Advocacy groups recommend top GHG reduction strategies to MD climate commission

recommendations to reduce GHGs 60% by 2031

On September 2, 22 organizations submitted joint recommendations to the Maryland Commission on Climate Change (MCCC) for achieving Maryland’s ambitious new goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions 60% by 2031. The bold, cross-cutting recommendations propose new programs and funding needs, refinement to existing programs, strategies to take advantage of federal funding, and administrative and regulatory strategies, focused on achieving dual goals of greenhouse gas reductions and advancing equity.  

The organizations came together to hash out and refine what ended up to be a set of 35 actionable recommendations pertaining to  electricity generation, energy efficiency, building electrification,and transportation. The recommendations are meant to inform the annual report of the Maryland Commission on Climate Change. 

The recommendations respond to a late July request from the MCCC Mitigation Working Group (MWG), which asked  MWG members and interested parties to review the 2021 [MCCC] recommendations and consider how they could be updated to be more actionable or better reflect current needs. One key reason for updates and strengthening is that the 2021 recommendations were made in the context of the 2030 GGRA Plan, which aims to reduce statewide GHG emissions 50% by 2030. In 2022, Maryland law was updated to require that statewide GHG emissions be reduced 60% by 2031.

Over the month of August, Maryland Sierra Club convened partner groups, staff and volunteers, who were led by subject matter experts from within the groups to develop approximately 3-5 major recommendations per thematic area (electricity generation, energy efficiency, EmPower, building electrification and gas distribution, and transportation). 

The approach to coming up with recommendations involved looking back at the MCCC’s 2021 recommendations asking questions like: Do we have the right goals? How is our actual progress? Do the existing goals need to be strengthened?

About two dozen people actively conceived, met, discussed, and honed the recommendations, circulating drafts more widely for feedback before finalizing. 

Recommendations ran the gamut from “The legislature should make the Community Solar pilot program a full, permanent program in 2023” to “The state should mandate that 50% of Surface Transportation Block Grant and National Highway Performance Program federal funds be used by state agencies and shared with cities and counties for public transit, bike and pedestrian infrastructure, and Transit Oriented Development programs.” Another one reads: “The legislature or PSC should authorize alternative business model experiments for utilities including heat/cooling as a service and on-bill financing of electrification.” 

Maryland Sierra Club is grateful to all participants for the time, expertise, and thought that went into making and fine tuning the recommendations.

The full output of this collaborative, multi-organization process can be viewed here.

The following groups signed on to the full recommendations and/or transportation recommendations:

  1. AIA Maryland
  2. ArchPlan Inc.
  3. Audubon Mid-Atlantic
  4. Audubon Naturalist Society
  5. Baltimore County Progressive Democrats Club
  6. Bikemore
  7. Cedar Lane Environmental Justice Ministry
  8. Central Maryland Transportation Alliance
  9. Ceres
  10. Chesapeake Climate Action Network
  11. Chesapeake Physicians for Social Responsibility
  12. Climate Reality Montgomery County
  13. Coalition for Smarter Growth
  14. Disability Rights Maryland
  15. DoTheMostGood
  16. Downtown Residents Advocacy Network (Baltimore)
  17. Elders Climate Action Maryland Chapter
  18. Elizabeth Bunn
  19. Environmental and Climate Justice Committee
  20. Glen Echo Heights Mobilization
  21. Green & Healthy Homes Initiative
  22. Greenbelt Climate Action Network (GCAN)
  23. Howard County Climate Action
  24. Interfaith Power & Light (DC.MD.NoVA)
  25. Labor Network for Sustainability
  26. League of Women Voters of Maryland
  27. Locust Point Community Garden
  28. Maryland Conservation Council
  29. Maryland League of Conservation Voters
  30. Maryland Legislative Coalition
  31. Maryland Nonprofits
  32. Maryland PIRG
  33. Maryland Sierra Club
  34. MLC Climate Justice Wing
  35. Mobilize Frederick
  36. Montgomery Countryside Alliance
  37. NAACP Maryland State Conference ECJ Committee
  38. Prince George's County DSA
  39. Rewiring America
  40. Safe Skies Maryland
  41. Solar United Neighbors
  42. Strong Future Maryland
  43. The Climate Mobilization Montgomery County Chapter (TCM MoCo)
  44. Transit Choices
  45. Union of Concerned Scientists
  46. Unitarian Universalist Legislative Ministry of Maryland
  47. Washington Area Bicyclist Association