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Baltimore Funds Climate Action Plan

Baltimore City is spending $150,000 to create a Climate Action Plan as part of the city’s overall sustainability initiative to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 15 percent by 2015.

The city adopted the sustainability plan in 2009 but it wasn’t until this year that there was funding to implement it. Beth Strommen, director of the city’s Office of Sustainability, says Baltimore received $6.1 million from the federal American Recovery and Reinvestment Act for a variety of energy projects, among them the climate action plan.

“Our goal is to help Baltimore be a more sustainable city, with environmental education and green buildings,” Strommen says.

But Baltimore has unique challenges.

Unlike many cities where the major source of greenhouse gas emissions is vehicle-related, in Baltimore the emissions are overwhelmingly come from commercial and residential buildings. That's because 40 percent of the housing stock was built prior to 1939.

"We are an old city with old houses," Strommen says. 

The Climate Action Plan will have different short-term and long-term goals, by 2020 and 2030, respectively. Stommen says the city has hired AECOM Technology Corp., a global company with expertise in climate action plans, to create the plan.

The plan will look at such issues as land use, green infrastructure, water and waste.

“We are including an adaptation piece,” says Strommen. “How do we adapt to extreme weather events, and to flooding in the Inner Harbor? How do we minimize economic loss? And, also, minimize loss of life with, for example, cooling centers.”

Strommen did not have a timetable for the plan’s completion. Once it is ready, Baltimore City has already received two grants, for a total of $107,000, to begin putting the recommendations in place. The city is also seeking additional federal and state money to implement the plan.
Source: Beth Strommen, Baltimore City Office of Sustainability
Writer: Barbara Pash
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