Maryland is launching the nation’s first state-sponsored Climate Leadership Academy to help local governments, state agencies, nonprofits and the private sector prepare to address the impact of global warming.
State officials kicked off the initiative during a three-day State of the Coast conference taking place this week in Cambridge, laying out their vision for how the state can help stakeholders gird for climate change.
“Through the Climate Leadership Academy, we will support locally-designed and led efforts and initiative by providing a forum for community leaders to build their own capacity, convene with their peers and partners, and share best practices and results,” state Natural Resources Secretary Mark J. Belton said in a statement Tuesday.
Belton and Maryland Environment Secretary Ben Grumbles were among the officials who designed the academy. According to the state, they worked with the Association of Climate Change Officers, the Maryland Department of Health, the Maryland Emergency Management Agency, the Maryland Energy Administration, Maryland Sea Grant, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (which is based in Maryland), and the University of Maryland.
Both state officials and Daniel Kreeger, executive director of the Association of Climate Change Officers, suggested that Maryland’s leadership academy could become a model for other states.
“Ensuring secure, healthy and prosperous communities in the face of a changing climate will require us to deploy a force of leaders across organizations and occupations that have the capacity to successfully address climate related risks and opportunities, and weave them into the DNA of their decision-making,” he said.
According to Kreeger’s organization, Maryland’s climate academy would attempt to:
Align climate action with economic development
Advance statewide preparedness and resilience
Scale up clean energy development and consumption
Engage the public to build better understanding of the threats of climate change
Develop goals and implementation strategies
Provide support for local action
Share and aggregate community and staff resources
Train stakeholders to institutionalize clean energy and climate preparedness into critical decision-making roles
Community solar has also been largely overlooked as a viable means to reduce energy needs state-wide. Abandoned properties and commercial rooftop solar collection could dramatically impact our green energy production. I would also like to see the state explore the possibility of interstate solar on the unused median strips that could act as a practical solar power grid stretching from east to west.
Wonderful conceptually; Maryland is a microcosm depicting a range of environmental aspects ideal for modeling to other states.
We must also be diligent where we wane; our local emphasis must be to insist that local leaders and elected officials takr into account the collective environmental concerns of its citizens - I’m thinking here of the refusal to clearly reject any means for Fracking to fit into a comprehensive plan. I’m also thinking here of the revent CDC report of PFOA, chemical leeches into waterways.
‘Recently, two groups called out this hypocrisy, and they deserve to be heard. Food and Water Watch issued a report card giving Maryland an “F” for renewable energy, putting it in the bottom tier nationwide with just six other states. And Chesapeake Physicians for Social Responsibility issued a report pointing out the state’s failure to enforce a true green standard on utilities and to promote true green energy production in Maryland (as opposed to letting power companies simply buy green energy credits from out-of-state, which is where three-quarters of Maryland’s renewable tax credits end up).’