Martin O'Malley Enters Presidential Race Calling Climate Change 'Greatest Business Opportunity to Come to Our Country in 100 Years'
Hillary Clinton may be the prohibitive favorite, and the Democratic slate for the presidential nomination almost certainly won't be as large as the Republican field. But Saturday, another credible candidate joined Clinton and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders in the race: former Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley, who left office in January after serving for eight years. And, like Clinton and Sanders, those who care about the climate will find him a more sympathetic candidate than anyone on the GOP side.
O’Malley calls climate change “the greatest business opportunity to come to our country in 100 years.” Line wasn’t in prepared remarks
— Sam Stein (@samsteinhp) May 30, 2015
On the "vision" page of his campaign website, he says, "Clean, renewable sources of energy represent one of the biggest economic opportunities in a century. And the threat of climate change is real and immediate. We must make better choices for a more secure and independent energy future—by limiting carbon emissions, setting renewable energy targets, driving innovation, seeding new industries and creating good local jobs."
But he also has a track record of action. As governor, he established a statewide Commission on Climate Change shortly after taking office in 2007. "Protecting our communities from climate change is not a Democratic issue or a Republican issue—it is a Maryland issue,” he said at the time. “This executive order charts a path for the future—one in which we reduce our greenhouse gas emissions and work to prevent sea level rise and coastal flooding.”
In his executive order, he said, "As reported by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (ICPP) in March 2014, the effects of climate change are already occurring on all continents and across the ocean, and numerous opportunities exist to respond to and mitigate associated risks. Human activities, notably the burning of fossil fuels, continue to contribute to the causes and consequences of climate change."
He continued, "Maryland has already experienced some of the effects of climate change, including sea level rise of more than a foot in the last century; increasing water temperatures within the Chesapeake Bay; more rain and flooding in the winter and spring, and less in the summer; and more water shortages."
He set a goal of reducing Maryland's greenhouse gas emissions by 80 percent over 2006 levels by 2050. During his two terms, O'Malley participated in the Regional Greenhouse Gas initiative (2007), released the Maryland Climate Action Plan (2008), successfully pushed for the Greenhouse Gas Emissions Reduction Act (2009) and launched the state's Zero Emissions Vehicle Program (2013).
He also passed the Maryland Offshore Wind Energy Act in 2013 after two defeats, offering a subsidy that could open the door to offshore wind development some time in the future.
And late last year, when Congress was voting on the Keystone XL pipeline, O'Malley has been unequivocal in his opposition to it. He took to social media to urge its rejection saying we should look beyond "smallball choices" on energy, saying it was "too much CO2 and not nearly enough jobs."
We need a jobs agenda that meets our climate challenge. I hope the Senate rejects #KeystoneXL: it's too much CO2, & not nearly enough jobs.
— Martin O'Malley (@GovernorOMalley) November 17, 2014
Just before leaving office last year, however, O'Malley stirred up some controversy on an issue that evokes strong feelings: fracking. With Republican Larry Hogan, who called fracking "an economic gold mine," about to follow him into office, O'Malley announced some guidelines for companies that were casting a longing eye on the gas deposits in the state's western panhandle, which sits on the Marcellus shale formation. He touted that his rules were the strictest in the country but many environmental groups were unhappy that he was willing to be open to fracking at all.
"The safest strategy for drilling for gas in the Marcellus Shale is to not drill for that gas at all," said the Chesapeake Climate Action Network. "We do not believe the state report proves the case that fracking can be done with acceptable public health and environmental safety in Maryland."
“Governor Martin O’Malley’s announcement that his administration will release regulations on fracking next month ignores the tens of thousands of Marylanders calling on him to keep fracking out of the state,” said Wenonah Hauter of Food & Water Watch in a statement, Governor O'Malley Caves to Oil & Gas interests; Opens Up Maryland to Fracking. "He leaves control of fracking’s regulation in the hands of pro-fracking governor-elect Larry Hogan, someone who sees fracking as a ‘goldmine’ for the state’s coffers. The fact that O’Malley is praising Maryland’s fracking rules as the strictest in the country means nothing considering Hogan will likely change the rules or dismantle them completely."
During his campaign, Hogan had said, "States throughout the country have been developing their natural gas resources safely and efficiently for decades. I am concerned that there has been a knee-jerk reaction against any new energy production.” However, he let it be known over Memorial Day weekend that he would not veto a two-and-a-half year fracking moratorium passed by the Maryland legislature and now the moratorium has become law.
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It's going to be back-to-school time soon, but will children go into the classrooms?
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) thinks so, but only as long as safety measures are in place.
Keeping Schools Safe<p>What will safer schools look like?</p><p>In a <a href="https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jama/fullarticle/2766822" target="_blank">JAMA article</a> published last month, <a href="https://www.jhsph.edu/faculty/directory/profile/1781/joshua-m-sharfstein" target="_blank">Dr. Joshua Sharfstein</a>, a pediatrician and professor at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, outlined suggestions — many of which are similar to AAP's.</p><p>Remote learning protocols must stay in place, especially as some schools stagger home and in-building learning. If another shutdown needs to occur, children will rely on distance learning completely, so it must be easy to switch to, he said.</p><p>He suggested giving parents a daily checklist to document their child's health. Kids should be screened quickly on arrival and be given hygiene supplies. Maintenance staff should use appropriate PPE and have regular cleaning schedules. A notification system should be in place if a case is identified, Sharfstein recommended.</p><p><a href="https://www.albany.edu/rockefeller/faculty/erika-martin" target="_blank">Erika Martin</a>, PhD, an associate professor of public administration and policy at University at Albany, said nutrition assistance and health services should be included. She called for tutoring programs with virtual options as well as technology access.</p>
Supporting Staff<p>Teachers and staff will be affected by safeguarding measures, noted <a href="https://directory.sph.umn.edu/bio/sph-a-z/rachel-widome" target="_blank">Rachel Widome</a>, PhD, an associate professor of epidemiology and community health at University of Minnesota.</p><p>"In order for all of the in-school precautions to work well, we'll be asking a lot of teachers and staff," Widome told Healthline. In addition to their usual workload, they'll now be asked to monitor mask-wearing, ensure children are keeping distance, and be aware of any symptoms.</p><p>Along with Sharfstein, Widome called for an increase in financial support. More employees will likely be required so teachers and staff members can keep up with the added demands.</p>
Should Kids Go Back?<p>While these guidelines may help get some schools to reopen, many people don't think children should go back to school over fears they could contract the disease and spread it to other vulnerable family members like grandparents, infant siblings, or their parents.</p><p>In a <a href="https://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/early/2020/07/08/peds.2020-004879" target="_blank">Pediatrics</a> commentary, <a href="https://www.md.com/doctor/william-raszka-md" target="_blank">Dr. William V. Raszka, Jr.</a>, an infectious disease specialist at The University of Vermont Medical Center, argued that schools should open because school-aged children are far less important drivers of COVID-19 than adults.</p><p>But he says the risk and benefit is not equal among all students ages 5 to 18.</p><p>"Elementary schools are arguably higher priority for face-to-face schooling, since younger children are at lower risk for infection and transmission, and since parental supervision of younger children's distance learning may be particularly challenging," added Sorensen, who penned a <a href="https://jamanetwork.com/channels/health-forum/fullarticle/2767411" target="_blank">June article in JAMA</a> with reopening tips. "That means middle and high schools are more likely to emphasize distance learning."</p><p>Specific student populations, such as special education students and students with disabilities, would also benefit greatly from more time spent in face-to-face environments, Sorensen said.</p>
What Parents Can Do<p>Parents should ask for and receive frequent updates from schools about plans for the fall. They should also be informed about plans if and when COVID infections are identified, Sharfstein said.</p><p>"I'd like to see parents investing now, during the summer, in doing things that can slow and stop the spread of the virus in their communities," Widome said.</p><p>"Now is a good time for kids to practice wearing masks and get used to them as they may be wearing them for longer stretches if school starts up in person," Widome suggested.</p><p>She recommends parents try different mask designs and materials to see what children are more comfortable wearing.</p><p>"If you are using cloth face coverings, it's good to have extras on hand," Widome added.</p><p>Parents should model healthy behavior at home and while out in public — another thing that could affect how well children adapt to reopening practices, Sorensen said.</p><p>"Children may want to know more about face coverings," added <a href="https://www.linkedin.com/in/leescott/" target="_blank">Lee Scott</a>, chairwoman of the Educational Advisory Board at <a href="https://www.goddardschool.com/" target="_blank">The Goddard School</a>. "Dramatic play, such as creating or wearing a face covering, may help some children adjust to this concept." Schools can also show children photos of what faculty members look like in their masks so the students are familiar with that appearance.</p><p>Johns Hopkins University recently released its eSchool+ Initiative, a slew of resources surrounding education during the pandemic. These include a <a href="https://equityschoolplus.jhu.edu/reopening-checklist/" target="_blank">checklist for administrators</a>, report on <a href="https://equityschoolplus.jhu.edu/ethics-of-reopening/" target="_blank">ethical considerations</a>, and a tracker of <a href="https://equityschoolplus.jhu.edu/reopening-policy-tracker/" target="_blank">state and local reopening plans</a>.</p>
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<div id="fea63" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="9a6f211c2bc5aedd34837944cb8eeedf"><blockquote class="twitter-tweet twitter-custom-tweet" data-twitter-tweet-id="1281000111481294849" data-partner="rebelmouse"><div style="margin:1em 0">Water in Illinois is overwhelmingly public. Why is Tammy Duckworth sponsoring a bill that aims to change that? https://t.co/1V36Kkd99s</div> — The American Prospect (@The American Prospect)<a href="https://twitter.com/TheProspect/statuses/1281000111481294849">1594249201.0</a></blockquote></div>
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