The main cause of climate change is human activities, particularly the emission of greenhouse gases (GHGs) into the atmosphere. The Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE) is leading Governor Hogan's efforts to reduce GHG emissions and adapt to the potential consequences of climate change while creating jobs and benefiting the economy, as required by the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Act (GGRA) of 2009 and 2016. Although many initiatives throughout the State contribute to these efforts, the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) and the Maryland Commission on Climate Change (chaired by Secretary Ben Grumbles) are key efforts by MDE, each of which can be explored further by following the links on the left-hand side of this page.
In November 2018, a federal report advised that "climate change is affecting the natural environment, agriculture, energy production and use, land and water resources, transportation, and human health and welfare across the U.S. and its territories."
With 3,100 miles of shoreline, Maryland is the fourth most vulnerable state to suffer effects of sea-level rise associated with climate change. Rising sea levels and increased storm intensity could have devastating and far-reaching impacts on the Atlantic coast and the Chesapeake Bay ecosystem that affect the environmental, recreational and economic benefits enjoyed by Maryland and its visitors. Although Maryland's coastal areas may be considered particularly vulnerable, all areas of the State are at risk, and may already be experiencing some impacts of climate change. In general, climate change is expected to alter the severity, frequency or distribution of existing issues that are impacted either directly or indirectly by temperature and precipitation. This includes, but is not limited to:
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