Gardner Announces County Plan to Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Fight Climate Change | Executive

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Frederick County Executive Jan Gardner on Tuesday announced a series of climate initiatives and two new departments to boost the county’s efforts to halve greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 and eradicate them from ‘by 2050.

The county government would spend $ 3.7 million on the proposed climate plan, which would include funding for more than eight new positions in the Office of Environmental Sustainability and Resources.

“This one-time fund investment will really help the county reduce its impact on the environment,” Gardner (D) said during a press briefing. “And it will save us money in the years to come by reducing our energy costs and staying in compliance with federal laws. [stormwater] regulations.”

Gardner’s initiatives and plan for the new government departments are expected to be presented next week to the county council, which will ultimately vote on whether or not to provide funding for the plan.

Gardner said the plan would initially be funded by unanticipated government revenue and unspent funds from the last fiscal year, known as the fund balance.

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration projections show Frederick County will experience more days of extreme heat in the coming years, including about 100 days with 90-degree heat per year by the turn of the century, on the base of scenarios of low and high greenhouse gas emissions.

It would likely damage infrastructure and facilities across the county, increase pressure on emergency services, damage agriculture and natural ecosystems, and exacerbate disparities in public health, said sustainability director Shannon Moore. during the briefing on Tuesday.

The level to which Frederick County will lower greenhouse gas emissions “will greatly influence” the severity of the effects of climate change on the county, according to a note by the climate consultant ICF.

“But we have the opportunity to reduce those impacts below critical thresholds, at this point, if we act now,” Moore said in Tuesday’s briefing.

Responsibilities within the sustainability office will be split between two new county departments: the climate and energy department, which would focus on reducing the county’s impact on climate change, and the water department. stormwater, which would oversee how the county controls stormwater and related pollution. .

The initiatives Gardner introduced fall into four categories, the first being climate and energy. Gardner said the county was developing a regional plan in coordination with the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments – a non-profit association comprising elected officials from Congress, the state legislatures of Maryland and Virginia and 24 local governments, including the county of Frederick.

The county government is also working with officials in the City of Frederick to create a county-specific parallel plan that will include priorities such as improving energy efficiency in county buildings and transitioning to electric or electric vehicles. zero emissions.

The second set of initiatives will boost the county’s infrastructure to enable the switch to electric vehicles within the local government fleet and across the county. As part of the change, the county government would lease or buy electric vehicles, phase out non-electric vehicles, and install electric charging stations at government facilities.

Another group of proposals will focus on building energy and resiliency programs, such as helping low-income families increase the energy efficiency of their homes and expanding resources to help businesses invest in programs. energy efficiency and reduce water consumption.

The last category of initiatives will focus on increasing the use of renewable energy sources by the county government and ultimately on completely offsetting the electricity of county buildings with 100% energy. renewable, Gardner said.

Follow Jack Hogan on Twitter: @jckhogan


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