Md. greenhouse gas reduction plan released (Julia Rentsch)

Above this story is a photo of an oil refinery (?) belching a heavy plume of black smoke into the atmosphere, no indication of the date or the location other than attribution to GETTY IMAGES. The caption under the picture: “Maryland has released a plan to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 44% by 2030.”

The plan was prepared by the Maryland Department of Environment (MDE).
It refers to greenhouse gas emissions, not carbon emissions, which is obviously erroneous unless MD is planning to control the emission of water vapor (the primary greenhouse gas in the atmosphere). MD law also apparently refers to greenhouse gas emissions, requiring a plan for at least a 40% reduction.

One of the plan’s goals is said to be that MD “will use 100% clean electricity by 2040.” Investments are called for in energy efficiency, transportation and renewable energy. It is intended to encourage widespread adoption of electric vehicles and improved management of farms and forests.

It is estimated that the plan will create up to $11.5B in increased economic output in MD and 11,000 job years (on a one year of one job basis). Other benefits according the plan include $0.6B in avoided deaths and $4.3B in avoided climate damages. However, the Chesapeake Climate Action Network has “panned the plan for being ‘late and incomplete.” By law the plan was supposed to have been submitted by 2019, so it’s purportedly being turned in almost a year late. Also, according to the CCAN, many details are fuzzy, etc., raising questions about Governor Hogan’s “seriousness in truly tackling the climate crisis.”

One specific is the absence of an accounting for methane pollution from Maryland’s use of energy derived from fracked gas. By counting fracked gas as clean energy, says CCAN, the governor “dramatically underestimates the atmospheric harm that comes from [its] use.”

MDE’s secretary, Ben Grumbles, responds that the draft plan benefitted from the extra time that was taken to, among other things, see “what would happen on the Renewable Energy Portfolio Standard,” listen to community concerns, and produce “900 pages of solid data and actions to make real and lasting progress.”

Additional comments on the proposed plan can be sent to climate.change@maryland.gov.

What about the effect on electric power costs? What alternatives were considered, e.g., nuclear power?
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