Climate Action Commission
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What is a climate action plan?
A climate action plan is a comprehensive roadmap to address the challenges of climate change. It outlines the specific activities a community will take to:
- Reduce greenhouse gas emissions,
- Respond to the impacts of climate change (strengthen resilience and adaptive capacity),
Why is this plan important? How are communities affected by Climate Change Impacts?
Climate change is happening now. It is not a future issue that can be neatly tabled and considered for possible future action. Climate change has already had observable effects on the environment and our County’s residents. Frequent extreme precipitation events like the recent storm event on September 10, 2020, that unleashed anywhere from 4 to 6 inches of rain in less than two hours on the Hyattsville/Riverdale/ Mount Rainier area of Prince George’s County, will continue. Scientists have high confidence that global temperatures will continue to rise for decades to come. In 2020, our County had the hottest summer on record for Prince George’s County when we experienced 26 straight days of 90-degree heat or greater.
Every resident in our County needs to understand and prepare because climate change impacts have no geographic boundary. Residents in our more suburban and rural areas of the County will also experience flooded roads and overwhelmed bridges during extreme rain events. Homes and communities which never flooded before may now flood or suffer from higher water tables with constantly wet basements. What is key to understand, this is not solely a County infrastructure capacity issue. This is a regional and nationwide problem. Our nation’s infrastructure was simply not designed or intended to handle these types of extreme events. Fifty years ago, when many of our nation’s bridges, highways, and drainage infrastructure were built or improved, extreme events maybe happened once in a lifetime. With climate change, extreme events could happen every year or even more frequently regardless of where you live. The problem is incredibly complex and troubling with also a direct correlation to health and environmental injustices issues.
Background and Purpose
The Commission’s charge is set forth in Council Resolution CR-07-2020. This legislation established the Prince George’s Climate Action Commission to develop a Climate Action Plan for Prince George’s County to prepare for and build resilience to regional climate change impacts and to set and achieve climate stabilization goals.
The overarching goal of the Commission is to provide actionable County strategies to both mitigate climate change through reduced greenhouse gas emissions and help protect our County’s communities, including the County’s natural resources, from the increasing likelihood of significant climate change impacts.
CR-07-2020 defines the Commission membership and requires that members represent:
The Prince George’s Climate Action Commission is composed of 16 members:
Director of the Department of the Environment to serve as Chair of the Commission;
Commission Chair: Dawn Hawkins-Nixon, Associate Director, Prince George’s Department of Environment
Member of the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments (MWCOG) appointed by the MWCOG’s Board of Directors;
Commissioner: Kanti Srikanth, Deputy Executive Director, MWCOG
One(1) County Council member appointed by the Chair of the Council;
Commissioner: Council Member Tom Dernoga, County Council Member-District 1
Director or designee of the Department of Permitting, Inspections and Enforcement (DPIE);
Commissioner: Rey De Guzman, Chief Engineer, Prince George's County Department of Permitting, Inspection and Enforcement
Director or designee of the Office of Central Services (OCS);
Commissioner: Erica S. Bannerman, REP Manager, Sustainable Energy, Prince George’s County Office of Central Services
Director or designee of the Department of Public Works and Transportation (DPW&T);
Commissioner: Elizabeth Miller, Chief Engineer Services, Prince George’s Department of Public Works & Transportation
Commissioner Alternate: Terry Bellamy, Director, Prince George’s Department of Public Works & Transportation.
Commissioner Alternate: Andrea Lasker, Office of the Director, Special Assistant for Policy and Program Development, Prince George’s Department of Public Works & Transportation
County Health Officer or their designee;
Commissioner: Evelyn Hoban, Associate Director, HLT – Prince George’s County Health Department
Commissioner Alternate: Dr. Ernest Carter, MD, Ph.D, Health Officer, Prince George's County Health Department
Representative from Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission(M-NCPPC);
Commissioner: Kim Finch, Environmental Planning Section, Countywide Planning, Master Planner, Maryland National Capital Park and Planning Commission (M-NCPPC)
Representative designated by the Chief Executive Officer of Prince George’s County Public Schools;
Commissioner: Donald Belle, Environmental Outreach Educator- William S. Schmidt Center, Prince George’s County Public Schools
Representative designated by the Prince George's County Municipal Association;
Commissioner: Mayor Collin A. Byrd, City of Greenbelt
Commissioner Alternate: Mayor Bennard J. Cann; Mayor, Town of Morningside; President, Prince George's County Municipal Association
Representative of the business community affiliated with energy production or transmission designated by the Prince George’s Chamber of Commerce;
Commissioner: Will Ellis, Director of External Affairs at Pepco
Commissioner Alternate: Brian Smith, Washington Gas, State Government Relations and Public Policy Manager
Representative of the University of Maryland designated by the President of the University:
Commissioner: Scott Lupin, Director, Office of Sustainability, University of Maryland
Representative of Bowie State University designated by the President of the University;
Commissioner: Dr. Alan J. Anderson, Ph. D, Chair of the Department of Natural Sciences and Associate Professor of Chemistry, Bowie State University
Three (3) representatives affiliated with non-profit environmental and/or social justice organizations in the County, designated by the Chair of the Council;
Commissioner: Dr. Janet Gingold, MD, Prince George’s County Sierra Club, Citizen
Commissioner: Dr. Hank S. Cole, Ph.D., Henry S. Cole Environmental Associates, Citizen
Commissioner: Gary Allen, Maryland Forestry Foundation, Citizen
The primary pillar of most climate action plans has been to focus on the mitigation of greenhouse gases. However, due to growing knowledge that the worst-case scenarios of climate change impacts will most likely become the new reality, as a local government tasked with prioritizing the health and welfare of our communities, the Commission will prioritize community-wide climate adaptation and resiliency strategies to prepare for the worst of climate change. The Climate Action Plan will also recommend local strategies to reduce our community’s own carbon footprint at a local scale to combat climate change.