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By Mary Bubala

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (WJZ)—An ambitious plan to deal with climate change. This week, Gov. Martin O’Malley made major strides with the scientific community, which says our state is in the target zone for the affects of extreme weather.

Mary Bubala reports.

Experts say climate change is to blame for the increase in severe storms, flooding and extreme temperatures.

And data shows Maryland is vulnerable to the rise in sea level, possibly losing precious land to climate change long term.

“Last year we experienced the hottest year on record,” said Gov. O’Malley.

This week, Gov. O’Malley hosted hundreds of scientists, business leaders and environmental advocates for a climate change summit.

He released what he calls the country’s most ambitious greenhouse gas reduction plan.

“This is not only about icebergs melting and polar bears drowning, it’s also more locally about the 168 Marylanders we’ve lost in severe weather events over the past decade and a half,” Gov. O’Malley said.

The plan includes:

  • reducing greenhouse gas emissions 25% by 2020
  • cutting emissions from power plants by 40%
  • doubling Maryland’s transit ridership by 2020
  • and eliminating 85% of Maryland’s waste by 2030

Achieving that last goal means a huge increase in commercial and residential composting and recycling.

“The good news is that we actually have one of the higher recycling rates already compared to the other 50 states, so we start from a very good base,” O’Malley said.

The plan also calls for stricter vehicle emission standards and establishing more sources for renewable energy.

The governor says these changes could create thousands of jobs and pump more than a billion dollars into the state’s economy.

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