Measure to Help Address Climate Change in Maryland Advances

By Brian White.

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) — A measure to help address climate change moved forward in Maryland on Tuesday to boost the state’s current goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions from 40% of 2006 levels to 60% by 2030.

The Senate Budget and Taxation Committee voted to send the bill to the full Senate, which is expected to take up the legislation later this week.

The legislation takes a variety of steps to cut greenhouse gas emissions, from increasing the state’s electric vehicle fleet, requiring large buildings to reduce emissions and helping communities disproportionately affected by climate change.

The Senate Education, Health and Environmental Affairs Committee made a significant change to the measure last week to no longer require newly constructed buildings to use electricity for heating and hot water, rather than oil and natural gas. The change was made after heavy opposition from the building industry.

Instead, the Maryland Public Service Commission would study what impact such an electrification process would be and investments that would be needed, if the state decides to move in that direction later. A separate study by the Building Codes Administration in the Maryland Department of Labor would examine the technical side of effectively moving in that direction.