World leaders at COP26 in Scotland, including President Joe Biden, secured pacts to reduce methane emissions worldwide. (Number 10/Flickr)

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By Diane Bernard

November 5, 2021   

ANNAPOLIS, Md. — Maryland lawmakers are traveling to the annual international climate conference in Glasgow, and they’re pushing the U.S. to take immediate action to reach national climate goals.

Del. Patrick Young, Jr., D-Baltimore County, a member of Elected Officials to Protect America, is heading overseas to attend the talks. He is especially concerned because Maryland is experiencing more extreme weather and flooding from climate change.

He thinks the 2020s are a critical time to take action to reach goals set for the future, and passage of the Build Back Better Plan, which Congress is debating, is key to cutting planet-warming emissions.

“The Build Back Better Plan and the pieces that specifically address climate change are going to provide us that pathway,” Young explained. “So that when we think of 2020 in the future, that this is the decade that we came together internationally to reach our goals because of the threat that it is to all of us and not just to a few of us.”

The Biden administration’s plan includes more than $500 billion in investments to curb climate change. Republican leaders and some moderate Democrats oppose the legislation, saying it’s too expensive.

Young noted Maryland’s Greenhouse Gas Reduction Act was amended in 2016 to call for a goal of 50% reductions by 2030. He expects the state to meet that goal by taking steps such as those in Baltimore County, which recently committed to switching to electric vehicles.

In the meantime, he pointed out over the last 10 years, many Maryland regions are experiencing catastrophic weather events such as in Ellicott City, which saw a 100-year and thousand-year flood within two years.

“Not only that, but just the flooding that generally we wouldn’t see because our infrastructure was set up in such a way they could manage these larger incidents but not these 100-year floods,” Young explained. “Our infrastructure wasn’t set up for that, and business owners, residents are seeing the impact on their livelihoods, their property.”

The Build Back Better Plan includes $105 billion for investments and incentives to address extreme weather such as floods, wildfires and hurricanes and to combat legacy pollution in communities such as Baltimore.

References:  COP26 conference United Nations 2021
Build Back Better framework White House 10/28/2021
Greenhouse Gas Reduction Act 05/07/2009