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Gov. Martin O'Malley, D-Md., has signed the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Act, a process he began almost two years ago, when he convened the Maryland Commission on Climate Change.

The commission involved more than 100 diverse stakeholders from around the state in the development of an economy-wide Climate Action Plan, which was delivered to the Governor last August. The Center for Climate Strategies (CCS) provided technical and economic analysis, as well as facilitation for the commission's meetings and those of its technical working groups.

The Climate Action Plan recommended 42 specific approaches to reducing greenhouse gases (GHG), which will serve as the starting point for the Maryland Department of the Environment to implement the new law signed by the governor.

"We've facilitated 20 climate action planning processes around the country, and this law stands out as one of the most comprehensive single pieces of state climate legislation we've yet seen," says Tom Peterson, president and CEO of the CCS.

Fully implemented, the Climate Plan's 42 pollution reduction and energy saving recommendations would reduce GHG 25% to 50% by 2020. The Greenhouse Gas Reduction Act requires the state to achieve a 25% reduction in GHG emissions by 2020 and will use the Climate Action Plan created by the commission as a road map to guide Maryland to the target.

Transitioning to a low-carbon economy is expected to have a positive net economic benefit to the state valued at approximately $2 billion by 2020, resulting in net savings from energy efficiency, renewable and clean energy, transportation improvements, and forest, farm and waste conservation programs that include numerous new green job opportunities.

SOURCE: Center for Climate Strategies

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