The Baltimore Office of Sustainability’s goal is to create an updated Climate Action Plan that addresses climate inequities in our city while outlining an implementable path to ambitious emissions reductions.
What is a Climate Action Plan?
Climate Action Plans set goals to reduce cities' greenhouse gas emissions, and outline strategies to reach those goals. Reducing emissions mitigates or slows climate change, lessening its negative impacts. Climate Action Plans also include strategies for the City to adapt to the effects of climate change, such as extreme weather (heat and cold), flooding, decreased air quality, and many more.
What is Climate Equity?
Our Climate Equity Action Plan update has a special focus on addressing climate inequities, as many neighborhoods and communities in Baltimore are disproportionately affected by climate change due to decades of systemic racism. Climate inequities appear in many ways, from lack of tree cover and hotter average temperatures in lower-income neighborhoods to differences in the quality of infrastructures like sewer systems that may be affected by flooding, or a neighborhood's environmental health due to proximity to dangerous pollutants from industrial sites.
Through our community engagement process, we hope to identify what an equitable climate future for Baltimore looks like, and what steps we can take to get there.
What Are Greenhouse Gases?
Greenhouse gases act like blankets around the earth. Like a blanket, they trap heat and keep us warm. Having some greenhouse gases is important to keep our planet warm. Carbon dioxide (the air we breathe out) and water vapor are two examples of greenhouse gases. When we are releasing too many greenhouse gases into the air, it is like having too many blankets, and the earth gets too warm.
The Earth's warming due to "too many blankets" can cause extreme weather, sea-level rise, flooding, poor air quality, and many other challenges that affect the present and future of our city.
What does the City of Baltimore want to do about greenhouse gas emissions?
In January of 2021, Mayor Scott announced new goals to decrease the amount of greenhouse gases that the city releases into the air. You can read more about the goals here.
How the city meets those goals is up to you! What should we do first? Should we focus on making homes more energy-efficient and lowering utility bills? Or should we start with improving communities' health by reducing pollutants and making Baltimore's air cleaner? You can tell us by taking our survey.