Last June, I wrote in The Baltimore Sun that the Maryland Catholic Conference, because it had not endorsed the Maryland Clean Energy Jobs Act, had helped delay for another year our state’s best chance for meaningful action on climate change (“Maryland Catholic Conference needs to take a position on clean energy,” June 19, 2018). As a Maryland Catholic, I was upset. But today, I am deeply grateful to the conference for coming out in clear support of the 2019 version of the act.
I hope that House Speaker Michael Busch, himself a Catholic, notices that the lobby representing all Maryland Catholics wants the measure passed this year. It is now uniquely in his hands to move the Clean Energy Jobs Act to the floor by speaking with his colleagues in the House Economic Matters Committee. He could play the pivotal role in leading the conversion of Maryland’s electric supply to clean and renewable energy sources.
We heard from the United Nations climate panel last October that we have about 12 years to limit climate catastrophe. To avoid utter climate collapse, carbon pollution must be reduced worldwide by 45 percent by 2030. Not coincidentally, the Maryland act calls for 50 percent clean and renewable energy by 2030 and by 2040 a plan for achieving 100 percent by 2050. Maryland must do its part. I have heard that Speaker Busch favors several bills to mitigate the loss of oysters, which is laudable, but perceives the Clean Energy Jobs Act as being just about energy and not related to the fate of oysters. That is not accurate.
A recent report from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration concluded that climate change is contributing to “devastating” impacts on four oyster species along the eastern seaboard. In December 2018 the United States’ Fourth National Climate Assessment focused on other local impacts such as loss of habitat for our beloved Maryland terns. The Conference makes it clear Catholics should support the Clean Energy Jobs Act to save “Our Common Home,” God’s Creation. Speaker Busch should support it for, if nothing else, the oysters and the terns.
J. Stephen Cleghorn, Baltimore
Become a subscriber today to support editorial writing like this. Start getting full access to our signature journalism for just 99 cents for the first four weeks.