The Impacts of Climate Change and the Trump Administration’s Anti-Environmental Agenda in Maryland

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Just in the past three years, the Trump administration has attempted to roll back at least 95 environmental rules and regulations to the detriment of the environment and Americans’ public health. Moreover, the administration refuses to act to mitigate the effects of climate change—instead loosening requirements for polluters emitting the greenhouse gases that fuel the climate crisis. This dangerous agenda is affecting the lives of Americans across all 50 states.

Between 2017 and 2019, Maryland experienced five severe storms, one tropical cyclone, and two winter storms. The damages of each event led to losses of at least $1 billion.

Impacts of climate change

Extreme weather

  • Maryland’s sea level has risen 10 inches since 1950 and is now rising 1 inch every five years. Maryland is preparing to spend more than $3 billion on solutions for sea level rise.
  • By 2100, sea level rise may be anywhere from 1 feet to 4.4 feet, leading to the loss of 400,000 acres on Maryland’s Eastern Shore alone.
  • Since 2000, some areas of Maryland have seen an increase in tidal flooding of 178 percent.
  • In 2013, Superstorm Sandy hit 24 states, including Maryland, resulting in damages costing $5.5 million.
  • In 2018, Maryland witnessed record-breaking rainfall across the state, including in Catonsville, Baltimore County. The town experienced 56 inches of rain, the new record for Maryland’s annual precipitation.
  • In 2018, Ellicott City, Maryland, was hit with a historic flood. More than 8 inches of rainfall in two hours caused $10.5 million in damages for Howard County.
  • Maryland is ranked as a top 10 state for the highest number of flood insurance claims.

Temperature

  • Maryland currently averages 10 days per year when heat exceeds dangerous levels, but projections indicate that number will quadruple to 40 days per year by 2050. This endangers the lives of the more than 110,000 people in Maryland who are especially vulnerable to extreme heat.
  • Maryland has seen a 8 degree Fahrenheit increase in temperatures per century since 1895.
  • In the summer of 2010, the city of Baltimore recorded 54 consecutive days of temperatures at 90 degrees or higher.
  • Projections indicate that Maryland’s climate will resemble that of South Carolina by 2050 and that of northern Florida by 2100.
  • By 2100, summers in Baltimore will be 81 degrees hotter than 2014 temperatures.
  • Baltimore is ranked first for the largest increase in annual average days for mosquito season—with an increase of 37 days since 1980—increasing the threat of mosquito-borne diseases.

Impacts of the Trump administration’s anti-environmental policies

Climate

  • In March 2020, the Trump administration announced its final rule to overturn Obama-era fuel efficiency standards for cars. These weakened fuel standards will lead to higher greenhouse gas and particulate matter emissions and will cost Marylanders more than $555 million
  • The Trump administration is attempting to gut climate considerations from major infrastructure projects by eliminating the “cumulative impact” requirement of the National Environmental Policy Act. This is concerning because Maryland’s economy relies heavily on its tourism and outdoor recreation industries, both of which are highly dependent on climate and weather conditions.
    • Tourism: In 2018, Maryland’s visitor industry accounted for 150,000 jobs and generated an economic impact of $2.5 billion in state and local tax revenues.
    • Outdoor recreation: The outdoor recreation industry in Maryland generates 109,000 direct jobs and more than $14 billion in consumer spending.
    • Agriculture: Maryland’s agriculture industry contributes $8.25 billion in state revenue annually and supports 350,000

Air quality

  • Mercury emissions in Maryland decreased by more than 71 percent from 2011 to 2017, yet the Trump administration just undermined limits on the amount of mercury and other toxic emissions from power plants.

Water quality

  • In 2019, the Trump administration released a series of proposed changes loosening regulations of coal-powered plants and the disposal of coal ash, which can threaten drinking water quality. These deregulations are dangerous for Maryland, which has generated 8 million tons of coal ash since the 1970s in the Brandywine landfill. Out of the 265 sites across the country, Maryland’s site is ranked seventh for worst groundwater contamination from coal ash.
  • The Trump administration has proposed to cut Chesapeake Bay Program funding by 91 percent in the 2021 budget. This is concerning because the health of the bay is in jeopardy: From 2017 to 2018, the Chesapeake Bay’s health score declined from 54 percent to 46 percent.

To read the personal stories of Americans affected by climate change and the impacts of the Trump administration’s anti-environmental policies in your state, visit OurEnvironment.org.