- The Washington Times - Friday, March 5, 2021

Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich on Friday highlighted plans to rid the county of greenhouse gas emissions by 2035 in the “post-pandemic world,” including banning single-use plastics, installing solar panels and establishing new standards for buildings.

“If it weren’t for COVID, climate change would have been the headline natural disaster of the year, and the decade, and the century,” Mr. Elrich said during his State of the County Address. “This was, and is, an existential threat to our lives — it was before the pandemic, and that has not changed.” 

Mr. Elrich said the Washington area is already experiencing the effects of climate change, including warmer summers, more flooding and more extreme storms that are “often disproportionately affecting the most vulnerable communities.”

The “Montgomery County Climate Action Plan” includes more than 80 recommended changes to buildings, transportation, government processes, consumption patterns and community outreach to ensure they “are all realigned to meet our generation’s greatest challenge,” he said.

Net-zero design standards for new buildings, bans on single-use plastic products, and installing solar glass and microgrids are among the suggestions.

The Montgomery County Public School system is already on track to become the nation’s largest operator of electric school buses. Officials signed off on a 16-year, $169 million deal last month to gradually replace its 1,422 buses.

Montgomery is the most populous county in Maryland with more than one million residents, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

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