Maryland is officially the US state with the most aggressive climate change target. It passed a law called the Climate Solutions Now Act of 2022 that targets net-zero carbon by 2045 and takes decisive action on building decarbonization.
Maryland increased its greenhouse gas emissions reduction target to 60% compared to 2006 levels by 2031 vs the previous target of a 40% cut by 2030. The deadline for true net zero emissions is moved to 2045 which is more ambitious than other states like New York, California, and Washington.
One of the main reasons why the law was passed is that Maryland Republican Governor Larry Hogan did not take action to stop the bill on Friday. It was passed by veto-proof majorities in the state’s Democratic-controlled legislature, which normally would have been easy to overturn if a veto was attempted.
Republican Hogan criticized the bill claiming it is a “reckless and controversial energy tax” on Maryland residents at a time of rising energy prices. Other Republicans also argued that the state isn’t large enough to make an appreciable dent in global warming and should not take on the costs of transitioning the state economy to net-zero emissions.
According to a nonpartisan analysis of the bill’s costs and benefits, it was found that it is possible to increase energy costs in the short term but long-term energy savings would be larger and benefits will outweigh short-term higher prices.
The analysis also states expenses coming from local risks of climate change like sea-level rise, more extreme storms, heatwaves and drought. Consequences from all of these are seen as strong enough reasons to be acted at state level to curb emissions.
“It really is starting with small steps… The only way for us to move forward is to do what we can do in our state,” said state Sen. Paul Pinsky, Maryland climate change bill’s sponsor.