by 2020. The plan's emission reduction goals surpass California and all other states except Massachusetts, and its policy proposals include accelerating state clean energy and efficiency goals. In his inspiring speech, Gov. O'Malley laid out the agenda for greenhouse gas reductions across the board stating: "We move forward, not back"

Look at the image to the right. Top: To reach the reduction goal of 55 million metric tons of carbon dioxide-equivalent annually, enhanced programs throughout all sectors (energy, transportation, agriculture, etc.) have been identified. Middle: The 2020 emissions goal (blue line) is 80.4 million metric tons of carbon dioxide-equivalent annual emissions, which is 55 million metric tons less annually than the projected emissions in 2020 with unmitigated growth or business-as-usual (red line). The light blue line is current estimated emissions. Bottom: The major sectors where greenhouse gas emissions can be reduced are energy and transportation; however every sector will need to do its part to reduce emissions.

Maryland is one of many U.S. states at high risk for sea level rise.

To achieve a 25 percent reduction in Maryland’s greenhouse gas emissions by 2020, the state, through its implementation of the 150-plus programs and initiatives described in the plan, must reduce Maryland’s greenhouse gas emissions by 55 million metric tons of carbon dioxide-equivalent annually. This reduction includes offsetting growth that is expected to occur between 2006 and 2020 (called the "business-as-usual" forecast). PDF of plan here.

Attainable goals:

The goal of reducing emissions 25 percent is attainable by strengthening and building on current programs, such as the Maryland Renewable Energy Portfolio Standard and EmPOWER Maryland, and by incorporating cutting-edge technology and strategies. Since the initial release of the draft Plan in February 2012, over 1,000 public comments have been received and a number of strategy and program enhancements have been added. The State will continue to explore new areas and develop new programs before 2020. The Actions page summarizes the Plan’s key programs. The implementation of these programs will drive more than 80 percent of Maryland’s greenhouse gas emissions reductions.

Kudos to Gov. O'Malley for his climate change leadership. We need more of this, especially from vulnerable states such as Florida, Louisiana and New Jersey.

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Originally posted to Climate Change SOS on Thu Jul 25, 2013 at 08:41 AM PDT.

Also republished by Maryland Kos, Climate Hawks, and Daily Kos.

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