Following existing State regulations and U.S. Climate Alliance’s greenhouse gas reduction goals as related to the Paris Agreement, Maryland (MD) is actively working on a plan to reduce its greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions with goals of 25% reductions by 2020 and 40% by 2030. MD’s most recent GHG inventory (2014) reported total GHG emissions of 93.4 million metric tonnes CO2e “on a consumption basis” and net carbon sinks of 11.65 million metric tonnes CO2e (MMTCO2e) for total net GHG emissions of 81.77 MMTCO2e.
Maryland is also developing background documents to assess the feasibility of achieving much greater reductions by 2050. At a June 2018 public hearing, Maryland’s Commission on Climate Change Mitigation Working Group discussed options for reducing GHG emissions from the transportation sector in Maryland which accounts to at least 36% of GHGs emitted in the State. In 2014 MD transportation sector emitted about 33.45 MMTCO2e. In 2014 MD also imported roughly 41% of the electricity it used. MD imports all the gasoline and diesel it uses and has no petroleum production. In 2014 MD also imported roughly 40 % all the electricity it consumed. This imported electricity has a fuel mix of approximately 33% coal, 21% natural gas, and 19% nuclear as of 6/1/2017.
Transportation related initiatives discussed during the hearing included electrical vehicles, land use planning, traffic efficiency measures, and market instruments, among a number of other topics. The economic, population growth, health, and job creation effects were also an important part of the discussion.
During the hearing, Maryland’s Department of the Environment Secretary emphasized the need for innovation, collaboration, and examining different ideas and points of view when thinking about GHG emission reductions in the transport sector. Some participants including GHG Engineering noted that: 1) emission reductions in the transport sector are a recalcitrant worldwide challenge, 2) many countries and regions have been tackling this challenge for several of years, and 3) in most cases transport GHG reduction roadmaps are region specific. — This is important as should explore what lessons can be learned from other states or countries in terms of policy and program factors, etc.
In our opinion, there needs to be more discussion and analysis on the potential role and benefits of renewable and low carbon biofuel production and consumption such as biodiesel, ethanol, and renewable natural gas as part of MD GHG reduction strategy for the transport sector and also as a source of jobs in MD. Also in our opinion the role of natural gas as a transition fuel is important to consider because of its reduce GHG emissions, abundant supply, favorable economics, air quality benefits, etc.
Additional Information Sources
John Mosheim, P.E., CEM is Principal Water + Carbon Sustainability Engineer at GHG Engineering, LLC, a sustainability engineering consultancy located Rockville, Maryland. John can be reached at jam[“at sign”]ghgengineering.com
The above information (this entire post) is not to be considered as any direct or indirect advise or recommendation regarding the topic discussed above, either from the technical, regulatory, or policy perspective(s). The views expressed in this document are those of the author alone. An effort has been made to present information as accurately as possible; however, should any discrepancy be found please contact the author so that the appropriate revisions can be made. The author also wants to note that the above topic is complex the information presented here has been simplified for the purpose of ease of communication.