By Alex DeMetrick

BALTIMORE (WJZ) — It’s an ambitious goal on a very tight schedule: Produce half of Maryland’s electricity with renewable energy by the year 2030.

As Alex DeMetrick reports, that jump to 50 percent doubles the state’s current goal of 25 percent.

A coalition of 300 organizations, from churches to environmentalists, announced the campaign push for the increase on Wednesday.

“The federal government is going backwards on this,” says Vincent DeMarco, with the Maryland Clean Energy Jobs Initiative. “We need to be going forward in Maryland. We want to go forward with 50.”

The legislative proposal, that promises more jobs in renewable energy, while reducing pollution from conventional power plants, is called the Maryland Clean Energy Jobs Initiative.

Backers say the pollution they’re looking to reduce hits those with breathing problems the hardest, and causes the climate and oceans to warm, increasing the possibility of extreme weather events.

“When we are using resources to get electricity that harm our air, our water, our seas — communities of color especially, bear the brunt of that,” says Bishop Eugene Sutton, of the Episcopal Diocese of Maryland.

Supporters say doubling renewable energy in 12 years is possible, based on what’s already been done.

Solar now powers 68,000 Maryland homes. Wind powers 49,000. With 50 percent clean power, over 8 million metric tons of carbon dioxide would be cut. That’s equivalent to taking 1.7 million cars off the road.

“We can save lives, create jobs and help make certain there’s a world there for our grandchildren,” says DeMarco.

Organizers of the initiative plan to make it a campaign issue for candidates running in 2018.

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