Annapolis, Md. — Ninety percent of Marylanders live in counties recently hit by weather disasters, according to a new interactive weather map created by Environment Maryland using federal government data. Scientists say that unchecked climate change will increase the frequency, severity and catastrophic impacts of these weather events.
“We used to think of climate change as problem that would happen someday, somewhere,” said Lindsey Mendelson, Environment Maryland Research & Policy Center Fellow. “But as this map demonstrates, climate change is happening now, and it’s hitting all too close to home,” she added.
Since 2010, nine federally declared disasters including flooding, drought, snow& ice, and severe storms struck Baltimore County. Four weather disasters—flooding, tropical storms, and drought—have hit Anne Arundel County in the past 5 years. Annapolis regularly experiences coastal flooding that closes downtown streets, disrupts business activity, and creates safety and traffic concerns for city residents, according to Kevin Simmons, Annapolis Chief of Emergency Management.
Environment Maryland Research & Policy Center’s new analysis comes as Maryland’s decision-makers decide how to implement the Clean Power Plan, the first-ever national limits on carbon pollution. The analysis also comes as Maryland and eight other Northeastern states are preparing to discuss improvements to the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, a successful program that has helped to cut global warming pollution from power plants in Maryland and across the region over the last 5 years.
“Given Maryland’s leadership in tackling climate change and shifting to a clean energy future, Environment Maryland urges Governor Hogan to craft the strongest possible environmental standards for our state,” said Mendelson. “To avoid even more extreme weather events, we need our leaders to act boldly to slash carbon pollution and transition to 100% clean, renewable energy.”
“There’s no question that climate change has detrimental effects on Maryland’s communities,” said Congressman John Sarbanes. “This new map should only create more urgency for local, state and federal lawmakers to come together and take immediate action to reduce carbon emissions and bolster renewable energy.”
In July, Congressman Sarbanes led a delegation of House Energy and Commerce Committee Democrats to the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis to learn about the local and national impacts of climate change. The hearing featured testimony from local officials, representatives from the U.S. Navy and environmental experts that discussed how rising sea levels and severe weather threaten the economy, the environment and national security. To watch the field forum, “Climate Change at the Water’s Edge,” click here.
To explore Environment Maryland’s interactive map, click here.