The bill, which aims for zero greenhouse emissions by 2045, is supported by a broad coalition of 73 Maryland organizations
Annapolis, MD — With dangerous climate impacts intensifying across Maryland — and a new political shift in Washington — legislative leaders in Annapolis are proposing a new state law to significantly strengthen Maryland’s climate response policies. The primary sponsors of the “Climate Solutions Now Act” are Senator Paul Pinsky (D-Prince Georges) and Delegate Dana Stein (D-Baltimore County), both of whom are noted environmental legislators.
“The Hogan administration has been all talk and no action,” Senator Paul Pinsky said. “This bill will enact climate solutions now and force us to take the climate crisis seriously.”
After four years of climate denial from the Trump Administration, states nationwide continue to deepen their greenhouse gas reduction commitments. The Pinsky-Stein bill will create the strongest pollution reduction targets in Maryland history. These reductions correspond to the latest global science while the bill creates specific action steps that will improve public health and protect our economy.
The Climate Solutions Now Act will put Maryland on a course to have net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2045, while investing specifically in frontline communities that have been hurt the worst by pollution and other environmental hazards. The bill will also require the electrification of the state fleet, reduction of emissions from government buildings, and the planting of five million trees over 10 years. By the year 2030, the state would have to cut emissions 60% below 2006 levels.
“Cars and trucks are now the biggest source of climate pollution in Maryland,” Delegate Stein said. “Our government can show the way to cleaner vehicles by electrifying the state fleet of passenger buses, and that’s exactly what this bill does.”
“Climate Solutions Now requires all future climate legislation to center equity and it leads by example,” Delegate Tony Bridges said. “Two thirds of all the money spent to plant trees in this legislation will go to urban, historically redlined or economically distressed areas.”
The bill is also supported by a broad Maryland coalition which includes businesses, faith leaders, environmental justice groups, and climate advocates.
“Fossil fuel pollution makes us more likely to die from COVID,” Maryland and Federal Policy Director Jamie DeMarco of Chesapeake Climate Action Network said. “So now more than ever, Marylanders overwhelmingly support what’s in the Climate Solutions Now Bill, because we all need clean air.”
Pollution is an especially pressing problem as we continue to fight a pandemic. Air pollution that warms the planet — from coal-fired power plants to gas heating in our homes to motor fuels — already kills nearly two thousand Marylanders every year (1,893 in 2018) by making them more prone to respiratory and cardiovascular disease. But a Harvard study released in April found that just a small increase in exposure to air pollution makes someone more likely to die from COVID-19.
“Public health experts agree that as climate change worsens, we are at even higher risk of severe pandemics,” Political Organizer Bridgette Dumais of 1199 SEIU said. “Our union supports the Climate Solutions Act of 2021 because lowering greenhouse gas emissions is critical for protecting our planet, a necessary public health measure, and will ensure a just transition to Green Energy.”
“The COVID-19 pandemic, climate change, and health inequities are all interconnected and should not be treated as single-issues by our elected officials,” Climate & Health Program Manager Cara Cook (MS, RN, AHN-BC) of the Maryland Public Health Association said. “We need to prioritize public health and ensure a holistic and equitable response to the pandemic – one way we do that is by acting on climate.”
Maryland is one of the most vulnerable states in the country to climate change. It’s the state with the second-most tidal shore communities at risk of flooding. Ellicott City, which is not on the shoreline, experienced two “one-thousand year floods” in barely two years, and had to be completely rebuilt twice.
A tentative hearing date for the bill is set for January 28th. In the meantime, sponsors are working with the coalition to continue growing support for the proposed legislation.
CCAN Action Fund is the grassroots arm of the Chesapeake Climate Action Network, the first grassroots organization dedicated exclusively to raising awareness about the impacts and solutions associated with global warming in the Chesapeake Bay region. For 17 years, CCAN has been at the center of the fight for clean energy and wise climate policy in Maryland, Virginia, and Washington, D.C.
For immediate release
January 12, 2021
Jamie DeMarco, CCAN Action Fund, email@example.com, 443-845-5601
Laura Cofsky, CCAN Action Fund, firstname.lastname@example.org, 202-642-9336
AJ Metcalf, Chesapeake Bay Foundation, email@example.com, 443-482-2023