Governor Moore Signs Executive Order to Advance Maryland’s Pollution Reduction Plan

June 7, 2024

Governor Wes Moore signed an executive order to advance Maryland’s Climate Pollution Reduction Plan. The order—one of the most comprehensive on climate change issued by a Maryland governor—directs a whole-of-government approach to address climate change, including requiring agencies to submit a Climate Implementation Plan by Nov. 1, action to propose new emissions standards, and the creation of the Governor’s Subcabinet on Climate.

“Climate action is about more than avoiding disaster. It’s about growing opportunity, and that’s what today is about,” said Gov. Moore. “The climate crisis didn’t start overnight. It will take time and decisive action for us to tackle it. But we can—and we will—win this moment. We will win because we work together, we will win because we tackle our goals with action, and we will win because we leave no one behind.”

In December 2023, the Maryland Department of the Environment released Maryland’s Climate Pollution Reduction Plan to support the goals of the Climate Solutions Now Act of 2022, which requires Maryland to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 60 percent below 2006 levels by 2031 and reach net zero emissions by 2045. The Climate Pollution Reduction Plan estimates that the implementation of new climate policies will generate up to $1.2 billion in public health benefits, a $2.5 billion increase in personal income for Marylanders, and a net gain of 27,400 jobs between now and 2031.

In accordance with the order, all State agencies are required to consult the Maryland Department of the Environment to submit a Climate Implementation Plan to the governor by November 1. The report must include steps and a timeline for implementation for all required actions within each agency’s purview. Agencies are also required to consider Justice40 goals, initiatives, and funding to more comprehensively advance environmental justice.

The executive order also directs the Maryland Department of the Environment to take immediate action on climate change by proposing a zero-emission heating equipment standard regulation and a clean heat standard regulation, in addition to working with Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative states to establish a new regional cap for carbon dioxide emissions from power plants that align with Maryland and partner states’ 100% clean energy goals.

“It’s no secret that we face significant challenges from climate change,” said Maryland Department of the Environment Secretary Serena McIlwain. “Hotter summers, severe weather, flooding, increased asthma cases—especially among children in disadvantaged communities—all underscore the urgent need for action. This Executive Order is not just a call for action, but a vision for a brighter tomorrow.”

The order also calls for the Maryland Energy Administration to establish a framework for a clean energy standard to achieve 100% clean energy by 2035 and directs the Maryland Department of Transportation to undertake several measures to promote clean transportation.

The Governor’s Subcabinet on Climate will be chaired by Secretary McIlwain and vice-chaired by Chief Sustainability Officer Meghan Conklin. The subcabinet will drive a unified approach within state government to implement Maryland’s Climate Pollution Reduction Plan and will be required to report on Maryland’s progress by December 1 this year and annually thereafter.

Governor Moore signed the executive order this afternoon following participation in a student climate change discussion panel at Henderson-Hopkins School in Baltimore, which participates in the Maryland Community Solar program Solar4Us. Through solar panels on the school’s roof, the program will provide an estimated 150 families in the community with discounted electricity bills, amounting to a minimum of $1.1 million saved over the lifetime of the system.

“This Executive Order is the most comprehensive EO on climate change ever issued by a Maryland governor,” said Maryland League of Conservation Voters Executive Director Kim Coble. “Maryland LCV applauds the Moore Administration for leading through actions and prioritizing equity as Maryland tackles the impacts of climate change.”

“It is so fitting that Governor Moore is signing his executive order at Henderson Hopkins. We have students who have participated in a climate summit, deeply care about these issues, and just advised the governor on what matters most to them,” said Henderson-Hopkins School Principal Peter Kannam. “Additionally, Henderson Hopkins has partnered with Climate Access Fund to have our roof dedicated to solar power for the community.”