The Chesapeake Bay Foundation is supporting a package of three bills being debated by the Baltimore City Council that would help reduce some of the harmful effects of climate change.
The bills would do the following:
- Convert half the city’s fleet of vehicles to zero-emission by 2030 and the entire fleet by 2040. Zero-emission vehicles, in this case, would include plug-in hybrids and battery-powered electric vehicles. (Ordinance 21-0159)
- Update the building code to require reflective, solar, or green roofs on new buildings—including additions to existing buildings. (Ordinance 21-0160)
- Require Baltimore City government operations to be net-zero emissions by 2050. City leaders would need to identify ways to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from city agencies and programs or offset them with environmentally beneficial practices. (Ordinance 21-0161)
The City Council is also considering a non-binding resolution to make the city carbon-neutral by 2050. (Resolution 21-0075R)
In recent years Baltimore residents have experienced record rainfall amounts, strong storms that flood and cripple city infrastructure, and sweltering heat islands in underserved areas where temperatures rise 10 to 20 degrees more than surrounding neighborhoods due to a lack of natural landscape.
If enacted, Baltimore would join a growing list of U.S. cities that are attempting to address problems fueled by climate change. However, a 2020 study of those cities’ progress so far by the Brookings Institution has found that about two-thirds of cities with serious climate pledges have fallen short of interim targets to reduce emissions. In Baltimore, implementing measures on-the-ground will be critical to reach the important climate goals that could be set soon by the City Council.
Chesapeake Bay Foundation’s Urban and Community Resilience Manager Julieta Rodrigo issued the following statement in support of the climate-related legislation:
“We need both actions and goals as we adapt to and fight against climate change. We’re pleased to see the Baltimore City Council proposing concrete items such as electrifying the city’s vehicle fleet and updating the building code. These measures, if done in a timely manner and enforced, will reduce fossil fuel use and prevent heat island effects.”