Climate Change Working Group: Get Involved

The Climate Change Working Group (CCWG) is unique in its mission. We seek to prepare Frederick County and its residents to mitigate and adapt to the impacts of a changing climate through responsible planning, education and advocacy.

The Climate Change Working Group envisions a resilient creative community, with a local economy that is mostly independent of fossil fuels and is self-sustaining.

Some things this might mean for our community include:

    • Locally produced electricity derived from renewable sources.

    • The strategic use of sun and shade, prevailing winds and vegetation to reduce the need for artificial cooling and heating of public and private buildings.

    • A local economy which provides most employment opportunities for Frederick County residents.

    • A robust agricultural sector which feeds Frederick County residents and contributes to feeding the populations of Baltimore and Washington, D.C.

    • An efficient public transportation system along well-planned population corridors that reduces the reliance on cars.

    • Incentives to increase the likelihood that private and public vehicles are fueled through renewable sources.

    • A local ecosystem that is returned to balance, with migration corridors that allow climate-stressed plants and animals to move north or to higher elevations.

    • Water sources that are safe and sufficient for users to thrive, including aquatic species, agriculture, and humans, because they are protected by forested buffers.

    • “Zero waste” policies and practices.

The need for local action is evident to members of the Climate Change Working Group.

The climate has already warmed an alarming 2°Fahrenheit, since the Industrial Revolution, more than half-way to the 3.6°Fahrenheit (2°Centigrade) that the International Panel on Climate Change has determined will threaten human habitation on the planet.

Through a year-long research and outreach effort, we’ve learned:

    • The Chesapeake Bay is especially vulnerable to rising sea levels. Poplar Island is underwater. The City of Annapolis is planning for what to preserve and protect. Scientists are pumping mud onto marshes in the Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge to prevent them from sinking underwater.

    • The eastern U.S. will experience more extreme weather patterns, such as heavy rains and flooding, especially in the spring, along with longer, hotter, dryer periods in the summer. Summers will last longer, and warmer winters are expected. Long-term drought is projected for the western states.

    • Warmer winters are already causing the ranges of some insect pests to expand, impacting the health and viability of trees, shrubs and food crops, and also contributing to the spread of insect-borne human diseases, such as Lyme, Zika, and others.

    • Human health could also be impacted by stresses caused by poor air quality, excessive heat and food shortages.

    • Arable land is diminishing due to development, while the world population is growing. Food producers will be expected to produce more. In Frederick, what is grown will change as growing seasons lengthen and the temperature rises.

    • Pollinators, estimated to be necessary for the reproduction of 90% of flowering plants and 1/3 of human food crops, are declining.

    • There will be pressure on water resources as the population increases and the demand for water to irrigate increases. Forested buffers will become important to protect quality, mitigate evaporation, and provide ecosystem support.

    • Plants and animals will need to migrate as their habitats change.

    • Heat and drought in some areas and sea level rise in others, coupled with increased severe weather and flooding will create Climate Refugees. Frederick is positioned relatively well, in this regard, which may mean that more people will re-locate here, than are currently projected.

Addressing the effects of Climate Change is a seemingly overwhelming task. Beyond research and outreach, CCWG members have spent this past year networking with other non-government and government agencies with missions related to climate change and environmental stewardship and recognize we have many partners and can accomplish more by working together. CCWG members commit to an array of tasks as well as regular meetings.

Interest groups focus on discreet subjects, such as energy, food and politics, and through these working groups, attend seminars and workshops, conduct research, present findings, and network. At regularly scheduled monthly CCWG meetings, they share findings and make recommendations for discussion, and learn from subject matter experts invited to speak.

The Working Group can also be a resource for Climate Change 101 presentations, expertise in renewable energy capacity, water quality and nuclear power issues. As we grow, we hope to add to our range of expertise.

To learn more about the Climate Change Working Group and how you can contribute to a resilient and self-sustaining Frederick, please email Karen

Photo from the December meeting of the Climate Change Working Group