New Maryland Climate Adaptation Report Card Finds Gaps In Addressing Climate Change Risks

Today, a new report card was released on Maryland’s climate adaptation progress. The report, issued by the University of Maryland Center of Environmental Science in partnership with Maryland’s Department of Natural Resources, provides a snapshot of several indicators that can be used to evaluate the state’s work to protect residents against the harmful effects of climate change.
 
The report gave the state a B- overall in its ongoing efforts to adapt to the rising temperatures, stronger storms, and increased flooding already being experienced due to climate change. However, the review also described several shortfalls that, if not addressed, could lead to more significant problems.

In response to the report, CBF Senior Maryland Scientist Doug Myers issued the following statement:

“This report represents an important first step toward helping citizens and government leaders understand the significant risks we face from climate change in Maryland. Establishing indicators, collecting data about them, and evaluating them honestly is necessary as Maryland works to adapt its thousands of miles of coastline to increasing sea levels and stronger storms. 
 
“However, the report points out significant data gaps and lack of funding in reference to specific indicators and goals. For example, more public outreach is needed for residents to understand their flood risks and the report notes there are critical facilities such as utilities and emergency services inside high-risk flood areas. And while the report found plans are in place to guide state agencies and local governments in adapting to the changing climate, in many cases neither goals nor adequate funding are paired with those plans to implement them.
 
“Even in the best-case scenario, in which greenhouse gas emissions are significantly reduced, sea levels in the Maryland region are predicted to rise 3 feet by 2100—which would result in losses of coastal properties statewide. Given this, we must act now by preserving forests, expanding wetlands, planting trees, and investing in green infrastructure such as rain gardens, permeable pavement, and green roofs to protect residents long-term. This year, we’re urging the General Assembly to prioritize funding for these natural filters and green infrastructure projects that reduce greenhouse gas emissions and flood risks.”  


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A.J. Metcalf

Former Maryland Media & Communications Coordinator, CBF


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