Maryland is developing a statewide, multi-agency proposal to comply with the Greenhouse Gas Emission Reduction Act.
The draft plan is the result of a 2009 law passed by the General Assembly requiring that Maryland reduce emissions 25 percent by 2020.
Reductions are calculated based on a 2006 baseline study, which determined that the state produced 106 million metric tons of carbon-dioxide equivalent gases each year. If no steps are taken, that number will increase to 140 million by 2020.
The draft plan contains 65 programs aimed at reducing greenhouse emissions while creating green jobs and growing the economy.
And it includes bicycle initiatives
Bicycle and clean-car initiatives, for example, could spin off dozens of jobs in the retail sector
Specifically, these items include (page 186) bicycle/pedestrian enhancements, bike racks on transit, construction of bike lanes and paths, and the East Coast Greenway.
But Thomas Firey, senior fellow with the conservative Maryland Public Policy Institute pooh-pooh's them
initiatives such as electric vehicles or increased pedestrian and bike transportation, examples of which are included in the draft plan, tend to be a waste of effort, Firey said. Electric vehicles ultimately don’t eliminate emissions, but rather shift them from the tailpipe to the factory where they’re made. And while bike paths often sound like a good idea, they’re not effective in getting people to bicycle to work, he said.
A recent study shows otherwise. And bicycling to work need not be the only goal. Getting people to bike for errands or to church or to school - anything that replaces a car trip - should be the real goal if reducing greenhouse gas is the aim. Besides, there is more to the plan than just "bike paths" as noted above.
Looking at the report, the pedestrian and bicycle programs are expected to reduce emissions by 410,000 metric tons by 2020, which is a pretty small part of the needed reduction, but at a very low cost. In fact the study shows that these initiatives will result in increased economic activity and 135 jobs.
Though, I do agree with him that "Cap-and-trade programs are the most efficient way to reduce emissions."
If you'd like to comment, you have some time.
Not all of the 65 programs have been developed in full detail, and the department will be accepting public comment on the plan through Aug. 17