Fullscreen background image

Climate Action Plan

New: Howard County Cli­mate Action Plan 2015 Click link to left to view.

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.

We can all do our part to limit our con­tri­bu­tion to green­house gases includ­ing spend­ing less time in the car (car­pool, walk, bike or use pub­lic trans­porta­tion when­ever pos­si­ble) and using less energy (turn down the heat, turn off lights and elec­tron­ics when not in use, insu­late your home).

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, and urge the U.S Con­gress to pass bipar­ti­san green­house gas reduc­tion leg­is­la­tion to cre­ate national emis­sion trading.

The first step Howard County took to reach our new 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 Action Plan refined our goals and set forth a strat­egy for achiev­ing them. Both can be found in the Cli­mate Action Plan doc­u­ment found here.

In Decem­ber, 2009, Howard County was awarded over $2.6 mil­lion in stim­u­lus grant funds as part of the Energy Effi­ciency and Con­ser­va­tion Block Grants Pro­gram. With the help of the grant, the County has imple­mented many energy pro­grams to decrease green­house emis­sions and save money.

Projects include estab­lish­ing a free home energy audit pro­gram, pur­chas­ing energy effi­cient light­ing for County facil­i­ties, pur­chas­ing an elec­tric pickup truck and a diesel hybrid truck, and hir­ing an Energy Man­ager for two years.

Green Tip

Hi, I’m Howard and I’m here to provide you with green tips. Look for me throughout the site and check out my cool interactive games at the Kids Zone.