Fighting Climate Change
to Secure a Sustainable Future for Maryland
How may climate change affect Maryland’s environment?
Maryland has experienced changes in its climate over the last century and on the whole, the State is experiencing warmer winters and summers, wetter autumns and springs, and drier summers. Over the next century, scientists expect that these trends will continue but become exacerbated by a changing climate caused by an accelerating release of greenhouse gas emissions over and above the natural emissions from sources such as volcanoes and the sun.
The effects of climate change in Maryland will be felt across all regions and sectors of the state. Farmers should expect increased water stress; urban residents may experience hotter summers and more flooding; coastal communities will likely lose hundreds of miles of shoreline to sea level rise; species will shift; and Chesapeake Bay restoration will become more complicated as waters warm and rainfall patterns shift.
What is Maryland doing to address the problem?
Because of the potential risk to Maryland’s citizens, ecosystems, and infrastructure, the State is leading the way in addressing greenhouse gas emissions and preparing communities for the impacts of climate change. Maryland’s Greenhouse Gas Reduction Act commits the State to reducing its greenhouse gas emissions by 25 percent by 2020. Part of the O’Malley-Brown Administration’s Smart, Green, and Growing legislative package, the 2009 legislation makes Maryland a national leader on reducing greenhouse gases.
What is DNR doing?
DNR has the lead role among State agencies in advancing the scientific understanding of Maryland’s vulnerability to climate change, and in advocating for sound planning to avoid or minimize the anticipated impacts. DNR’s Policy: Building Resilience to Climate Change guides the Department’s investments in and management of land, resources and assets to better understand, mitigate and adapt to climate change. The policy establishes practices and procedures related to new land investments, facility siting and design, habitat restoration, government operations, research and monitoring, resource planning and advocacy. Click here to learn more about how DNR is implementing this policy.
At the State-level, DNR is currently coordinating development and implementation of the Comprehensive Strategy for Reducing Maryland's Vulnerability to Climate Change – a key component of Maryland’s Climate Action Plan. An update on the State’s current climate change adaptation planning efforts is included in Maryland’s 2011 Draft Greenhouse Gas Reduction Plan.
What you can do?
Small lifestyle changes we each can take accumulate significantly to reducing air pollution that causes climate change and preparing for its impact. Simple things like conserving energy at home and work; carpooling, walking or bicycling to work; and planting a tree make a real difference in our neighborhoods for both people and wildlife. Individuals living in the coastal zone should utilize “living shoreline” practices that combine marsh plantings with sills, groin fields or breakwaters to remedy shore erosion problems. If you are building or rebuilding in the coastal floodplain, elevate your home or business 2 or more feet above the 100-year base flood elevation. Families should also develop a personal emergency response plan in preparation of hurricanes, heat waves and vector-borne illness. Click here for more helpful tips on what you can do to prevent climate change.
News & Events
- Governor O'Malley Signs Executive Order Helping State Prepare for Cimate Change and Extreme Weather
- Climate Change and "Coast Smart" Construction Executive Order
- MDE releases 2011 GGRA Draft Plan
- Coastal Services Feature Story: Maryland is Turning Plans into Action
- Chesapeake Journal: Sea Level along Chesapeake Rising than efforts to Mitigate it
- Coastal Climate Adaptation Blog
A Forest Carbon Sequestration Pilot Program
To lead by example, the Maryland Department of Natural Resources is currently implementing a plan to plant and monitor carbon sequestration of 186.5 acres of forest on non-forested land. This project is offsetting a significant portion of the agency’s greenhouse gas emissions. The planting complements DNR’s effort to accelerate progress towards pending forest protection goals associated with the Chesapeake Bay Agreement as well as the agency’s commitments under Maryland’s Greenhouse Gas Reduction Act. Click here to learn more about this project.