Maryland’s Proposed Greenhouse Gas Reduction Plan – Highlights

“With 3,100 miles of shoreline, Maryland is one of the states potentially most vulnerable to sea-level rise associated with climate change. Rising sea levels and increased storm intensity could have devastating and far-reaching impacts on the Atlantic coast…”(1)

In 2016, Maryland reauthorized the 2009 Greenhouse Gas Reduction Act(2). The reauthorization mandates statewide greenhouse gas (GHG) emission reductions of 40% from 2006 levels by 2030(3) and sets higher reduction goals by 2050. The State’s main contributors of GHG emissions (2014) are transportation and electricity generation. With the exception of the manufacturing sector(4), most organizations would be subject to direct GHG emission reduction measure(s).

The Maryland Commission on Climate Change (MCCC), led by the Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE), is a multi stakeholder group tasked with developing the state’s greenhouse gas reduction plan. It is anticipated that the plan will impact many business sectors.

Important Provisions
The 2016 Act has a number of key statutory deadlines including(5):

1) By December 31, 2018: MDE must submit a proposed greenhouse gas reduction plan (Proposed Plan) to the Governor and General Assembly and make it available for public comment (Not released yet).
2) By December 31, 2019: MDE shall adopt a final plan (Final Plan) that reduces statewide GHG emissions by 40% by 2030.(6)

During 2018 the MCCC held several planning meetings and GHG Engineering, LLC participated in and provided recommendations on low carbon technology pathways. These meetings also enabled us to develop a reasonable understanding of potential mitigation measures that may become part of the Proposed Plan and which ones are less favored.

Next Steps?
If your organization does not like surprises, consider developing an understanding of potential risks and opportunities associated with this far reaching legislation and the Proposed Plan. Options to consider:

  1. Develop an understanding of the nature and scope of the 2016 Act and related plans.
  2. Identify and rank potential risks and opportunities.
  3. Assessment how these risks and opportunities could impact your business, exposure.
  4. Decide what actions are needed, if any at this time.
  5. Perform other assessments(7) based on the anticipated level of exposure and opportunities8.

For assistance please contact John Mosheim at 443-370-five nine five six or jam[at]

2) Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE) has primary responsibility for implementation of the Act’s provisions.
3) Md. ENVIRONMENT Code Ann. § 2-1204.1.
4) Md. ENVIRONMENT Code Ann. § 2-1205.
5) Id.
6) In addition, the plans are required to recognize the finding by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change that developed countries will need to reduce GHG “emissions by between 80% and 95% from 1990 levels by 2050.” Id.
7) Vulnerability, resilience, etc.
8) The information in this document is for illustration purposes only. It does reflect the final contents of MD’s proposed Greenhouse Gas Reduction Plan (not available yet) and is not to be taken as any form of legal or technical advice.

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