Climate Corner: Acting Locally
A working group of the Maryland Commission on Climate Change met today in Reisterstown, as reported by AP (via Baltimore's WJZ-TV), to work on its recommendations for the state's response to global warming. Gov. O'Malley established the Commission via executive order last April to "undertake an assessment of climate change impacts, calculate Maryland's carbon footprint, and investigate climate change dynamics." In addition, the group is to make recommendations for reducing the state's greenhouse gas emissions and mitigating the effects of climate change on the state, with particular emphasis on coastal hazards.
The Commission issued a preliminary report a couple of weeks ago and is scheduled to present its final recommendations in April. The Interim Report recommended "early, aggressive GHG reduction goals with specific time frames", including a 90% reduction from 2006 levels by 2050. Jonathan Gibralter, president of Frostburg State University and a member of the Greenhouse Gas and Carbon Mitigation Working Group, discussed some implications of the report in a recent op-ed piece in the Hagerstown Herald.
The length of a coastline depends on how you measure it. (Geek alert: original source here and also in full text via pdf.) The Anne Arundel Conference and Visitors Bureau is a little hyperbolic when it claims that Maryland's miles of coastline are "more than any other state", but the Maryland Coastal Program figure of 7000 miles is certainly way up there, especially when compared to the total land area. About one-eighth of the state's land area is recognized as a Special Flood Hazard Area, and 69% of the coast is undergoing erosion. Maryland is fourth among states with percentage of land below 1.5 meters elevation (6.1%), behind only Louisiana, Florida, and Delaware.
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