Q3 Climate Work Plan Updates Released; Bike to Work Day is this Friday!

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Climate News

Covering the latest climate news in Montgomery County, MD

“Climate change is something we must address with a sense of urgency, and with this new [Building Energy Performance Standards] law, our County is taking a big, bold step forward.”
-County Executive Marc Elrich  

Thursday, May 19, 2022 | Department of Environmental Protection

Climate Action Quarter 3 Progress Updates

Climate Action Plan logo of colorful circles with an orange background

Montgomery County has released its Third Quarter updates of the Fiscal Year 2022 Climate Work Plan. The updates highlight the progress that is being made to implement actions in the Climate Action Plan. These quarterly updates provide a near real-time view into the climate actions taking place right now and how they relate to the County’s climate goals. The Quarter 3 updates are available here.

2022 Bike to Work Day promotional graphic

Bike to Work Day 2022

Following the success of the annual Bike to School Day event on May 4, the Washington Region’s annual Bike to Work Day is taking place on Friday, May 20.

Bike riders in Montgomery County can stop by one of the six pit stops sponsored by the County Department of Transportation (MCDOT) for refreshments, to listen to music, and visit local vendor displays during varying times on May 20. MCDOT’s pitstops will begin at 6:30 a.m. and run until either 8:30 a.m. or 9 a.m. There will be free raffle prizes and two new bikes will be raffled off as grand prizes at each MCDOT-sponsored pit stop. Teleworkers and leisure riders are encouraged to participate. "With the change in weather and rising gas prices, biking to work is a great way to save money and get exercise,” said Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich. “It’s a healthy and fun way to travel and it is good for our environment.”

Register to participate in lowering greenhouse gas emissions and for a chance to win a free T-shirt and new bike, and read more about the event here.

BEPS Legislation Signed into Law

BEPS legislation bill signing event, image of speakers and CE signing the bill

On May 2, County Executive Marc Elrich signed the Building Energy Performance Standards (BEPS) legislation (Bill 16-21) into law. The new law expands the number of buildings covered by the County’s existing Benchmarking Law to include additional County-owned, commercial and multifamily buildings and establish long-term standards for those buildings and require the use of less energy. This will be one of the most effective ways to reduce energy demand and carbon pollution from the existing buildings as the County tackles its climate change goals.

Watch the video of County Executive Elrich signing the bill here and read more about the bill in the County's press release here.

Volunteer for the Urban Heat Mapping Campaign

Icon of the United States in orange with a flame above it

Montgomery County has been selected to take part in the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) “Urban Heat Mapping Campaign” this summer. The County is seeking volunteers to use heat sensors mounted onto their cars as they travel in their neighborhoods on one of the hottest days of the year. The sensors will record temperature, humidity, time, and location. Neighborhoods involved will include about 200 square miles in the County, encompassing more populated areas like Gaithersburg, Germantown, Rockville, Silver Spring, and Wheaton. These local maps will help in determining where the most vulnerable neighborhoods are for heat risk so we can act and help in protecting them.

Read more about the County’s participation in this national effort to track urban heat islands in this article and register as a volunteer here today!

Case Study: EV Charger Installation at a Condominium

clip art of a multifamily building, and an electric vehicle being charged with battery icons

Longtime resident of the Clarksburg Condominium II, Robert B., with an interest environmental sustainability and energy independence, started thinking about his transition to a zero-emission electric vehicle (EV) in 2010. One of his main considerations as with many other prospective EV drivers was the barrier of access to reliable charging, especially in a common ownership community. Read about how Robert and his community took action to address this barrier by researching, gathering support, and installing Level 2 EV chargers in their shared parking lot in the Spring of 2022 here.

Celebration of Arbor Day

Trees being planted by contractors

A celebration of Arbor Day was hosted on April 29, by the County’s departments of Environmental Protection, Transportation, and Parks. The event at the East County Community Recreation Center involved planting trees, raffles for trees, plogging, and trash pickup with volunteers. The goal of these activities was to bring attention to the new County tree and encourage the planting of trees so the tree canopy increases. County Department of Environmental Protection Acting Director Adriana Hochberg says that “The black tupelo is resilient, beautiful and critical to our County ecosystem and tree canopy. It’s a perfect symbol for Montgomery County as our official tree.” Trees improve air and water quality, help reduce erosion and flooding, and serve as a habitat for plants, birds, and animals.

Read more about the event and its goals for increasing the resilience of the County here, and learn more about the County’s Tree Program here.

Low Income Household Water Assistance Program

Water drop with two hands creating a heart

Montgomery County households earning 60 percent or below of Maryland median income can now apply for assistance in paying past due water bills through the Low-Income Household Water Assistance Program (LIHWAP). LIHWAP is a new federally funded grant program to assist families that are experiencing hardship and are 30 days or more past due on their drinking water and wastewater bills.

Read more about the program and how to apply here, and check out an informational video about the program here.

Guide to Sustainable Shopping in Montgomery County

two people shopping for clothes at an open-air market

Did you know that it takes 2,000 gallons of water to make a single pair of blue jeans and 713 gallons of water to grow the cotton required for one t-shirt? Textiles can also produce a lot of waste, since they often can’t be recycled. This article provides a guide on how to be more sustainable when shopping by explaining the benefits of thrifting as well as providing a helpful list of all the thrift stores in the area. It also suggests donating, going to estate sales, doing clothing swaps, and joining “Buy Nothing” groups. Make sure to always bring your reusable bag, too! Read more tips in the blog here.

Thank you to our Spring 2022 interns!

Speech bubble clip art

Climate interns work in the County Executive’s office as part of the climate team and work closely with County employees to gain experience by attending meetings and briefings, conducting research, writing summaries, as well working on various other important tasks.

As the most recent intern season comes to an end, we would like to extend a heartfelt thank you to the interns who have worked so hard to help with our mission to reduce GHG emissions and work toward resilience and creating climate solutions. Read about their contributions and goals here.

Green Jobs Board

Job Opportunities

Lots of exciting opportunities available for job seekers. Check out DEP’s Green Job Portal for climate and sustainability jobs, including open positions the Green New Deal Network, World Resources Institute, WMATA, and many more!

Climate News Round-Up


To read 

Regional Climate News 

Sheep and solar panels: Using solar sites for pastureland (Bay Journal)

Elrich Signs Building Energy Performance Standards Bill (MyMCMedia)

Montgomery Parks Receives $12.3 Million from State for Renovation Projects (MyMCMedia)

How Does the State Plant 5 Million Trees? It’s Complicated (Maryland Matters)

Political Notes: More than 100 State Candidates Sign Carbon-Free Electricity Pledge and Congressional Endorsements (Maryland Matters)

State mulls intervening at Baltimore’s second wastewater treatment plant amid growing concerns (The Baltimore Sun)

Maryland and Other Bay States Receive First Batch of Federal Infrastructure Funding to Restore Chesapeake (Maryland Matters)

National/International Climate News 

Tracking Biden’s Environmental Actions (The Washington Post)

Europe Rethinks Its Reliance on Burning Wood for Electricity (The New York Times)

California subpoenas Exxon for details on role in global plastic pollution (CNBC)

Biden pulls 3 offshore oil lease sales, curbing new drilling this year (The Washington Post)

Australia opens facility that will ‘blast’ human waste and convert it into fertilizer (CNBC)

Deforestation Remains High, Despite International Pledges (The New York Times)

Op-ed: Russia’s war on Ukraine shows the urgent need to move away from fossil fuels as fast as possible (CNBC)

UAE’s Masdar signs deal for green hydrogen projects in Egypt, targets exports to Europe (CNBC)

Pollution caused 1 in 6 deaths globally for five years, study says (The Washington Post)

Biden Administration and EPA Announce $113M to fund Great Lakes Restoration Projects near Duluth, Minnesota (EPA)

Novelis to Build Low-Carbon Aluminum Plant (Smart Energy Decisions)

Where are Russia’s barrels of oil going? (The Washington Post)

There’s an election in Australia. Here’s how climate fits in (The New York Times)

Earth could soon briefly hit threatening climate threshold (The Washington Post)

Chevron Partners For Low Carbon Project in Indonesia (Smart Energy Decisions)

U.S. plastics recycling rate slumps below 6 percent, analysis finds (The Washington Post)

To listen 

Decarbonizing Thermal Loads: The Next Frontier (Smart Energy Decisions)

Getting to the Bottom of the Barrel: Understanding Volatile Oil Markets, with Helima Croft (Resources Radio)

Fungi-based meat alternatives to help save Earth’s forests (ClimateGenn Podcast)

Episode 54: Clean Energy Dealmaking (Smart Energy Decisions)

Big Money: Investment Managers Driving Corporate Action (Climate One)

Logging into the Deep History of Climate, with Erika Wise (Resources Radio)

To watch

John Kerry on the costs of climate change (PBS NewsHour)

Brave Blue World: Racing to Solve Our Water Crisis (Netflix)

Climate change technology: is shading the earth too risky? (The Economist)

5 promising factors propelling climate action (Ted)

Upcoming Events

May 20 | In-Person Pit Stops Around the County
Bike to Work Day

May 23 | In-Person Event, Leesburg, VA
Loudoun County Board of Supervisors Environmental Summit

May 23 | Webinar
The City of Bowie’s Coffee & Climate #3 – Converting to an EV

May 24 | In-Person Event, Washington, DC
2022 Climate Leadership Conference

May 24 | Webinar
Ready, Set, Scale. A NEEP Series.

May 25 | Virtual Event
EPA Mid-Atlantic Summit “Together Building a Better, More Equitable Region”

May 25 | Virtual Meeting
COG Climate, Energy and Environment Policy Committee

May 25 | Webinar
Maryland Zero Emission Vehicle Infrastructure Plan

May 26 | Webinar
ELI: Equity-Centered Local Climate Action Planning

June 1 | Virtual Meeting
Climate, Energy, and Air Quality Advisory Committee Meeting

June 5 | In-Person Event, Arlington, Virginia
Arlington County Green Community Tour: Homes, Gardens & More!

May-August 2022 | Webinars
Capital Area Solar Co-op Virtual Info Sessions