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Environment

Plan to be aired for trimming city's climate impact

With summer starting to heat up, city officials are floating a "climate action plan" this evening (Tuesday) that aims to curb Baltimore's greenhouse gas emissions 15 percent by decade's end.

Easing the city's climate impact is one of the goals of Baltimore's sustainability plan. The draft strategy, prepared by a 25-member advisory committee, ticks off more than three dozen ideas for reducing the city's carbon footprint, some as simple as promoting more biking, transit use and walking to planting more trees.

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The biggest improvements in the city's climate impact are suggested to come through reducing energy usage in buildings of all types - factories, schools, public and private offices and stores and even row homes.  It's estimated that 79 percent of the city's greenhouse gas emissions stem from heating, cooling and lighting its structures.

The single largest step proposed - accounting for nearly half of all the greenhouse emission reductions envisioned - would require state rather than city action.  The plan suggests lobbying Annapolis to boost Maryland's renewable energy mandate, from 20 percent of all electricity supplied in the state by 2022 to 33 percent.  The plan suggests reaching that higher goal would result in a nearly 500,000 metric ton reduction in the city's greenhouse gas emissions.

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But there may be some debate about the feasibility or advisability of boosting that mandate, given lawmakers' refusal so far to subsidize large-scale offshore wind projects. O'Malley administration officials had been counting on offshore wind to reach the 20 percent renewable energy goal.

Other proposals that could yield significant reductions include energy-efficiency overhauls for all city, commercial, institutional and industrial buildings, pushing for more solar installations and informing renters and homeowners better about what they're spending on energy.

To hear about those and much more, plan on making it over to Baltimore Medical Systems' Highlandtown Healthy Living Center at 3700 Fleet St.  The plan will be presented there (in an energy-efficient "LEED platinum" building, it just so happens) from 6 to 8 p.m.  To RSVP, which is encouraged but not required, go here.


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