Mayor and Sustainability Office Release Carbon-Neutral Goals for Baltimore City

Crest of the City of Baltimore

Brandon M. Scott
Mayor,
Baltimore City
250 City Hall - Baltimore Maryland 21202
(410) 396-3835 - Fax: (410) 576-9425

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

CONTACT
Jack French
(443) 248-3786

jack.french@baltimorecity.gov

Baltimore City to Go Carbon Neutral by 2045

BALTIMORE, MD. (Tuesday, January 18, 2022) — Today, Mayor Brandon M. Scott and Director of the Office of Sustainability, Lisa McNeilly, announced an updated set of goals for Baltimore City’s Climate Action Plan.

At the direction of Mayor Scott, the City has set a series of targets to achieve 100% carbon neutrality by 2045. The Scott administration is aiming for a 30% reduction in carbon emissions by 2025, a 60% reduction in emissions by 2030, and full carbon neutrality – or 100% reduction in net emissions – by 2045. 

The 30-60-100 goal will lay out a path for the City to reach carbon neutrality and provide a framework for reducing emissions, helping avoid some of the worst impacts of climate change. This science-based target would be more ambitious than the current State of Maryland goal and could ensure that residents see benefits, such as savings on energy bills, sooner.

“From the start of my administration, I have made it clear that sustainability and improving the lives of all residents is a priority,” said Mayor Brandon M. Scott. “Ensuring that Baltimore is carbon neutral by the earliest possible date is a key part of my administration’s work to build Clean and Healthy Communities. Our young people deserve the chance to grow up and enjoy everything that our city and our planet have to offer.” 

“Among our city’s challenges is the urgent need to respond to the climate emergency and chart a path for Baltimore toward reducing our greenhouse gas emissions while also working to adapt to existing threats, such as extreme heat and flooding,” said Lisa McNeilly, Director of the Office of Sustainability. “We are being proactive and updating Baltimore’s carbon neutrality goals to pave the way for us to tackle climate change head on.” 

The 2019 Sustainability Plan set a city-wide climate goal – 25% reduction by 2020 and 30% by 2025 relative to 2007 – and called for a commitment to become a “Carbon Neutral City.” As of 2017, the City had reduced emissions by 13% and anticipates seeing a reduction of 15-20% for 2020.

The Office of Sustainability is launching a two-year process to update the Climate Action Plan – including a community engagement process running through October 2022.

The community engagement process will inform the work of the Office of Sustainability to ensure that the process is done equitably and that all stakeholders – residents included – are in agreement on how best to attain ‘carbon neutrality.’

Mayor Scott has long underscored the importance of having the Executive and Legislative bodies in sync on these issues as climate change intensifies and the need for action becomes more urgent.  

Councilmember Mark Conway, District 4, has partnered with the Scott administration on this effort. Conway recently introduced a package of sustainability related legislation – Council Bills 21-0159, 21-0160, 21-0075R, 21-0161 and 21-0175 –  that will put the City of Baltimore at the forefront of setting climate resiliency goals for the region. He has championed environmental justice issues since his time working for the Environmental Protection Agency. 

“Last summer’s IPCC report highlighted the pressing need to reduce carbon emissions and implement mitigation measures to protect Baltimore from the effects of climate change,” said Councilmember Mark Conway. “Today, flooding and the urban heat island disproportionately impact underserved neighborhoods and Black and brown communities. No tool or strategy should go unused in this fight, and the administration’s goal and accompanying benchmarks will mean Baltimore is doing its part.”

The City has already made substantial progress on the 2012 Climate Action Plan:

  • The $52 million dollar Baltimore Energy Initiative (BEI) has helped preserve homeownership, promote economic development, reduce health costs and provide long-term savings.
  •  In 2020, the City updated its green building codes to expand the elective requirements for each project to achieve at least 10 points from a set list of categories (e.g., water and energy efficiency, indoor environmental quality, and site sustainability) or follow one of two zero energy paths.
  • In 2021, Mayor Scott adopted the Baltimore Complete Streets Manual, which will help create high-quality pedestrian- and transit-oriented neighborhoods.
  • Baltimore DOT secured $50 million to support transportation enhancements for Baltimore’s east-west corridor including up to 50 new electric vehicle charging stations and an expansion of bike lanes.
  • Baltimore has 3 MW of on-site renewable energy generation and a 10 MW Power Purchase Agreement for solar. The City also purchases Renewable Energy Credits for compliance with Maryland’s Renewable Portfolio Standard as part of its electricity supply contracts, which in 2022 is 20%.
  • The Office of Sustainability works with partners to bring renewable energy into low-income communities through the Community Resiliency Hub Program. Four frontline non-profit organizations located in climate-vulnerable communities have received solar power and battery back-up systems while three more are slated for system installation this year.
  • In 2020, Baltimore City Public Schools held ribbon-cutting ceremonies for Holabird Academy and Graceland Park/O’Donnell Heights Elementary/Middle School, the district’s first two Net Zero Energy schools. Each year, they generate as much energy on site as they use.

Clean and Healthy Communities is one of the Mayor’s priority pillars guiding the administration’s Action Plan, which was released early last month. Residents can view the Plan and track progress across all of the Mayor’s priority pillars at: mayor.baltimorecity.gov/tracker.

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