Maryland in a hurry

by Paul Chesser, Heartland Institute Correspondent on January 3, 2008

in Politics

The state of Maryland, which is running a climate change study commission like many other states, is ready to implement laws restricting carbon dioxide emissions before its panel even finishes its work. The Maryland Commission on Climate Change released interim recommendations early last month, which include a call for emissions reductions even greater than those made by California last year. The state legislature is ready to go to work now on it, the Associated Press reports:

Several lawmakers say a proposal to cap carbon emissions — possibly the nation's toughest plan to reduce greenhouse gases — stands to become the most ambitious bill of the General Assembly session. The environment could be a main topic of debate because the state's looming budget problems were largely addressed in last fall's special session.

The carbon bill, endorsed by a task force set up by Gov. Martin O'Malley, would call for carbon reductions of 25 percent by 2020 and 90 percent by 2050. If approved, the goals would be the nation's strongest carbon-reduction plans.

The caps could headline a long list of environmental proposals.

No kidding. If the interim recommendations are taken seriously by the General Assembly like the carbon cap is, then the state is in for serious economy-busting measures, which include a public benefits fund (a tax on electricity); mandating a higher percentage of renewables in its electricity-generation sources; greater tax subsidies for greenhouse gas emission reduction and energy efficiency; and new transportation initiatives like higher fuel taxes and pay-as-you-drive insurance.

As I’ve written in the past for the John Locke Foundation’s Carolina Journal, this partial menu of options is the adopted brainchild of an advocacy group called the Center for Climate Strategies, who manage these commissions for several different states and give them all their ideas. The difference with Maryland, it seems, is that their lawmakers aren’t bothering to wait until the ink is dry on the commission’s recommendations.

H/T: Mr. Horner

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