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Our Future Brightens when Implementing Clean Energy
MARYLAND - 1/18/2009
America can reduce global warming pollution by nearly 10 percent annually, replace the power equivalent of 170 coal fired power plants, and create or sustain more than 3 million new jobs by making an investment in clean energy and transportation. The effort can become a cornerstone in the nation’s struggle for economic recovery according to a report by released by Environment Maryland, a statewide citizen’s advocacy group.
“Our nation can no longer afford the toll dirty energy is exacting on our environment and economy,” said Tommy Landers, Policy Advocate at Environment Maryland. “Clean energy can protect our environment and rev our economic engine to generate a brighter future for Maryland.”
Environment Maryland’s report, "Clean Energy, Bright Future," estimates the environmental benefits of $150 billion in investments in clean energy such as wind and solar power and green infrastructure such as public transit will be substantial.
These investments will reduce carbon dioxide emissions, the leading cause of global warming, by 670 million tons per year when fully implemented. This would represent a significant step towards reducing the nation’s global warming pollution 35 percent by 2020, which scientists say is necessary to avert the worst impacts of global warming.
“If we continue with business as usual − dirty energy and highways to nowhere − we will be laying the groundwork for decades of increased global warming pollution,” said Landers. “Green infrastructure means more and better jobs now, as well as less global warming pollution, fewer asthma attacks from air pollution, more clean lakes and rivers for drinking water, swimming and fishing, and more secure energy in the long term,” added Landers.
“It is absolutely essential that policies be implemented at all levels of government and within private business and homes to reduce energy consumption thus reducing greenhouse gases,” said Councilman Vince Gardina of the 5th district in Baltimore County in an email.
“We all want a better life for our children and our grandchildren. Cleaner energy sources and green construction are the ways we make sure that our State, our city, and our country are safer, healthier places to live going into the future,” wrote Councilman Bill Henry from Baltimore City’s 4th district. Henry is the sponsor of bills requiring a 25-cent surcharge on plastic and paper bags in effort to encourage reuse.
Every part of the country has the opportunity to benefit from a green economic recovery and transition to a new energy economy, the group said. For example, according to Rex Wright, Maryland Chair of the US Green Buildings Council, in the Baltimore area the proposed two megawatt solar farm at the Back River Wastewater Treatment Plant will create over 50 jobs, will save over a half million tax payer dollars annually, reduce CO2 emissions by 1,324 tons annually at a cost of fourteen million dollars.
Work could begin on the project within three months, and the farm could be operational within twelve months. Savings are equivalent to 3,080 barrels of oil per year or taking 243 cars off the road annually. This project could be duplicated all over Maryland to create jobs, reduce stress on the grid by generating peak electricity, lower greenhouse gas emissions, and save money.
Hatim Jabaji, Director of the Maryland Office of Energy Performance & Conservation in the Department of General Services, is implementing programs to achieve Governor O’Malley’s goal of reducing Maryland’s energy consumption 15 percent by 2015. Analyzing just a few of those programs, aimed at universities and the Maryland Police, he found that they would create over 150 jobs and cut carbon dioxide pollution by over 3,000 tons. Jabaji is working on dozens of such programs, and multiplied a dozens times, this analysis helps give a sense of the possibilities for Maryland.
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