Montgomery County Climate News: March 18, 2024

Montgomery County Climate Newsletter

MONDAY, MARCH, 18, 2024


Montgomery County Updates

A letter from Montgomery County's Climate Officer, Sarah Kogel-Smucker

As Montgomery County’s Climate Change Officer, it is only fitting for me to take the reins of the Climate Newsletter. My hope is that this monthly newsletter can not only be a source of climate news, but spark engagement and collaboration in our community.

Climate change is here – we are all experiencing hotter summers, more extreme weather events and more intense rainfall. Amidst these challenges, lies an opportunity for collective action and positive change. 

To lead the way, the County has set an important goal of reducing countywide greenhouse gas emissions, climate change pollution, 80% by 2027 and 100% by 2035. The 2021 Climate Action Plan serves as our roadmap and we're already making significant strides in its implementation.  However, addressing this crisis requires a united effort. While County government plays a pivotal role, it's the actions, advocacy, creativity, diversity, and partnerships of Montgomery County residents that will propel us towards our climate goals.

With this newsletter, we aim to shine a spotlight on local climate initiatives and nurture the connections vital to collective success. Please do not hesitate to contact me regarding Montgomery County climate solutions.

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Local Climate News

Local climate news and updates from Montgomery County, the State of Maryland, and surround DMV.

Local Story 1

Governor Moore Announces $90M to Support Moore-Miller Administration’s Climate Agenda

Governor Wes Moore announced $90 million to support the Moore-Miller Administration’s climate agenda. The previously unallocated funding from the Strategic Energy Investment Fund (SEIF) will be placed in the Moore-Miller Administration’s FY2025 budget proposal as one-time funding to advance implementation of the Climate Solutions Now Act and the Maryland Department of Environment’s Climate Plan.

More from the State of Maryland

Story 2

Why So Much of the US Is Unseasonably Hot

A powerful winter storm was dumping deep snow in parts of the West on Monday and much of the central U.S. was unseasonably warm: People played golf in Wisconsin and comfortably walked their dogs in Iowa, where some bulbs were starting to flower. And high winds hiked fire risks in several states.

Why was it happening?

Read more in The Washington Post


Plants’ Unlikely Defense Against Climate Change: Different Leaf Structures

When it comes to plant leaf diversity, it’s not just for show, according to a new University of Maryland study that identified a genetic mechanism responsible for variations in leaf structure. These differing shapes play a crucial role in how plants adapt to different environments. For example, strawberry leaves with more serrations mean the plants will have higher resilience during cold temperatures.

Read more in Maryland Today

Beyond the DMV

National and international climate change news that affects life in the U.S. and beyond.

National 1

Chicago Sues Energy Corporations Over Climate Change ‘Disinformation Campaign’

Chicago filed a novella-length chancery lawsuit in Cook County against six of the world's largest oil companies on Tuesday, accusing them of lying to the city — and the world — for years about fossil fuels' potential for environmental destruction.The city outlined 11 claims in the complaint, including product liability, public nuisance, conspiracy, unjust enrichment, fraud and negligence.

Read more in Courthouse News


A New Study Revealed Big Underestimates of Greenland Ice Loss—and the Power of New Technologies to Track the Changes

Although a new study of the mass of the Greenland Ice Sheet shows that previous research underestimated its ice loss by about 20 percent, which could lead to unexpected increases in sea level rise, it also held good news about the technological advancements used to make such measurements. The study, published last month in the journal Nature, captures ice loss at the edges of glaciers. 

Read more in Inside Climate News


BP to Increase Oil Output, New Chief Says

BP’s new chief executive, Murray Auchincloss, promised a flexible approach to the shift away from fossil fuels as the oil giant reported a $3 billion profit in its latest quarter on Tuesday. Mr. Auchincloss said in an interview after BP reported earnings that the company was pursuing what he called a “demand strategy.” BP’s shares rose nearly 5 percent in trading in London, where the company is based.BP has a plan to become what Mr. Auchincloss called an integrated energy company. 

Read more in The New York Times

Grant Opportunities

We are excited to share the below news and opportunities below. These important grants are offered by both local and federal funding opportunities, and are made available to local governments, universities, community organizations, businesses and individuals.

Montgomery County Announces $1.5M Grant Opportunity to Help Low and Moderate-Income Residents Prepare Homes for Climate Hazards  

The Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) and the Office of Grants Management (OGM) are soliciting grant applications for the County’s FY 2024 Healthy, Efficient, Electrified, Climate-Adapted Pilot (HEECAP) Homes Grants Program, which aims to retrofit income-eligible houses for energy efficiency, a healthy indoor environment, climate resilience and all-electric appliances. A total of $1,500,000 will be made available to fund awards to eligible nonprofits between $300,000 and $1,500,000 for 12, 18, or 24 months.

The program seeks to explore innovative solutions, addressing gaps in existing federal, state, and county programs. The focus is on empowering communities to combat climate change and fostering racial equity and social justice. The grant supports initiatives to enhance community resilience, protect housing for vulnerable residents, and reduce emissions.

Key Program Dates:

  • Submission Deadline: Monday, April 8, 2024 at 11:59 PM 

Click here for more information or click here to download the full Notice of Funding Opportunity.


Biden-Harris Administration Announces $2 Billion to Fund Environmental and Climate Justice Community Change Grants as Part of Investing in America Agenda

The Biden-Harris Administration has announced a groundbreaking $2 billion investment in environmental and climate justice through the Community Change Grants program. Administered by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), these grants constitute the largest single investment in environmental justice, supporting community-led projects focused on clean energy, climate resilience, and environmental justice challenges. The funds, part of President Biden's Investing in America agenda and facilitated by the Inflation Reduction Act, aim to empower disadvantaged communities historically overlooked and burdened by pollution. The program offers two tracks for submission, totaling approximately $2 billion, with specific Target Investment Areas identified, including support for tribes, territories, and border communities. Rolling applications will be accepted until November 21, 2024, and oral presentations from applicants are encouraged. Additionally, $200 million is allocated for technical assistance to enhance community access to resources for environmental and climate justice activities. EPA will host informational webinars to provide further details and address questions.

For more information, click here

Green Jobs Board

Lots of exciting opportunities available for job seekers. Check out DEP’s Green Job Portal for climate and sustainability jobs, including these highlighted positions:

Volunteer Services Coordinator: For one year, get paid to build sustainable solutions in a community, gain valuable hands-on experience and prepare for your future. This full-time AmeriCorps service position offers a great opportunity. View Job

Project Manager at Dynamic Planet: Based in Washington, DC, Dynamic Planet helps advance markets that restore nature through conservation economy development. View Job

Vice President, Climate Action Program: Reporting to the Senior Vice President of Global Operations, the Vice President, Climate Action Program holds a critical leadership position within Global Operations. This position drives efforts to ensure the actions taken under the Climate Action Program reduce carbon emissions across the organization to support a climate-smart, growth-focused future. View Job

Digital Engagement Coordinator-Remote: The Organization Azul is a Latinx-led and Latinx-serving environmental justice organization focused on ocean stewardship. Our work is rooted and guided by equity, social justice and intersectionality, and grounded in a community-centered theory of change. View Job

Upcoming Events

Energy Summit


Wednesday, March 20, 4:00 pm - 6:00 pm: join Montgomery County Green Bank for Market Series Event: Easy Solar for Condos and HOA Residents at The Buchanan room on the 2nd floor of the Rockville Innovation Center at 155 Gibbs St. Rockville. Ideally suited for associations, board members, condo owners and residents of homeowners associations; plus, lenders, policymakers, advocates, and contractors. Panel discussion and refreshments provided. Free, register.  

Saturday, April 5, 1:00 - 5:00 pm: Healthy Homes Fair at DC Armory, 2001 E Capitol St SE, Washington, DC. Come learn how to use your home as a tool to fight climate change! This is an expo and interactive experience for homeowners, renters, home renovation professionals and career seekers to learn about the products and services needed to improve our health, increase comfort, and reduce emissions from the homes of the DC region. Free, info

Sunday, April 7, at 10:00 am – 112:30 am: Sunday Serenade in the Park at Cabin John Regional Park’s Amphitheater, 7400 Tuckerman Ln, Bethesda. Join Montgomery Park for live music performed by local music group the Eric Scott Band. Free, info.  

Monday, April 15 – Tuesday, April 16, 8:00 am – 5:30 pm: 2024 Montgomery County Energy Summit at Silver Spring Civic Building, 1 Veterans Pl, Silver Spring. Cutting-edge education focused on the latest trends in green building, energy efficiency, renewable energy, and related commercial, multifamily, and residential topics in Montgomery County. $40/day, or $75 for both days, info.  

Saturday, April 27, 11:00 am – 4:00 pm: Montgomery County Green Fest at Blackrock Center for the Arts, the largest annual environmental festival in Montgomery County, MD. People of all ages come together to celebrate, learn, and start or continue their journey to improving our community and the environment! Free, info.