Update To PA Environmental Plan May Benefit Economic Climate

Aug 23, 2016

The Clairton Coke Works in Clairton, Pennsylvania.
Credit Flickr/TheNoxid

Pennsylvania will be at least 5 degrees warmer by 2050 than it was in 2000, according to Penn State University’s 2015 Climate Impacts Assessment Report. To combat a shifting environment, Gov. Tom Wolf has approved an update to the Climate Change Action Plan.

As part of the state’s Climate Change Act of 2008, the action plan is reviewed every three years in an effort to increase energy efficiency in all industries by 2030.

“Addressing climate change and the real impact on the health of our citizens, the costs of our businesses and the environment must be a priority for not just the commonwealth, but all sectors,” Wolf said.

Despite the fact Pennsylvania is getting warmer, the 2015 update includes data from the Impacts Assessment Report which shows statewide greenhouse emissions have decreased by nearly 16 percent since 2000. A reason for the reduction may be because businesses are changing. For example, power plants are using natural gas more than coal for fuel.

A sign spotted at the Clean Energy March in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on July 24, 2016.
Credit Flickr/TheNoxid

The update added 13 plans which focus on the costs and benefits of implementing more eco-friendly practices. Agencies such as the Climate Change Advisory Committee were included in the process of approving new performance standards which require specific emission levels.

Strategies to teach individuals and businesses how to eliminate pollution were also included. Tactics like decreasing food waste, planting trees and adopting new building energy codes may curtail residential, commercial and agricultural greenhouse gas emissions by 2030.

“The consequences of inaction on climate change will be felt by all Pennsylvanians,” said Department of Environmental Protection Acting Secretary McDonnell. “It will affect the food we grow, the energy we use, our recreation, and even our health.”

According to the Center for Climate Strategies, the state’s employment and income numbers are expected to reflect shits in the state’s environment in a positive way. As the environment recovers, so will the economic climate.