Commentary: Maryland's Energy Consumption | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio

WAMU 88.5 : News

Commentary: Maryland's Energy Consumption

Play associated audio

Commentator Mike Tidwell, director of the Chesapeake Climate Action Network, says it's time for Maryland state legislators to take action on bills designed to minimize the environmental impact of energy consumption.


You know the saying: Everyone talks about the weather but no one, well, does anything.

In early February, daffodils and more than a few cherry trees were blooming in D.C. neighborhoods just after scientists told us that 2011 was one of the warmest years ever recorded. The trends of weird weather and climate change are accelerating here and worldwide.

But while Congress remains in gridlock, many leaders in Maryland's General Assembly actually want to do something. Gov. Martin O'Malley has reintroduced an offshore wind bill that would help the state reduce its use of planet-warming coal. A researcher from Boston University estimates the project O'Malley is proposing could save more than 300 lives and nearly $2 billion in health costs in 20 years.

In a recent Gonzales poll for the National Wildlife Federation, 62 percent of registered Maryland voters surveyed said they would be willing to invest in these 21st century ocean-based wind mills, even if it brings a very slight rise in power bills. The Maryland state Senate and House have begun debates this month.

Meanwhile, Del. Heather Mizeur of Montgomery County has introduced a bill that would, for the first time in Maryland, take a serious look at the global warming impacts of the controversial natural gas drilling method called hydraulic fracking. Turns out fracking in Western Maryland could do more than just make people's drinking water flammable. New evidence suggests the drilling method vents significant amounts of methane gas into the atmosphere, adding to global warming. Mizeur's bill would fund studies to determine the full impacts of fracking before Maryland permits the practice here.

Of course, some people wonder what a small state like Maryland can really do to fight a global crisis like climate change. Building windmills to our east and banning fracking to our west are not, by themselves, going to stem global sea-level rise or tame bigger hurricanes. But Maryland, D.C. and Virginia are overwhelmingly vulnerable to those storms and to that sea-level rise. If we don't start kicking our own climate-altering fossil fuel addiction, why should any other state or country?

The time for talking is over. It's time for doing.


Mike Tidwell is the director of the Chesapeake Climate Action Network.

NPR

The Perfect Family Book List

For the holidays, critic Alan Cheuse is making up a list of books to give to each of his family members. Only the best of 2014 for them. Here's his picks.
NPR

Guyanese Christmas Gives A Whole New Meaning To Slow Food

Two classic Christmas dishes beloved by the people of Guyana are pepperpot and garlic pork. To get the flavors just right, you have to cook them and let them sit out for weeks.
NPR

With New Congress, Will Obama Work Differently?

The GOP-led Congress President Obama will have to deal with for the last two years of his presidency is a stark contrast to the Democratic-led one he came in with. Does that mean Obama will change his approach to dealing with Capitol Hill?
NPR

2014 Hashtags: #BringBackOurGirls Made Nigerian Schoolgirls All Of 'Ours'

As part of a series on hashtag activism in 2014, Audie Cornish speaks with Obiageli Ezekwesili of the Open Society Foundation. Ezekwesili was one of the early promoters of the hashtag #bringbackourgirls, about schoolgirls kidnapped in Nigeria in April.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.