Annapolis Mayor addresses City’s position on withdrawal from Paris Climate Accord

| June 9, 2017
Rams Head
Pantelides

Annapolis Mayor, Michael J. Pantelides

I wanted to comment on a recent story in the Capital Newspaper about the Paris climate agreement and how candidates for mayor would react. One of the democratic candidates called on me to make a commitment to work toward a clean energy economy and meet important climate goals.

Thank you for allowing me the opportunity to tout our numerous achievements on this front.

Let me elaborate. The city will reduce its carbon footprint by generating renewable energy. We are ready to start construction of the Annapolis Renewable Energy Park, now that Anne Arundel County and the Board of Education voted unanimously to purchase power from the city. In the next few months, you will see the first of the 54,000 solar panels being installed at the site and when this project is completed, it will be the largest solar project identified by the Environmental Protection Agency exclusively installed on a closed landfill in the United States.

By converting the closed Annapolis Landfill to the Annapolis Renewable Energy Park, the city is supporting the production of carbon-neutral energy, which will offset the equivalent amount of carbon captured by 15,919 acres of U.S. forests in one year. The energy park is expected to produce approximately 23,930,000 kilowatt-hours of carbon-neutral electricity, an amount that offsets the annual greenhouse gas emissions generated from 3,552 passenger vehicles.  In other words, this production is estimated to offset the CO2 emissions of 2,483 homes for one year, or approximately 12.5% of the annual household electricity usage within the City of Annapolis.

This city has also entered into a performance based contract with Honeywell to reduce the electrical consumption by city owned buildings. Through this contract the city will replace old heating and cooling systems, upgrade lighting systems and weatherproof city owned buildings reducing their energy usage by 25%. Meanwhile, we have a commitment with the Maryland Department of Natural Resources to reach a 50% tree canopy goal by 2036.

As you are well aware, Annapolis is considered one of the most impacted cities affected by sea level rise. While other cities can treat the issue remotely we are facing the consequences on a daily basis.

We have contracted with AECOM to develop three flood mitigation design concepts. These designs will address nuisance flooding downtown due to tidal fluctuations, conduct community outreach to downtown residents and business owners impacted by the flooding, and complete a final engineering study.

Recently, I walked door to door talking to each business along Dock Street to request data that was necessary to submit a FEMA Grant. The submission package amounted to 157 pages and included 16 appendices, in addition to a 40 slide PowerPoint presentation.  This grant, if approved by FEMA, could provide the city with $3M of the $10 million we need, to implement the critical equipment that will minimize nuisance flooding in the historic downtown area.

Just a few weeks ago, I also held a flood control device demonstration that has been used successfully in Baton Rouge and New York City to provide for storm surge flood protection.

These are just a few of the things I am doing to protect our environment and address climate change.

Would I have pulled out of the agreement? No. But I’m not the President; I am the Mayor of Annapolis, and as your mayor, I remain focused on Annapolis and will continue to support the initiatives in place and create new and innovative ways to address climate change and its effects on our city.  In short, the city has already taken actions that exceed the objectives set by the Environmental Accord.  I am proud to see other city’s following Annapolis’ lead on curbing climate change and rising tides.

–Annapolis Mayor, Michael Pantelides

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