Pennsylvania’s Climate Action Plan paints a grim outlook for state’s future

Pennsylvania

HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — Members of the Wolf Administration are calling for statewide action against climate change as the average annual temperature is expected to rise nearly 6 degrees by 2050.

According to the Pennsylvania Climate Action Plan 2021, rising temperatures could bring about extreme weather like severe heat events which could become more frequent and intense. Temperatures could reach upwards of 90°F for 37 days per year, up from 5 days a year between 1971 and 2000.

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The plan cites possibilities for temperatures to alter growing seasons, bringing less frequent but heavier rains with the number of droughts following a similar trend.

“As thousands of Pennsylvanians try to recover from historic flooding and tornadoes related to the remnants of Ida this month, the message is clear: we must move now out of a reactive mode on climate change,” Gov. Tom Wolf said.

According to the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, the climate plan identifies 18 actions that could reduce emissions levels by 26% by the year 2025 and 80% by 2050.

“Across sectors, leadership requires knowledge, tools, and proactive approaches to protect Pennsylvanians from the instability set off by the climbing global temperature. In addition to adapting to the level of impacts we’re already experiencing, we must significantly lower greenhouse gas emissions if we’re to prevent worsening impacts,” Gov. Wolf said.

So far, Pennsylvania’s plan of action aims to:

  • Reduce extreme heat risks to human health, particularly for vulnerable populations,
  • Support the agriculture, recreation and tourism sectors, as well as forests, ecosystems and wildlife in the transition to a warmer climate,
  • Reduce flood risks to infrastructure and communities,
  • Help low-income households cope with an increased energy burden, and
  • Enhance tropical storm and landslide risk mitigation

“We need to cut emissions significantly more to protect Pennsylvanians from worsening climate change impacts,” DEP Secretary Patrick McDonnell said. “The good news is, we’ve made a start. The even better news is, there are number of tools at hand that can quickly boost our progress.” 

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