Maryland Department of the Environment building. Photo by Rob Clatterbuck/Flickr.

In an effort to further reduce greenhouse gas emissions, Maryland has joined the U.S. Department of Energy’s Better Climate Challenge.

The challenge commits the state to reducing greenhouse gas emissions in state government operations by at least 50 percent within ten years. 

Maryland is the first state to join the challenge.  

“Maryland has one of the nation’s most comprehensive, detailed, and balanced plans to address and mitigate climate change, and this partnership only strengthens our efforts,” Governor Hogan said.

Any organization with a portfolio of buildings, plants, or housing in the U.S. can join the challenge.

Other organizations that have joined include General Motors, Kohl’s, and Ford Motor Company.

Maryland is also a partner in the DOE’s Better Building Challenge, which committed the state to reducing energy use in state agency buildings by at least 20 percent over ten years. 

As part of that challenge, the state reduced energy consumption in state-owned buildings by 20 percent from 2008 to 2015.

In 2020, the state set a second goal to further reduce energy consumption by 15 percent by 2029.

The Better Climate Challenge builds on an executive order signed by Governor Larry Hogan in 2019, “Energy Savings Goals for State Government.”

The executive order seeks to reduce energy use and carbon emissions across state-owned buildings. 

Last year, the World Resources Institute released a report that ranked Maryland first in a list of states that reduced greenhouse gases while growing their economy. 

The report aims to demonstrate that economic growth can be achieved without compromising the health of the planet. 

The Better Climate Challenge partnership agreement was signed by Secretary Ben Grumbles of the Maryland Department of the Environment.

”Our commitment to climate progress in the built environment means robust partnerships to shrink greenhouse gas emissions, while growing the economy and strengthening community resilience,” Secretary Grumbles said in a statement.