Maryland emits more greenhouse gases than 150 countries

Maryland emitted more cumulative global warming pollution between 1960-2005 than more than 150 other nations surveyed, according to a report released today from Greenpeace. And that makes the state one of the least polluting on a per person basis.

The United States has long been considered the chief emitter, but months ahead of a global forum on the subject, the environmental organization was seeking to underscore the level by compiling Department of Energy statistics for individual states and comparing them to World Resource Institute data from 184 other countries.

Sixteen states emitted fewer gases per person than Maryland, Greenpeace's data shows. Those in Vermont, Oregon and Idaho had the lowest contributions. Wyoming, West Virginia and North Dakota contributed the most per person.

Tracy Wax, Maryland field organizer for Greenpeace, said the group was trying to drum up attention ahead of the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen in December. "If the United States won't take the lead, then why would China or India do anything?" she said during a news conference today at the Herring Run Watershed Center on Belair Road, a newly certified "green" building by the U.S. Green Building Council.

Wax said the effects in Maryland already can be seen: Rising sea levels consume at least 260 acres of coastal land each year. She said Maryland's legislature and Gov. Martin O'Malley have taken steps to reduce emission in the state from cars and other sources, though the effects can't yet be determined. She urged the U.S. Congress to follow suit.

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