Wolf calls for statewide action on climate change in Pa.; focus on greenhouse gas emissions

Pennsylvania

HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — Officials from the Wolf Administration announced the Pennsylvania Climate Action Plan 2021 on Wednesday, Sept. 22, emphasizing the need for statewide action — including legislative, government, industry, business, agriculture, and community organizations — as average temperatures continue to climb throughout the Midstate.

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“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.

Lowering Greenhouse Gas Emmissions

The plan reveals 18 strategies to lower greenhouse gas emissions, which can be viewed here, and how they will generate an average of 42,000 new jobs yearly by 2050. According to the press release, the jobs will be economy-wide, including clean energy, manufacturing, energy efficiency installation, supply chain, and more.

“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.”  

According to the release, as a result of greenhouse gas emissions from human activity, Pennsylvania’s average temperature has risen almost 2 degrees Fahrenheit since 1900, which they discovered from the Pennsylvania Climate Impacts Assessment of 2021.

Adapting to Climate Change Impacts

The climate change plan also notes six different areas that are at a higher risk of climate change impacts. These areas include public health, overburdened and vulnerable populations, infrastructure, agriculture, recreation and tourism, and forest, ecosystems, and wildlife.

The 2021 plan, according to the press release, charts adaptation pathways for each, as well as, five to 10 actions that will help reduce the vulnerabilities and manage the impacts. DEP has also listened to concerns expressed by the Office of Environmental Justice and a range of diverse communities, according to DEP Environmental Justice Director Allison Acevedo.

“As a result, Pennsylvania Climate Action Plan 2021 is a blueprint for climate action incorporating environmental justice and equity. We pledge to use this plan to work collaboratively with local communities to increase knowledge about climate change and initiate climate action, and we invite others to join us..” Acevedo said.

The administration also noted that the greatest climate change impacts on infrastructure will come from flooding and landslide; the greatest impacts on agriculture will come from warmer, wetter winters and flooding; and the greatest impacts on forests, ecosystems, wildlife, and recreation and tourism will come from rising average temperatures.

To view the complete climate action plan and a booklet overview, visit their website by clicking here.

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