Maryland 623

cals and scientific instruments, and mining is primarily for crushed stone.

impact of climate change

Maryland has already experienced rising sea levels (7 in. or 18 cm. per century in Baltimore) and beach erosion. Climate models vary on temperature increases for Maryland, from 1-7 degrees F (1.8-12.6 degrees C) in spring, and from 2-9 degrees F (3.6-16.2 degrees C)in summer, autumn, and winter by the end of the century. Potential risks include rising sea levels (affecting barrier islands, developed ocean front, the eastern shore of the Chesapeake Bay with freshwater and salt marshes, causing flooding, loss of coastal wetlands, beach erosion, saltwater contamination of drinking water, and damage/decreasing stability of low-lying property and infrastructure), decreased water supplies, population displacement, changes in food production with agriculture improving in cooler climates and declining in warmer climates, and change in rain pattern to downpours with the potential for flash flooding and health risks of certain infectious diseases from water contamination or disease-carrying vectors such as mosquitoes, ticks, and rodents. Warmer temperatures can cause heat-related illnesses and lead to higher concentrations of ground-level ozone pollution, causing respiratory illnesses (diminished lung function, asthma and respiratory inflammation), especially in cities with smog, like Baltimore and the suburbs of Washington, D.C.

human-induced contributions

Based on energy consumption data from the Energy Information Administration, Maryland's total carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuel combustion in million metric tons for 2004 was 81.36, made up of contributions by source from: commercial, 5.00; industrial, 7.80; residential, 7.13; transportation, 31.01; and electric power, 30.42. Maryland passed legislation to join the New England and some mid-Atlantic states in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), a mandatory cap-and-trade program. Carbon emissions from power plants will be capped at current level, 2009-15, and will be incrementally reduced by 10 percent before 2019.

The governor of Maryland established the Climate Change Commission (MCCC) on April 20, 2007 by executive order. The commission is made up of members of the Maryland Department of the Environment, the Maryland Energy Administration, and others affected by potential initiatives (such as businesses and energy providers) to assess climate change impact, develop a strategy for greenhouse gas and carbon footprint reduction, and recommend actions for reducing vulnerability to risks associated with climate change. Maryland joined the Climate Registry, a voluntary national initiative to track, verify, and report greenhouse gas emissions, with acceptance of data from state agencies, corporations, and educational institutions beginning in January of 2008.

Maryland provides tax credits for commercial developers meeting certain energy-efficiency standards, for generating and selling electricity from biomass, and for purchasing electric or hybrid vehicles. Additional legislation new in 2007 includes the Maryland Clean Cars Act, requiring stronger emissions regulations. The Maryland Green Council is tasked with advising policy makers on using environmentally friendly technology in future construction projects, and the Storm-water Management Act of 2007 will improve management of storm water runoff. On a local level, the city of Annapolis has created several environmental initiatives, including a commitment to replace the city vehicle fleet and public transit vehicles with alternative fuel vehicles and to search for renewable energy options.

The University of Maryland is setting an example for public and private sectors; the president of the university joined other college presidents and chancellors around the country in taking a community leadership role in minimizing global warming emissions. In addition to the Center for Integrative Environmental Research, the university is assisting regionally in understanding the complex challenges of global warming and developing information and research to supply to policy makers like the MCCC for creating strategies to mitigate global warming.

sEE ALsO: Salinity; Sea Level, Rising; University of Maryland.

BIBLIOGRAPHY. Environmental Protection Agency, www. epa.gov (cited November 2007); Environment Maryland, www.environmentmaryland.org (cited November 2007); Maryland Climate Change Commission, www.mde.state. md.us/air/mccc (cited November 2007); National Wildlife Federation, www.nwf.org (cited November 2007).

Lyn Michaud Independent Scholar

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