As the nation’s leading exporter of electricity and third-largest emitter of carbon dioxide, Pennsylvania has a responsibility to lead on climate.
- Join the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI)
- Adopt a Clean Energy Standard (CES)
- Embrace the Transportation and Climate Initiative (TCI)
- Support energy efficiency, zero-carbon technologies, and carbon sequestration
- Develop an integrated carbon pricing mechanism
Since the release of PEC’s decarbonization policy agenda in early 2019, Governor Tom Wolf has issued an executive order to begin Pennsylvania’s initiation into RGGI. We urge the governor and General Assembly to continue working toward a zero-carbon energy future that serves all Pennsylvanians.
Below, we have compiled a variety of policy documents, research, and multimedia content related to deep decarbonization that have been featured on the PEC website in the years since we began our focus on climate more than a decade ago.
Report: A Policy Pathway Forward
January 23, 2019
Pittsburgh — Calling on Governor Wolf and the General Assembly to act without further delay, the Pennsylvania Environmental Council (PEC) today identified immediate steps Pennsylvania can take to reduce emissions of climate-changing gases.
“After years of talk, debate, research, and more talk about climate change, PEC respectfully requests that Governor Wolf and the General Assembly move immediately to join nine other Northeastern states in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI),” said Davitt Woodwell, President of PEC. “We also ask that the governor and legislature adopt a Clean Energy Standard out of the current Alternative Energy Portfolio Standard.”
Taking these actions in the right ways will promote a broad, technology-agnostic energy policy that encourages low- and zero-carbon-emission energy sources including renewables, nuclear, and fossil fuels with carbon capture technologies. Following these steps, Pennsylvania can substantially reduce emissions while working to protect consumers and create opportunities for workers…
PEC's Record on Deep Decarbonization
For more than a decade PEC has been studying how Pennsylvania can confront climate change. In 2007, our Climate Change Roadmap helped set the stage for passage of the Pennsylvania Climate Change Act of 2008, which mandated the development of a climate action plan for the state. Since then, we have continued working with experts and stakeholders to develop substantive policy recommendations for reducing Pennsylvania’s greenhouse gas emissions.
Testimony & Positions
- House Environmental Resources and Energy Committee (October 2019)
- Statement: Taking Pennsylvania into the Climate Century (October 2019)
- Statement: PEC Supports the Climate Change Mitigation and Energy Transition Act (September 2019)
- Statement: PEC Applauds Announcement of Carbon Limit Legislation (June 2019)
- Senate Consumer Protection & Professional Licensure Committee and Environmental Protection & Environmental Resources Committee (May 2019)
- Bicameral Nuclear Energy Caucus ( June 2018)
Coverage & Commentary
- Lawmaker: Proposal for Pa. cap-and-trade system to cut carbon emissions is ‘a beginning’ (StateImpact Pennsylvania, September 2019)
- Tom Ridge: Nuclear power must be supported (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, April 2019)
- Opinion: Climate Action Has to be the Major Benchmark for Environmental Progress in PA (Pennsylvania Capital-Star, February 2019)
Putting the Pieces Together
Growing the market for clean energy will accelerate Pennsylvania’s progress toward the emission reduction targets announced by Governor Wolf in January, 2019.
Achieving Deep Carbon Reductions
Paths for Pennsylvania's Electricity Future
To examine the efficacy of deep decarbonization as an option for Pennsylvania’s electricity future, the Pennsylvania Environmental Council convened a gathering of experts and stakeholders in March 2017.
In a comprehensive and coordinated effort, prominent thought leaders in clean energy and climate protection held an open and honest discussion around the challenges of deep decarbonization as a potential strategy for Pennsylvania.
The event kicked off a broader conversation about whether deep decarbonization makes sense for our state and, if so, what the components of this strategy will be, and what policies and programs are needed to get there.
While efforts will need to be made to decarbonize all sectors of the economy, including transportation, manufacturing, and agriculture, this event focused primarily on deep decarbonization of the electricity sector, which accounts for 40% of Pennsylvania’s CO2 emissions. We explored activities in the following four areas: renewable energy, carbon capture and storage for fossil fuels, energy efficiency, and nuclear power.
Setting the Stage
Neil Donahue, Carnegie Mellon University
Granger Morgan, Carnegie Mellon University
Jesse Jenkins, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Eric Gimon, Energy Innovation
Steve Brick, Clean Air Task Force
“Climate Change and National Security: People not Polar Bears”
David Titley, Penn State University
Inês Azevedo, Carnegie Mellon University
Matt Jungclaus, Rocky Mountain Institute
Sebastien Houde, University of Maryland
Carbon Capture and Storage
John Quigley, University of Pennsylvania
David Mohler, Department of Energy, retired
Jennie Stephens, Northeastern University
Environmental Leaders Response
Armond Cohen, Clean Air Task Force
Mark Brownstein, Environmental Defense Fund
Jason Albritton, The Nature Conservancy
PEC’s Pennsylvania Legacies podcast explores pathways to deep decarbonization in conversation with scientists, policy experts, business and government leaders, and other stakeholders.
October 11, 2019
January 23, 2019
December 3, 2018
November 2, 2018
July 27, 2018
April 20, 2018
December 1, 2017
September 22, 2017
September 1, 2017
August 18, 2017
July 6, 2017
March 17, 2017
April 19, 2019
Let’s Do This Right
March 6, 2019
The State of Decarbonization in Pennsylvania
July 26, 2018
Mapping Pennsylvania’s EV Future
December 18, 2017
Why Carbon Capture?
November 13, 2017
Getting to Zero: ZECs and the Future of Nuclear Energy
September 15, 2017
Carbon Capture, Utilization, and Storage: An Opportunity for Pennsylvania?
February 24, 2017
It’s More Than Just the Power Sector
February 17, 2017
Economizing the Environment
February 2, 2017
Nuclear Energy and Decarbonization of the Energy Sector
January 27, 2017
The Challenge and Opportunity of Deep Decarbonization
January 20, 2017
Climate Change and Energy: We Need a Big Boat