The Sun’s editorial board rightly called out Gov. Larry Hogan’s hypocrisy on climate (“Is a $103 million expansion of natural gas service the best Md. can do?” Feb. 26). To uphold our commitments in the U.S. Climate Alliance and ensure that Maryland does not miss out on the renewable energy economy, it is imperative to stop expanding fossil fuel infrastructure and instead redirect investment to greener alternatives.
Luckily for Baltimoreans, our local leaders understand this necessity. Recently, the City Council voted overwhelmingly to advance a bill prohibiting the expansion of crude oil terminals in Baltimore. Like Governor Hogan, opponents of the bill asserted — without evidence — that it would lead to job losses at the Port of Baltimore, ignoring the studies that show that fossil fuel investment generates fewer jobs per dollar than renewable energy like wind and solar. Because renewable energy sources are typically generated nearby, they add millions of dollars to the local economy.
Proponents of the legislation cited safety concerns over explosions from trains carrying crude oil as well as the need to protect our air, water and climate. Public safety and climate change are intertwined: a fossil fuel-based economy will always pose threats to our air, water and health that alternatives like solar and wind will not, while leaving future generations on the hook for the bill.
I’m a climate scientist studying for my doctorate at Johns Hopkins, and I calculated that emissions from one unit train of crude oil would generate more carbon dioxide emissions than I would in 600 lifetimes. These are emissions that our planet cannot afford. I urge the City Council to continue its climate leadership and for Mayor Catherine Pugh to sign this bill. Together, we can show Governor Hogan what it means to keep one’s promises and be a climate leader.