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Maryland governor Martin O'Malley unveiled an ambitious plan Thursday to combat climate change in the state. What is surely one of the final major policy speeches during his tenure as governor may have also contained some hints about O'Malley's presidential aspirations.
Gov. O'Malley has said that he will decide by the end of the year whether he will run for the Democratic nomination for president in 2016. That's a year after his second term as governor expires, and O'Malley intends to spend much of his final 18 months in Annapolis working to cut greenhouse gas emissions in the state.
But during a speech unveiling his climate change plan, O'Malley didn't shy away from talking about the issue in a national scope.
"Climate disruption is real, and it is not a ideological issue anymore than gravity is," O'Malley said.
Deniers of climate change were a frequent topic during O'Malley's remarks.
"Facts are facts. The carbon content in our atmosphere is higher now than it has been at any time in 3 million years," he said. "It's no coincidence that last year there were more than 3,500 national weather records broken. For heat, for rain, and for snow."
O'Malley also worked in a not so subtle dig at one of his favorite targets, Republican governor Chris Christie of New Jersey, another possible 2016 presidential candidate.
"While other states, like New Jersey, are walking away from RGGI, the regional greenhouse gas initiative, we in Maryland continue to believe that cap and trade is not an ideological left-right issue. It's common sense," O'Malley said.
The O'Malley-Christie verbal sparring goes back a few years, with Christie accusing O'Malley of "spewing pabulum" and attacking him solely to get his name in the national news.