Baltimore Climate Action Plan (Maryland)

The City of Baltimore, Maryland's Climate Action Plan (CAP), was developed by the Office of Sustainability with the primary goal of reducing Baltimore’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, while thoroughly integrating adaptation measures. The plan involved the creation of a 22 member Climate Action Plan Advisory Committee, as well as working groups for Building Energy, Land Use & Transportation, Growing a Green City, and Adaptation.

A chapter dedicated to adaptation (Ch.4) explores ways in which Baltimore can best manage risks and protect vulnerable populations from the anticipated impacts of climate change. This chapter reviews the expected climate impacts in the region, the adaptation activities in place at the federal and state levels, and existing climate adaptation related projects in the city. The GHG emission reduction measures that also have adaptation impacts are highlighted, and priority strategies for the All Hazards Mitigation Plan (AHMP) and other future adaptation planning strategies are identified. The key actions for harmonizing with state and federal requirements are also outlined, along with a presentation of maps which prioritize vulnerable populations for focusing strategies.

The priority areas and recommended actions include to: prioritize vulnerability and risk assessments; assess potential health threats and the sufficiency of Baltimore’s response capacity; play an active role in regional adaptation efforts; and to develop a Communications Plan. The CAP suggests specific adaptive actions such as repairing the city’s water supply infrastructure and increasing the number of trees within the city. While Baltimore had a goal of planting 6,000 trees annually, it is now dedicating $400,000 more each year to plant additional trees in areas of the city that exhibit heat island effects. Other integrated measures include creating and adopting a conservation design ordinance and regulations that preserve existing and future open space, wetland buffers, and riparian buffers. These actions are intended to restore and enhance climate protection from flooding or sea level rise, promote biodiversity conservation and clustering/contiguity of spaces, encourage environmentally sensitive development and allow for species preservation and migration.

The Plan aims to reduce the city’s annual greenhouse gas emissions by 15 percent by 2020 relative to a baseline established in 2010, when nearly 7.6 million metric tons of carbon dioxide were released. Within the energy category, the plan calls on building owners to disclose information about their structures’ energy consumption to potential buyers or renters, and it suggests the development of energy performance benchmarks for commercial, industrial, and institutional buildings. The plan also encourages the public to install solar roof panels or cool roof systems.


In 2009, the City of Baltimore adopted its Sustainability Plan. The Pollution Prevention chapter of the Sustainability Plan clearly laid forth a goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 15% by 2015. The strategies associated with this goal were to create a comprehensive Climate Action Plan, and to then strategically implement the Plan. The Climate Action Plan was developed in 2012 with funding from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.




Publication Date: January 15, 2013

Related Organizations:

  • City of Baltimore, Maryland


Resource Category:

Resource Types:

  • Plans (other)

States Affected:


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