New Study: Invasive Vines Could Kill Nearly 5,000 Trees in Takoma Park, MD Within 5-7 Years

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: March 31, 2021
Contact: 
Mike Tidwell, CCAN director, 240-460-5838, mtidwell@chesapeakeclimate.org
Laura Cofsky, CCAN, 571-275-6696, laura@chesapeakeclimate.org

Groundbreaking study has possible national implications while calling for immediate, commonsense rescue actions from the local City government and volunteers.

TAKOMA PARK, MD – In what may be the first tree survey of its kind in the nation, an invasive plant specialist in February walked all 36 miles of the streets and adjacent areas of Takoma Park, MD looking for non-native vines. What he found was startling. He directly identified nearly 5,000 trees in the city being overwhelmed by invasive vines like English Ivy. 

The startling results in a small city known to highly value its tree canopy could signal that the scale of invasive vine destruction nationwide is far beyond previous assumptions. The study also identifies relatively low-resource, commonsense solutions to the problem. Most of the trees in the survey can be saved in 5-10 minutes by volunteers using common garden clippers and pruning saws.

The survey, conducted in February 2021 and commissioned by the Chesapeake Climate Action Network (CCAN), found that a total 4,850 trees were so invested with climbing vines that they could die within 5-7 years. The large majority of affected trees were more than 20 years old and some were beyond a century in age. Trees play a huge role in sequestering carbon dioxide, cooling urban neighborhoods, and beautifying property. 

“We knew non-native invasive vines were a big problem for Takoma Park trees, but we were still shocked by the findings in this study,” said Mike Tidwell, director of the Chesapeake Climate Action Network. “Put together, 5,000 trees in an urban setting can cover acres of land and, if lost, represent a huge amount of money, comfort, and climate benefits.” 

The report was conducted by native plant specialist Jesse Buff of Takoma Park. It points out that planting 5,000 new trees and protecting them to the age of several decades – and some for over a century – would be a fantastically expensive undertaking for the city. Yet saving the same number of trees currently dying in plain sight from invasive vines would cost little beyond educating citizens and supporting local volunteer efforts already underway to eradicate invasive vines. 

Last summer, volunteers organized by CCAN in Takoma Park eradicated deadly vines on over 700 trees in the city. Now the group is launching a weekly Saturday morning program where volunteers sign up to “adopt” between 10 and 100 trees in the city for rescue. 

The CCAN survey cataloged the exact location of troubled trees on residential, commercial, and park property. Volunteers will be given addresses and asked to set out to meet with homeowners and business owners to encourage them to eradicate the vines themselves using quick, simple methods. Or property owners can elect to have volunteers do it for them. By autumn, the goal is to have rescued all 4,850 trees in the city.

CCAN hopes the Takoma Park survey and volunteer system will become a model for other city, county and state programs nationwide to save affected trees. And again, you can read the full report here. Volunteers can get involved by signing up here and visiting this website. 

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The Chesapeake Climate Action Network is the first grassroots organization dedicated exclusively to raising awareness about the impacts and solutions associated with global warming in the Chesapeake Bay region. For nearly 20 years, CCAN has been at the center of the fight for clean energy and wise climate policy in Maryland, Virginia, and Washington, D.C.

Climate and Policy Experts Agree: America Can Achieve Biden’s Goal of 100% Clean Electricity by 2035

During one of the earliest sneak peeks into Biden’s plan, experts laid out the political hurdles and roadmap to pass one of the most ambitious climate plans in America’s history

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Wednesday, February 24, 2021

WASHINGTON, DC — Against the backdrop of a brand-new administration and Congress, renowned climate and policy experts today argued that President Joe Biden’s goal of 100% clean electricity by 2035 is not only crucial, but doable and economically sound.

Here’s a link to the webinar recording (Passcode: vTS%65^2).

The five experts who came together to speak at a February 24th webinar entitled “Path to 100%” included Dr. Leah Stokes of Evergreen Action and UC Santa Barbara, Economist Dr. Stephanie Kelton of Stony Brook University and author of “The Deficit Myth”, renowned climate scientist Dr. Michael Mann of Penn State University, Federal Policy Associate Quentin Scott of Chesapeake Climate Action Network and CCAN Action Fund, and Johnathan Williams of Sunrise Movement.

The panel confirmed that, even after four years of Donald Trump, it is not too late to stop climate change. They also agreed that budget deficits should not impede the nation’s ability to take drastic action, right now. And even with a divided Congress, the experts argued that there are still many ways to pass all kinds of ambitious environmental legislation.

President Biden campaigned on a platform of 100% clean electricity by 2035. That goal is at the core of his $1.9 trillion promise to fight climate change with new jobs and environmental justice. Now, leading climate policy experts and advocates are calling on Congress to fulfill that promise by including a federal Clean Electricity Standard in the “Build Back Better” infrastructure package. The package is expected to be introduced in late spring or early summer, and would likely need to pass through reconciliation.

The United Nations has emphasized that countries only have a decade to stop the most catastrophic impacts of climate change. Even now, the U.S. is increasingly getting ravaged by major storms that are destroying entire cities and causing rolling state-wide blackouts. Meanwhile, across the globe, pollution accounts for one in five deaths.

The webinar was sponsored by Chesapeake Climate Action Network, CCAN Action Fund, and Evergreen Action. You can watch a recording of the webinar here (passcode: vTS%65^2).

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The Chesapeake Climate Action Network is the first grassroots organization dedicated exclusively to raising awareness about the impacts and solutions associated with global warming in the Chesapeake Bay region. For nearly 20 years, CCAN has been at the center of the fight for clean energy and wise climate policy in Maryland, Virginia, and Washington, D.C.

Contact: Laura Cofsky, laura@chesapeakeclimate.org, 202-642-9336

Annapolis Sues Big Oil for Climate Fraud and Damages

City Becomes the First State Capital and 25th U.S. Community to Take Big Oil Companies to Court for Lying About Their Role in Climate Change

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: February 23, 2021

ANNAPOLIS, MD – The City of Annapolis last night filed a lawsuit seeking to hold major oil and gas companies accountable for lying to the public about their products’ role in climate change and to recover costs associated with sea-level rise, flooding, and other local climate damages that the companies knew their products would cause. 

Annapolis joins 24 other states and localities, including the City of Baltimore, that have turned to the courts to hold companies like Exxon, Chevron, Shell, and BP accountable for ongoing efforts to lie to the public about their role in causing climate change. It is also the fourth community — after Minnesota, Delaware, and Hoboken, New Jersey — to name the American Petroleum Institute as a defendant. 

Mike Tidwell, executive director of the Chesapeake Climate Action Network, released the following statement: 

“Big Oil knew their products would cause catastrophic climate damages decades ago. Instead of doing the right thing, they continued to lie about it while communities like Annapolis are paying the price. The city’s leaders should be applauded for working to ensure that their residents aren’t stuck with the bill to protect themselves from a problem that Big Oil knowingly caused. 

Richard Wiles, executive director of the Center for Climate Integrity, released the following statement: 

“With this lawsuit, Annapolis joins a growing number of communities across the United States that are turning to the courts to demand that Big Oil companies be held accountable for lying about their leading role in causing climate change. Just like Big Tobacco — another industry that lied to the public to protect their profits — Big Oil should pay for the damage they knew their products would cause.” 

Contact: 

Background on Climate Liability Cases:

Since 2017, 25 communities, including the states of Connecticut, Delaware, Massachusetts, Minnesota, and Rhode Island; the District of Columbia, and more than a dozen city and county governments in California, Colorado, Hawaii, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, South Carolina, and Washington have brought lawsuits under different claims to hold the oil and gas industry accountable for deceiving the public about climate change. Learn about those cases here.

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The Chesapeake Climate Action Network is the first grassroots organization dedicated exclusively to raising awareness about the impacts and solutions associated with global warming in the Chesapeake Bay region. For nearly 20 years, CCAN has been at the center of the fight for clean energy and wise climate policy in Maryland, Virginia, and Washington, D.C.

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The Center for Climate Integrity, a project of the Institute for Governance & Sustainable Development, launched in 2017 to educate the public and policymakers about the massive costs of coping with the damage attributable to global warming and to support efforts to make climate polluters pay their fair share.

For more information on what ExxonMobil and others in the industry knew about climate change and when, check out the Center for Climate Integrity’s “Smoking Guns” document archive or visit PayUpClimatePolluters.org.