We Need to Add More Renewables to Our Energy Mix.
Coal-fired power plants are still the largest source power generation in Maryland, currently about 44%, but they are also the largest source of air pollutants. Right now we are moving toward a natural gas-dominated electricity system, but an over-reliance on natural gas has significant risks and is not a long-term solution to our energy needs alone. Like coal, it is a fossil fuel that generates substantial global warming emissions and has other health and environmental risks.
Nuclear power currently produces about 35% of our electricity in Maryland, and is nearly carbon free, but due to the high cost of construction and siting issues no new generation capacity has come online in decades.
The energy choices we make during this pivotal moment will have huge consequences for our health, our climate, and our economy for decades to come. Renewable energy resources like wind and solar power generate electricity with little or no pollution or global warming emissions.
Maryland Clean Energy Center supports all efforts to aggressively diversify our state energy portfolio to include more renewables including wind, solar, biomass, new biofuels and alternative fuel vehicles.
Consensus is Building on Climate Change.
New survey data by multiple surveys show that a majority of Americans are concerned about climate change.
The Yale Project on Climate Change Communication released an important new interactive mapping tool called "Yale Climate Opinion Maps" (YCOM) and an accompanying peer-reviewed paper in the journal Nature Climate Change. This tool allows users to visualize and explore differences in public opinion about global warming in the United States in unprecedented geographic detail, as this map of public worry about global warming illustrates. As this data shows, 52% of Americans are worried about global warming. But this national number glosses over the enormous geographic diversity in public opinion across the country - diversity that is revealed for the first time in these maps.
Why is this data so important?
Yale undertook this project because most of the action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and prepare for climate impacts is happening at the state and local levels of American society. Yet elected officials, the media, advocates, and educators currently know little about public climate change opinion at these sub-national levels. State and local surveys are costly and time intensive, and as a result most public opinion polling is only done at the national level. The estimates from their model provide a new way to understand and visualize the geographic diversity in public opinion across the country; something that is not feasible using standard survey techniques.
About Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI)
The Northeast and Mid-Atlantic states participating in the second RGGI control period (Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Rhode Island, and Vermont) have implemented the first mandatory market-based regulatory program in the U.S. to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The 2015 RGGI cap is 88.7 million short tons. The RGGI cap then declines 2.5 percent each year until 2020. The RGGI states also include interim adjustments to the RGGI cap to account for banked CO2 allowances. The 2015 RGGI adjusted cap is 66.8 million short tons.
RGGI is composed of individual CO2 budget trading programs in each state, based on each state’s independent legal authority. A CO2 allowance represents a limited authorization to emit one short ton of CO2, as issued by a respective state. A regulated power plant must hold CO2 allowances equal to its emissions for each three-year control period. RGGI’s third control period began on January 1, 2015 and extends through December 31, 2017. For more information visit www.rggi.org
Maryland Leadership and the Environment
As a leader among states in the creation of clean energy jobs and technologies, Maryland needs the commitment of all stakeholders to rally for more renewable energy and the goal of reducing carbon in our atmosphere. Because a core part of our mission at MCEC is an economic one -- creating more clean energy projects and jobs in our state -- we understand that these goals are not mutually exclusive. As we add more renewables to our energy portfolio, it’s a win-win for our economy and the environment.