While greenhouse gas (GHG) mitigation initiatives continue to be essential to stabilizing Baltimore’s climate in the long-term, it will certainly take time for our planet to respond to GHG reductions. Consequently, GHG concentrations already present in our atmosphere commit us to a range of climate change impacts that we can expect to face in the near future.
Baltimore cannot entirely prevent changes in climate which have already been set in motion. Without taking additional measures, a reduction in GHG emissions, alone, will not be a sufficient response. Instead, it is increasingly understood that we must learn to live with, or adapt to, a modified climate. CLIMATE ADAPTATION is the process that intends to reduce long-term risks from hazards associated with climate variability and climate change. More specifically, adaptation refers to changes that are made to better respond to new climate conditions, thereby reducing harm and taking advantage of present opportunities.
Climate-related impacts are already affecting Baltimore residents. Heat waves, relative sea level rise, and flooding due to more extreme precipitation events can impact the City’s environmental, social, and economic systems. Building adaptation measures into planning efforts, like the Disaster Preparedness Project and Plan, allows Baltimore to reduce risks to its people and property while increasing resiliency of our communities and businesses.
To achieve these goals, the City of Baltimore is working with state programs. For instance, the City and the Office of Sustainability are both member organizations of the Climate Communications Consortium of Maryland (CCCoM). The Consortium’s mission is to broaden and deepen public engagement in climate change and energy issues across all of Maryland’s communities and sectors by encouraging and facilitating collaboration in the communication efforts of government agencies and elected officials, businesses, non-profit organizations, advocates, and citizens.