U.S. Senator Benjamin L. Cardin, D-MD, has co-sponsored legislation to reduce our nation's greenhouse gas emissions and lessen our dependence on foreign energy.
The Global Warming Pollution Reduction Act, S. 309, would require that U.S. emissions of key pollutants such as carbon dioxide be capped in 2010, reduced to 1990 levels by 2020, and 80% below 1990 levels by 2050. To achieve emissions reductions, the bill calls for more reliance on clean, renewable energy sources, improved energy efficiency and clean cars.
Recently, a U.N. panel on climate change released a report stating that irrefutable scientific evidence shows that carbon dioxide and other heat-trapping greenhouse gases have caused substantial global warming since the 1950s. Many energy and environmental experts believe there will be a doubling of carbon dioxide concentrations by mid-21st Century. Such a doubling could cause a climate increase of 3.5 to 8 degrees, melting ice caps and causing a rise in sea levels.
"Maryland is particularly vulnerable to flooding and our sea levels are rising at a rapid pace," said Sen. Cardin, a member of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee. "If we don't do something to address global warming now, thousands of Marylanders living along our coasts will have to change their way of life. Global warming is not a partisan issue; it's affects every human being on this earth and we must take action now."
According to a 2005 report of the Maryland Emergency Management Agency (MEMA), Maryland is particularly vulnerable to global warming because such a large part of the state consists of low-lying coastal areas. The report also states that Maryland is the third most vulnerable state to flooding and has the fifth longest evacuation times during tropical storm activity.
More than 12 percent of land in Maryland is designated under the National Flood Insurance Program as a Special Flood Hazard Area and an estimated 68,000 homes and building are located within the state's floodplain. Tide gauge records for the last century show that the rate of sea level rise in Maryland is nearly twice the global average.
"Energy independence and global warming are tied together. Both depend on the United States conserving energy and finding alternative, less-polluting energy sources. Such a shift in energy policy would significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions, a major cause of global warming, and hjlp our national security by making us more energy self sufficient," the Senator said.
Senator Cardin recently introduced the legislation to require the federal government to construct all new buildings to be more energy efficient and environmentally friendly.