Like every other part of Earth, Maryland has experienced changing conditions, unequivocally resulting from human-caused climate change: warmer temperatures, heavier downpours, and rising ocean and Chesapeake Bay levels. We must prepare for and adapt to the even greater changes that, with increasing certainty, science tells us lie ahead. But, in order to avoid truly unmanageable climate change, global society must immediately take aggressive steps to put the world on a pathway to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions in about only 30 years. Ten years ago, Maryland was among the leading states in beginning to follow that pathway, but other states have since moved forward more ambitiously, boldly and urgently. Maryland, the wealthiest and best educated state in the richest and most powerful nation, has both a moral responsibility and a practical self-interest in resuming its leadership role.
Dr. Don Boesch, a resident of Annapolis, is President Emeritus at the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science, which he headed for 27 years. During that time, he also served as a member of the Chesapeake Bay Cabinet for five Maryland governors and a member of the Maryland Commission on Climate Change under two. He led landmark assessments of the consequences of climate change in Maryland and scientific projections of sea-level rise.
Dr. Boesch has been an active scientific advisor at national and international levels. He served as chair of the Ocean Studies Board of the National Academy of Sciences and was a contributing author to two National Climate Assessments. Don was appointed by President Obama to the Commission on the BP Oil Spill and Offshore Drilling. He continues to bring science to bear on the critical challenges faced not only by Maryland but also by his native Gulf Coast region, currently serving as a Senior Scholar with the National Academy of Sciences’ Gulf Research Program.