Maryland scores yet another climate change law, plus cranberry bog restoration in Tannersville, MD. Funding for Michigan’s Erie Marsh, and a Denmark/USA partnership aims to reduce water sector CO2 emissions.
Maryland Scores Another Climate Change Law, Bog Restoration in Tannersville, MD, Funding for Michigan’s Erie Marsh, Denmark/USA Partnership Aims to Reduce Water Sector Emissions
MARYLAND SCORES ANOTHER SWEEPING CLIMATE CHANGE LAW
More good news out of Maryland on the climate change front. Last month The Climate Daily reported on three bills that passed the Maryland General Assembly. And here’s news of one more.
Called The Climate Solutions Now Act, it would set the statewide greenhouse gas emission reduction goal to 60% below 2006 levels by 2031 (Previously, the reduction target was 40%.), expand the state’s electrical vehicle fleet, direct millions of dollars to school systems to build net-zero schools and establish a “green bank” that would invest state funds into private projects that reduce gas emissions, among many other provisions.
Despite Governor Larry Hogan declining to sign the legislation, the bill will pass into law. Governor Hogan opposed that and other measures in the earlier version saying it was a “reckless and controversial energy tax bill” that would burden families and small businesses.”
Sen. Paul G. Pinsky (D-Prince George’s), the Senate’s chief architect on the bill, said,“Internationally, everyone’s waiting for someone else to do something. People are on the sidelines watching history rather than attempting to shape history. … Clearly we can’t get it through Congress. And that’s a mess. So I think it calls on the states to take action.”
According to the National Conference onState Legislatures, Maryland’s goals are in line with policies of some 16 other states. In fact, with the bill’s passage, Of the 11 states with goals to become carbon neutral, Maryland would become the third to reach that milestone as soon as 2045, according to the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions, an environmental policy think tank. (California and Virginia have also set that goal.)
Why does it matter to us? According to an EPA snapshot of Maryland, climate change is causing sea level rise “more rapidly in Maryland than in most coastal areas because the land is sinking. If the oceans and atmosphere continue to warm, sea level along the Maryland coast is likely to rise sixteen inches to four feet in the next century.”
CRANBERRY BOG RESTORATION BEGINS IN TANNERSVILLE
During March and April, students from the University of Maryland along with The Nature Conservancy (TNC) cleared a section of a bog in a restoration project at the Tannersville Cranberry Bog Preserve. By removing overgrown and overcrowded vegetation, native plants like orchids, bog rosemary and cranberry plants can grow back. These plants feed the bog copper butterfly.
Drained peatlands are responsible for approximately 5% of global man-made greenhouse gas emissions. Restoring them goes a long way to help keep the global temperature increase below approximately 2.7 degrees Fahrenheit. The project was organized by John Merlo-Coyne, biology student at the University of Maryland. He was inspired to organize the trip after visiting another bog in Maryland
Why does The Tannersville Cranberry Bog Preserve matter to us? Restoring bogs contributes to conservation and restoration of plant, insect and animal species, meaning increased biodiversity. Increasing biodiversity is a key weapon in fighting climate change.
FUNDING AWARDED FOR MARSH RESTORATION IN MICHIGAN’S ERIE MARSH
The Detroit energy foundation, DTE Foundation, last month awarded The Nature Conservancy (TNC) a $1 million grant toward urban green infrastructure projects. One of the projects being funded through the grant is the restoration of the Erie Marsh, one of the largest coastal wetlands on Lake Erie.
Michigan is experiencing more extreme rainfall and flooding due to climate change, which has led to waterlogged crops and combined sewage overflows (CSOs). CSOs are when rainwater floods the sewer, causing it to overflow and flood. Marshes help to reduce floods by absorbing and storing water like a sponge. They act as a filtering agent, cleaning rain runoff from nitrogen and phosphorus which cause algal blooms that choke plant life in lakes and rivers.
Some of the other projects the grant will support are:
- Whitefish research and restocking in western and northern Michigan.
- Infrastructure to handle stormwater to protect water quality
- Rain gardens and rain barrels for rainwater collection from roofs
- Street drains that direct stormwater to curbside trees and other landscaping
Why does the Erie Marsh restoration matter to us? Helen Taylor, TNC’s Michigan state director explains, “The sheer scope of their financial commitment will allow us to protect and enhance natural attributes in our cities, rivers and lakes.” TNC had begun restoration of the Erie Marsh back in 2011.
DENMARK/USA PARTNERSHIP AIMS TO REDUCE WATER SECTOR CO2 EMISSIONS
Speaking of wastewater initiatives to save the climate, The Danish Water and Wastewater Association (DANVA) this month signed an agreement with the U.S. Water Alliance and the Embassy of Denmark in Washington to promote cross-cultural learning about cutting greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from its water management and operations.
The EPA estimates that energy consumption used for drinking water and wastewater services emits more than 45 million tons of GHG annually in the U.S. alone. The agreement enumerates that the parties will learn together about regulatory frameworks for GHG reductions in water, about national benchmarking systems and about Paris Agreement models for climate action through water.
It will also facilitate learning around carbon sequestration, emissions reductions and offsets as well as energy optimization. Why does this partnership matter to us? Henrik Bramsen Hahn, Deputy Chief of Mission at the Embassy of Denmark in D.C., said, “The climate crisis does not recognize borders, and global partnerships are crucial in the effort to mitigate climate change.”