Maryland House Delegation Presses Gov. Hogan to Take Action on Climate
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressmen Steny H. Hoyer (MD-05), Elijah E. Cummings (MD-07), C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger (MD-02), John Sarbanes (MD-03), John K. Delaney (MD-06), Anthony G. Brown (MD-04) and Jamie Raskin (MD-08) sent a letter today to Governor Larry Hogan, imploring him to help make Maryland a leader in addressing climate change.
The letter comes after President Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Paris Climate Agreement and ahead of Governor Hogan’s trade mission to London and Paris, which begins on Saturday, June 17. The United States joins Syria and Nicaragua – which refused to sign because the agreement did not go far enough – as the only other major countries that are not part of the agreement.
“President Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Paris Climate Agreement completely surrenders America’s leadership position in the international response to climate change,” The Members wrote. “We ask that you vocally and forcefully reject the President’s climate policies and join us in pursuing climate change solutions that support the development of clean energy jobs, are rooted in science and protect future generations.”
“We believe that the growing alliance of state, local and private partners joining in support of the Paris Climate Agreement could benefit from Maryland’s leadership,” the letter continues. “Taking an active role in the global conversation on climate action will burnish our state’s legacy of environmental stewardship and help us protect treasures like the Chesapeake Bay.”
A full copy of the letter is below.
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Dear Governor Hogan:
President Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Paris Climate Agreement completely surrenders America’s leadership position in the international response to climate change. The President has also begun to unwind the Clean Power Plan and is taking steps to undermine fuel economy standards for cars and trucks, both of which are key to transition to the clean energy economy of the future. In spite of the President’s reckless actions, there is still much that Maryland can do to create a cleaner, healthier world for our children. We ask that you vocally and forcefully reject the President’s climate policies and join us in pursuing climate change solutions that support the development of clean energy jobs, are rooted in science, and protect future generations.
As you know, there is a scientific consensus that human-caused climate change is occurring. Since the beginning of the industrial era, global average temperatures have risen by 0.85 degrees Celsius, an unprecedented rate of change compared to the Earth’s previous warming events. To slow this global trend and prevent its harmful impacts, we must reduce greenhouse gas emissions. That is the reason 195 countries joined the Paris Climate Agreement, committing to an ambitious but necessary goal of limiting the global rise in temperature to 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.
The risks of ignoring climate change are obvious. We are already encountering rising sea levels, retreating glaciers, and stronger, more frequent storms. Here in Maryland, recurrent flooding in our vast coastal communities is increasingly common. In Annapolis alone, the number of nuisance floods has doubled since 1990 to approximately 50 times a year. These events are only expected to worsen, with global sea levels projected to rise another one to four feet by 2100. Within the next thirty years, the lifetime of a mortgage, homeowners in Annapolis can expect a flooding event every day of the year. We are proud to see local leaders from both political parties in Maryland being vocal about the reality of climate change and acting to address the impacts. But we can do much more.
The President’s decision to retreat from the Paris Agreement not only ignores science and the well-being of our communities, but it also cedes an important economic advantage represented by clean energy jobs. Striving toward the carbon reduction goals within the Paris Agreement will spark innovative industries and economic growth. We know that Marylanders can compete for the clean energy jobs of the future. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, the solar and wind energy industries employed almost 475,000 people in 2016, and last year the solar workforce increased by 25% and wind employment increased by 32%. Maryland should rededicate itself to policies that keep our workers in the game, regardless of whether the President is content to have other countries seize on that opportunity.
As a member of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), Maryland has already joined eight other states in a cooperative effort to reduce carbon pollution from the power sector while investing in energy efficiency, renewable energy and other programs for consumers. RGGI’s success proves that we can curb carbon pollution, help energy consumers and grow our economy at the same time. As we look beyond the 2020 emissions cap, our region, with Maryland’s leadership, can take bold action to strengthen RGGI with additional carbon pollution reductions by 2030.
Maryland’s Renewable Energy Portfolio Standard (RPS) was recently strengthened by the General Assembly, challenging our state to source one quarter of its electricity needs from renewable sources by 2020. Keeping the RPS on the cutting edge of energy standards will ensure that we expand the market for renewable fuels and reap the benefits of their use. Better fuel diversity promotes greater security for Maryland and the nation, allowing us to meet the needs of consumers while cutting our dependence on fossil fuels from foreign countries. Cutting carbon pollution not only helps in responding to climate change, it improves our air quality, which is critical for the health of our children, the elderly and those with respiratory diseases. As we strive to meet the new standards, we are encouraged by emerging proposals that will continue to raise the bar.
Finally, we believe that the growing alliance of state, local and private partners joining in support of the Paris Climate Agreement could benefit from Maryland’s leadership. Taking an active role in the global conversation on climate action will burnish our state’s legacy of environmental stewardship and help us protect treasures like the Chesapeake Bay.
As Members of Congress, we know there is a need for strong federal action to reduce carbon pollution here at home as we work with our international partners to keep global temperatures from warming by more than 2 degrees Celsius. That is the reason we remain committed to advancing low-carbon energy policies and climate resiliency efforts here in Congress for the benefit of our nation and our state. We believe Maryland can play a consequential role in upholding the goals of the Paris Agreement. We hope you will join us in seizing on that opportunity. We look forward to your response.