Cheryl Arney held up a picture of her granddaughter in a crowded room in the Patterson Park Library in Baltimore City. As she held up the photo of a young smiling girl she stated, “I am here because of her — this is her century and we must protect the Earth for her.” Cheryl was one of 21 people who testified in front of the Maryland Climate Commission.
The Maryland Climate Commission — a stakeholder group of government, industry, and nonprofits including Chesapeake Climate Action Network — are working to get public input on Maryland’s Climate Action Plan.
The Baltimore City meeting which took place on Tuesday, July 14th was the first in a series of public forums to be held on climate change. More than twenty activists and concerned citizens said they want to see more aggressive action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and increase usage of clean, efficient energy in Maryland.
On November 15th, the commission will release a report to the General Assembly with recommendations about next steps for climate action in Maryland, and the purpose of these listening sessions is to help inform that report.
CCAN and our allies have been encouraging activists to attend these sessions, and this kickoff event was a great success! Leaders from the faith community, environmental groups, labor organizations, low-income advocates, and several concerned citizens packed the room and delivered a clear message to the commission. They said they want the state to stay on course to achieve the science-based carbon cuts required by the Maryland Greenhouse Gas Reduction Act of 2009. That law needs to be renewed in 2016 by the General Assembly. Many of those present said lawmakers should not only renew but also strengthen the landmark law.
Several activists also referred to the state’s clean electricity standard (the Renewable Portfolio Standard or RPS), saying it should be increased to at least a 25% by 2020 standard. With the RPS too, many activists urged the commission to consider going even beyond 25% by 2020. Many activists also addressed the importance of statewide energy efficiency measures, again encouraging decision makers to strengthen existing goals.
There are several other Commission hearings planned across the state:
- Frostburg – UMCES Appalachian Laboratory – 7/28, 6pm
- Avenue – All Saints Episcopal Parish Hall – 8/4, 6pm
- Largo – PG County Department of Environment Resources – 8/6, 6pm