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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

Turn off water while brushingTurning off the water between rinses can save at least two gallons in one brushing session.