The Greenhouse Gas Reduction Impact of a Carbon Pollution Charge in Maryland

Maryland has a strong commitment to fighting climate change. In 2009, the state passed the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Act (GGRA) that “requires the state to achieve a minimum 25% reduction in statewide greenhouse gas emissions from 2006 levels by2020.” The law was reauthorized in 2016 by the state legislature and amended to include future reduction goals. The new law requires the state to reduce its GHG emissions to 40% below the 2006 level by 2030.

The most recent update from the Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE) and the Maryland Commission on Climate Change (MCCC) indicates that through execution of the 2012 and 2015 GGRA plans, the state is on track to reach and exceed its 2020 target. This is a significant achievement, due at least in part to state, regional, and federal policies. Previous policies that have proven effective include Maryland’s participation in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) that limits emissions from electricity generation plants; the state’s Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) that requires 25% renewable electricity by 2020; EmPOWER Maryland, which provides funding for energy efficiency programs; and federal fuel-efficiency standards for both cars and trucks. These programs will continue to reduce the state’s emissions, but Maryland does not yet have a comprehensive plan that will bring the state to its 2030 target.

This study evaluates the effectiveness of an economy-wide carbon pollution price as an important tool in closing that emissions reduction gap.

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