ANNAPOLIS, MD – In a very disappointing turn of events for Maryland’s climate leaders and residents alike, legislators failed to pass the groundbreaking “Climate Solutions Now” Act (SB 414/HB 583). The bill, which was co-sponsored by Senator Paul Pinsky (D-Prince Georges) and Delegate Dana Stein (D-Baltimore), as introduced would have mandated a 60% reduction in emissions, based on 2006 levels, by 2030, and net zero by 2045. The bill as introduced would have also created new good-paying jobs, increased the state’s energy efficiency targets, and required the state to buy electric vehicles.
CCAN Action Fund’s Federal and Maryland Policy Director Jamie DeMarco’s statement on this vote:
“We are deeply disappointed that the “Climate Solutions Now” Act did not pass the Maryland General Assembly this year. This is the second year in a row that climate goal-setting bills did not advance. As introduced, this legislation would have put Maryland on a course to a 60% economy-wide reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 and net zero emissions by 2045. It would have planted five million trees — with two thirds of the funding going to urban, historically redlined or economically disadvantaged communities, made our buildings more efficient, built net-zero schools, deployed more electric vehicles, and required that we invest most in communities that we have invested in the least.
“While we commend the two chambers for passing other legislation that had many of the bill’s components (electric buses, trees, etc), a long-term goal is important for setting the state on a course to net zero and implementing greenhouse gas reductions. Fundamentally, “Climate Solutions Now” was a goal-setting bill. Whether or not we set an emissions goal this year, we still need to come back next year with the specific, ambitious, enforceable policies that will actually achieve that goal. Even though it is not recognized by Maryland law, 60% by 2030 remains what is required for wealthy states in wealthy nations, based on the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change in order for global temperatures to rise less than 1.5 degrees celsius. This kind of emissions reduction remains our goal, and we look forward to working with legislators to achieve it.”
UPDATE JUNE 3, 2021:
In a surprising turn of events, Governor Larry Hogan decided not to veto the “Zero-Emission Bus Transition” Act (SB 137) and the “Tree Solutions Now” Act (HB 991), instead allowing them to become law on May 28th. These bills included key provisions from the “Climate Solutions Now” Act (SB 414/HB 583), which failed to pass during Maryland’s legislative session this year. The new laws will require the state to plant five million trees over the next eight years, and will ban the purchase of buses that are not zero-emission.
CCAN Action Fund applauds Senator Craig Zucker (D-Montgomery) and Delegate Marc Korman (D-Montgomery) for being the lead sponsors of the “Zero-Emission Bus Transition” Act, and Delegate James Gilchrist (D-Montgomery) for being the lead sponsor of the “Tree Solutions Now” Act. Neither bill could have become law without the tremendous leadership of Chairman Paul Pinsky (D-Prince Georges) who worked hard to ensure both bills made it out of the Education, Health, and Environmental Affairs Committee.
CCAN Action Fund’s Federal and Maryland Policy Director Jamie DeMarco’s statement on these key pieces of legislation passing:
“This is great news. While we feel a lot of disappointment around the campaign to pass the “Climate Solutions Now” Act, because of CCAN Action Fund’s work and the work of our allies, Maryland just passed two critical pieces of climate legislation.
The state will now plant five million trees over eight years, with two thirds of the tree-planting funding going to urban, historically-redlined and economically-disadvantaged areas. This policy will explicitly help communities that have suffered from racist policies and significantly impact people’s everyday lives. By planting trees in urban areas, this bill will increase home values, reduce crime, lessen the heat island effect, create jobs, and improve quality of life.
Additionally, all new Maryland State contracts to purchase buses must be for zero emission varieties. This is a huge win for communities whose residents live near bus terminals and breathe in fumes from idle engines. However, the bill does allow for the purchase of alternative fuel buses if a zero emission bus is not able to meet the demands.
Neither of these policies reach the scale of anti-racist climate policy we need to see coming out of Annapolis. But they are victories that lawmakers in Annapolis and advocates should feel proud of. These victories would not have happened without us.”
The CCAN Action Fund is the advocacy arm of the Chesapeake Climate Action Network, the oldest and largest grassroots organization dedicated exclusively to raising awareness about the impacts and solutions associated with global warming in the Chesapeake Bay region. For almost 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.