Montgomery County Climate Action Annual Report Highlights 75 Accomplishments to Reduce Climate-Related Risks

Per Montgomery County:
For Immediate Release: Tuesday, August 30, 2022
Montgomery County has released its first Climate Action Plan Annual Report, a work plan detailing Fiscal Year 2022 (FY22) accomplishments and Fiscal Year 2023 (FY23) plans to combat climate change. The report highlights 75 accomplishments in the first year since the plan was released in June 2021.

The Climate Action Plan (CAP) is a strategic plan to cut community-wide greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions 80 percent by 2027 and 100 percent by 2035, compared to 2005 levels. The plan also seeks to reduce climate-related risks to the County’s residents, businesses and the built and natural environment.

During the first year of CAP implementation, County departments and agencies actively worked on 75 climate actions out of the 86 actions identified in the CAP. In FY23, County departments and agencies intend to make progress on 77 climate actions.

“This summer has showed us that climate change is already here. Heat waves and storms are becoming more severe, underscoring the need for Montgomery County and other communities around the world to stay laser-focused on climate action,” said County Executive Marc Elrich. “We will continue to accelerate our climate efforts in the coming year. I recommended, and the County Council approved, record funding for our climate initiatives in the county’s Fiscal year 2023 budget. Our local resources to address climate change will be enhanced by federal funding from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and the recently enacted Inflation Reduction Act.”

Adriana Hochberg, the County’s climate change officer and acting director of the Department of Environmental Protection, said the first year of implementing Climate Action Plan initiatives showed how much could be accomplished in a short period of time.

“Combatting climate change takes all of us. Our accomplishments during the first year of implementing the Climate Action Plan show how much we can achieve when we focus our collective efforts on reducing greenhouse gas emissions and increasing our community’s resilience to the impacts of climate change,” said Ms. Hochberg. “Through a tapestry of dozens of actions across multiple sectors, we will continue to drive down emissions and enhance quality of life in the County, with a special emphasis on members of our community who are the most impacted by climate change and have the fewest resources to cope with its impacts.”

FY22 Climate Action Accomplishments include:

  • Clean Energy: Many solar projects were installed, including a total of 1,027 new residential solar installations and two community solar projects for low- and moderate-income residents. Legislation that funds the Montgomery County Green Brank to expand its clean energy work was passed by County Council.
  • Buildings: The County Council unanimously passed Building Energy Performance Standards legislation, which requires minimum energy performance thresholds for existing covered buildings and drives them to improve their energy efficiency over a set time period, thus reducing carbon emissions.
  • Transportation: Ride On service levels were restored to 80 percent of pre-COVID-19 levels by January 2022. Free fares have been made permanent on Ride On for those under 18, seniors and persons with disabilities. The first 25 electric Montgomery County Public Schools’ (MCPS) school buses have arrived as part of a plan to replace 326 diesel buses with electric school buses over four years. The Department of Environmental Protection estimates that plug-in vehicles made up 9.5 percent of new vehicle registrations in the last year.
  • Carbon Sequestration: Tree Montgomery planted 1,700 trees in FY22, for a cumulative total of more than 7,450 shade trees planted through the spring 2022 planting season.
  • Climate Adaptation: The Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) completed the construction of Glenmont Forest Green Streets, with 53 rain gardens, bio-retention gardens, and tree boxes installed. DEP and the Office of Emergency Management and Homeland Security (OEMHS) began installing 35 early warning flood sensors that can alert residents sooner about high water or flooding events.
  • Governance: DEP, the Office of Innovation, and the Office of Human Resources sponsored five climate training programs for 75 County government staff from 20 departments and developed a comprehensive set of resources for the new Climate Change Ambassador Training Program to build understanding and engagement among County government staff about climate change.
  • Public Engagement, Partnerships and Education: The MCPS Board of Education unanimously passed a Sustainability Policy, committing MCPS to cut greenhouse gas emissions 80 percent by 2027 and 100 percent by 2035 compared to 2005 levels, in line with the CAP.
  • Public Engagement, Partnerships and Education: DEP organized climate storytelling workshops, facilitated by Climate Stories Project that had community members develop, record and share their personal and community relationships with climate change. The project focused on amplifying the voices of under-represented and frontline community members. Montgomery County also co-launched the Maryland Coalition of Counties and Cities for Climate Action.

Actions planned for FY23 include:

  • Clean Energy: Solar panels will be installed at four MCPS schools and at multiple other County locations including maintenance yards, landfills, parking lots and the animal shelter.
  • Buildings: DEP will launch an Electrification Incentive Program in partnership with the City of Takoma Park. The Department of General Services will complete the Holiday Park Senior Center net-zero building retrofit.
  • Transportation: Ride On will operate a total of 14 electric buses in FY23. The Department of General Services (DGS) will procure an additional 100 electric Ride On buses over three years, including approximately 45 electric buses in FY23. DGS awarded a contract to install publicly accessible EV charging stations at approximately 65 libraries, recreation centers and swimming pools; installation will get underway in FY23. MCPS will continue testing and increasing its electric school bus fleet.
  • Carbon Sequestration: DEP, the Montgomery County Department of Transportation, Montgomery Planning and Montgomery Parks will continue tree planting efforts across the County, including reforesting some areas.
  • Climate Adaptation: DEP and OEMHS conducted an Urban Heat Mapping Campaign with community volunteers in early August. Through assistance from Thriving Earth Exchange scientists, the County will analyze the data gathered to identify communities to target for shade tree plantings on private property and along streets. The County also will continue developing a comprehensive Flood Management Plan.
  • Governance: DEP will launch a pilot program to provide climate resilience funding for low- and moderate-income housing to fill funding gaps in existing programs that these households may benefit from.
  • Public Engagement, Partnerships and Education: MCPS will begin implementing its new Sustainability Policy. DEP, other County departments and the Montgomery County Racial Equity Network on the implementation of the Community Justice Academy are working with “Community Ambassadors” who will co-create integrated health, equity and quality-of-life solutions that center on the needs and desires of low-income and Black, Indigenous and Other People of Color communities in the County.

For more information, see:

For questions or comments about the County’s climate action,  email [email protected].

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Admission is free, and attendees will also be able to explore a marketplace of books and food offerings from local vendors.

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17th Annual Kensington Day of the Book Festival

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www.dayofthebook.com

Instagram: @kensingtonbookfestival

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