Climate change refers to human made changes to the atmosphere that are causing unnatural changes in climate. A layer of greenhouse gases – primarily carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide – act as a thermal blanket of the Earth, allowing sunlight to enter the atmosphere, but blocking heat from escaping.
According to NASA, the burning of fossil fuels and increased deforestation has led to an increased concentration of greenhouse gasses and increases in Earth’s temperature. Scientists are not sure exactly what the heat increases will mean, but it is certain to change conditions on the planet as we know it.
Climate Action Plan
In 2007, Howard County became the second county in the country to sign the U.S. Mayors Climate Protection Agreement. Under the Agreement, Howard County committed to take the following three actions: strive to meet or beat the Kyoto Protocol targets, urge Maryland state government and the federal government to meet or beat the set target of 7% reduction from 1990 levels by 2012.
The first step Howard County took to reach the targets was to develop a comprehensive greenhouse gas emission inventory and a Climate Action Plan. The inventory measured greenhouse gas emissions for County government operations and also for the community as a whole.
The reduction targets were met and in 2015, Howard County updated the Climate Action Plan, measuring the accomplishments and challenges presented by the first plan and setting new targets. The plan also outlines ways to accomplish the targets.
Both plans can be found here:
Energy Task Force
The Howard County Energy Task Force, convened by the Environmental Sustainability Board, was a collection of local experts who advised the County Executive regarding planning for future energy use in the County. The Energy Task Force met monthly in 2016 (with the exception of August) and completed their report in January 2017. The report contains recommendations in the areas of Energy Management and Efficiency, Renewable Energy, Workforce Development and Job Creation, and Energy Reliability and Resiliency.
The report and summary presentation can be found here:
Energy Task Force Members
Howard County’s Office of Emergency Management has developed Emergency Plans which include planning for utility disruption. Visit the Howard County OEM page for more information.