Make reduced greenhouse gas emissions a top priority | READER COMMENTARY
For The Baltimore Sun|
Mar 05, 2021 at 1:49 PM
Thank you for your editorial in support of the Climate Solutions Now bill (HB 583/SB 414) pending before the Maryland General Assembly highlighting the urgency of getting to net zero in our greenhouse gas emissions if we are to avoid the ever increasing catastrophic impacts of climate change (”Upgrade Maryland’s climate action plan,” March 2).
In the editorial, The Sun discussed the Montgomery County Public Schools’ recent deal to become the nation’s largest school system committed to becoming the nation’s largest operator of electric school buses. As a Montgomery County resident, I am overjoyed our school children will soon be able to have a much healthier bus ride and to no longer be subjected daily to the toxic diesel fumes that our school buses emit. I am grateful to County Executive Marc Elrich, Del. David Fraser Hidalgo and Ramon Palencio-Calvo with Chispa Maryland in making this deal happen and happy that our county is taking some of the necessary steps in executing its Climate Action Plan.
Not mentioned in your editorial is that the Climate Solutions Now bill would bring the benefit of electric buses to more of Maryland because it would require the Maryland Transit Administration to start converting to zero-emission buses by 2023. Transportation is one of the largest contributors of greenhouse gas emissions in Maryland and a principal source of air pollution. Electrification of the transit bus fleet is an essential strategy in achieving necessary greenhouse gas emission reduction and in reducing air pollution that will result in health benefits for Baltimore residents. Those same benefits will accrue to bus riders and residents across Maryland since MTA buses serve many other counties in the state.
A further benefit of the far-reaching, comprehensive Climate Solutions Now plan is that it will be highly effective in helping Montgomery County achieve the goal of its Climate Action Plan to reach net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2035.
Two Senate committees (Education, Health and Environmental Affairs along with Budget and Taxation) have given favorable reports for the Climate Solutions Now bill. It is now up to the full Senate and the House to pass this important piece of legislation.
Diana Younts, Takoma Park
The writer is co-chair of the Maryland Legislative Coalition’s Climate Justice Wing.