On December 7th, the Montgomery County Council unanimously passed an “Emergency Climate Mobilization” resolution to cut greenhouse gas emissions in the coming years. The resolution urges jurisdictions in the United States at the federal, state, and local levels to join Montgomery County in attempting to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 80 percent by 2027 and 100 percent by 2035.
The resolution encourages other governments and the county to use all available resources to reach the ambitious goal. The resolution also requires various leaders and important organizations throughout the county including the County Executive, local school system, and the Parks and Planning Department to inform the council on the methods they plan to implement to meet the goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
Activists and lawmakers said the resolution will put the county in the right direction, even though the standards will be difficult to meet. Council member Mark Elrich, a lead sponsor of the resolution, supported the ambitious time frame for the goal.
“If your goal is 2050, then you’ll develop policies that are even slower. So we’re better off trying to do this on a ‘short track’ rather than a ‘long track’,” he said.
Council member George Leventhal emphasized the importance of the resolution. “The climate is changing,” he explained. “It’s changing around our eyes. This resolution speaks to local actions. It speaks to goals we should adhere to in our community.”
The resolution comes after the President of United States Donald Trump announced plans to withdraw the country from the Paris Climate Accord on June 1. The President, along with Energy Secretary Rick Perry and Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt, have repeatedly questioned the role of humans in spurring global warming. After United States left the Accord, the Montgomery County Council passed a resolution reaffirming its commitment to reaching the standards set at the Paris Climate Accord.
Over the next six months, the council intends to gather ideas on the types of legislation that have potential to cut emissions quickly and efficiently. Some of the ideas being considered include composting programs, greener building codes, initiatives to boost the use of electric cars and solar panels, and increased investment in renewable energy. Local activists are particularly focused on shutting down a trash incinerator and a coal and gas plant in Dickerson.
Winston Churchill High School sophomore Kaya Ozgun appreciated the efforts of the council in fighting climate change: “I agree with the resolution. I believe it is important to combat climate change.”
Saint Andrew’s Episcopal School sophomore Holden Cook also supported the action taken by the council. He said “I think climate change is very important.”
Article by MoCo Student staff writer Bilal Choudry of Winston Churchill High School