Maryland is vulnerable to climate change, presenting risks to people, stressing infrastructure and causing agricultural and ecological impacts
Maryland’s climate has already warmed by one to two degrees Fahrenheit in the last century. Increasing variability in precipitation will likely cause more floods and droughts. The sea is rising about one inch every seven to eight years, increasing saltwater intrusion and harming wetlands and other coastal ecosystems.
- Increasing temperatures: Extreme heat will increase in the Northeast region. Currently a temperate region in the summer, the region can expect to see an increase of “extremely hot” days. On average, there are only 2.6 days a year over 95 degrees Fahrenheit now, but that number could increase to by 5-16 additional days by midcentury and jump to 15-57 additional days by the end of the century. Increasingly hot summers will have negative impacts on health, mortality, and labor productivity.
- Increased variability: Annual precipitation in Maryland has increased about 5 percent in the last century, but precipitation from extremely heavy storms has increased in the eastern US by more than 25 percent since 1958. Increasing variability in precipitation will likely cause more flooding in the winter and spring, and more drought in the summer and fall.
- Rising sea level: Sea levels are rising more in Maryland than in many coastal regions because the land is also sinking. If warming trends continue, Maryland could experience 16 inches to four feet of sea level rise in the next century. Rising sea levels are eroding beaches, mixing salt water with wetlands, rivers upstream. Saltwater is also likely to continue intruding into aquifers near the coast and destroying soil in low-lying areas.
- Adaptation: Under Governor Martin O’Malley, Maryland established a Climate Action Plan in 2007 which includes measures to adapt to the impacts of climate change.
Maryland residents support clean energy and climate regulations
- According to the Yale Map Project on Climate Change Communication 75% of Maryland residents recognize that global warming is happening. The Project finds that 78% of residents support regulating carbon dioxide as a pollutant and 86% support funding research into renewable energy sources.
Maryland is increasing solar and wind capacity
- Maryland ranks 33rd in the US for installed wind capacity, providing 1.4% of its in-state electricity production or enough to power 49,000 homes.
- Maryland ranks 14th in the country in installed solar capacity with 637 MW installed, enough to power 68,000 homes. There are currently 195 solar companies working throughout the value chain in the state, employing 5,429 people.
- Maryland has set a renewable energy standard of 20% by 2020. In 2015, the state produced 7.4% of electricity from renewable sources.
- Maryland’s Dominion Cove Point, the only liquefied natural gas import terminal in the Mid-Atlantic, is adding export capability at its Chesapeake Bay facility. Export operations are expected to begin in late 2017.
- In 2015 the Calvert Cliffs facility powered 40% of the state’s net electricity generation.
- Coal is the leading export commodity by weight leaving the Port of Baltimore.