Glendening discusses superstorm, climate change

LAUREL— Superstorm Sandy and this summer’s derecho that knocked out power to many Marylanders are prompting a resurgence in discussions about global climate change, former Maryland Gov. Parris Glendening said Thursday.

parris glendeningThe former Democratic governor and president of the Smart Growth Leadership Institute spoke at a workshop on sustainability and growth at the Patuxent National Wildlife Visitor’s Center.

Glendening described the storms as “very, very atypical,” adding they have brought the discussion of global climate change back to the forefront. While he said he agreed with not getting bogged down in the debate over the cause of climate change, “let’s recognize its existence and start to deal with both the mitigation and talk in terms of preventing actions that will make it even worse.”

The former governor said he hoped the resurgence would lead to increased interest in smart growth.

Glendening, who was governor from 1995 to 2003, has been a longtime advocate of the concept, which seeks to steer development into areas that already have infrastructure such as roads, sewers and other utilities. Critics have complained that the approach can hamper economic development in rural areas.

Supporters say smart growth policies help to prevent development and destruction of declining woodlands and wetlands, which Glendening said are the key issues in climate change.