Maryland’s fight against climate change is not only an environmental challenge - it’s a public health crisis and financial burden. Maryland’s healthcare workforce is on the front lines of the climate crisis where they are treating patients experiencing heat stroke, injured in flooding events, or children and adults rushed to the emergency room during asthma attacks worsened by poor air quality on high heat days. We are also recognizing emerging threats, like the spread of diseases carried by bugs like mosquitoes and ticks to new places as their habitats expand with increasing temperatures. Additionally, adverse birth outcomes, like stillbirth and preterm birth, are on the rise as a result of heat and air pollution. These are alarming trends that we must address.
Our climate-related health issues are also hitting Maryland residents in the wallet, not just because of financially disastrous medical bills, but from the continued rise in food costs associated with problems like water scarcity and a loss of arable land. As we see affordable, equitable access to fresh, nutritious food becoming increasingly difficult, we will continue to see a rise in the long term health consequences of poor nutrition. The built environment can also make us sick, and many of us spend most of our time indoors where pollutants tend to be found. Our continued reliance on fossil fuels for energy is polluting our air, inside our homes as well as outside. But it doesn’t have to be this way.
Governor Moore will release a final plan by the end of the year for how Maryland will reduce our greenhouse gas emissions 60% by 2031, as required by state law. Issuing a strong climate plan that centers justice and equity is critical for a healthier future. Key tenants of the plan should, at a minimum, include details on some of the proposals outlined in this summer’s interim report: economywide cap and invest; 100% clean power by 2035; all-electric new building standards; zero-emission appliance standards; clean heat standards; advanced clean fleets; investments to reduce vehicle miles traveled; and additional investments, paid for with cap and invest revenue, to reduce emissions from each sector of the economy.
Climate solutions will take investments from federal, state, public and private sources to meet the challenge ahead, and those investments will help reduce climate pollution and thereby, yield health savings, especially for communities currently underserved by state resources and overburdened by environmental pollution.
Governor Moore has the opportunity to reinforce Maryland as a climate leader by issuing a strong climate plan, and committing to a funding mechanism that provides significant resources in order to “get it done by ‘31″ while significantly reducing harmful pollutants. Click here to learn more and show your support: marylandclimateplan.com.