Maryland earns a less-than-satisfactory grade of C– for progress in adopting clean energy and putting the brakes on global climate change. At the head of the domestic class are California, Massachusetts and Oregon. Internationally, the United Kingdom, Germany and Sweden are setting the pace.
Top among the things we could do better is developing a clean energy economy.
Almost half of the roughly $20 billion spent annually on energy does not stay in state, going instead to support jobs and economic growth in other states and countries according to Energize Maryland’s 2018 Maryland Climate and Clean Energy Report.
Most clean energy jobs in Maryland do not provide wages, health insurance, retirement and other benefits at levels equivalent to work in fossil-fueled power plants, Energize Maryland reports.
In terms of production, no more than six percent of our electricity, heating, cooling, industrial processes and transportation modes and systems are currently fueled by clean, renewable energy sources. Our electricity generation facilities are few and linked to non-renewable fuels.
In terms of climate change, our policy leaders in counties, municipalities and state agencies are behind the curve in preparing for the costs and risks of extreme weather, flooding and sea-level rise.
Given those deficits, Energize Maryland reports that we’re unlikely to meet our own and federal standards of reduction by 2020 and 2030.
Keeping our grade passable, if not proud, is our improved air quality over the last two decades. Otherwise, we’ve got a lot of work to do.
The report is authored by David Costello, a former deputy secretary with Maryland’s Department of the Environment, and supported by a 16-member advisory board.