The Pennsylvania Environmental Council (PEC) today praised passage of Senate Bill 266, the Pennsylvania Climate Change Act, that requires the development of a Climate Change Action Plan for Pennsylvania.
The legislation was sponsored by Sen. Ted Erickson (R-Delaware/Chester) in the Senate and Rep. Greg Vitali (D-Delaware) in the House.
“This legislation will help Pennsylvania address both the significant challenges and the potential opportunities associated with climate change,” said John Walliser, Vice President for Legal and Governmental Affairs for PEC. “Climate change will affect our economy, environment, and our quality of life; we commend Senator Erickson, Representative Vitali, and the other sponsors of the legislation for taking leadership on this immediate, critical issue.”
In 2007 PEC released its Climate Change Roadmap for Pennsylvania Report that documented the sources and impact of greenhouse gas emissions from Pennsylvania. A diverse panel of 22 stakeholders helped develop 38 specific policy recommendations for reducing greenhouse gas emissions, one of which included developing an action plan required by the legislation passed this week.
Pennsylvania currently accounts for approximately 1 percent of worldwide emissions of greenhouse gases, placing it among the top 25 emitting nations in the world. According to a report from the Union of Concerned Scientists, the effects of climate change will result in significant new challenges for Pennsylvania’s economy, with its two leading industries – agriculture and recreation and tourism – being particularly affected.
“Both Senator Erickson and Representative Vitali took the lead on the need to fully evaluate what climate change will mean to Pennsylvania for the foreseeable future,” said Walliser. “Thanks to their cooperation on seeing this legislation through, Pennsylvania now stands ready to meet this challenge head-on and even find opportunities for further economic development.”
The General Assembly is also considering legislation that would implement other recommendations made in the Climate Change Roadmap, including steps to encourage the use of biofuels, promoting the development of renewable energy sources, and setting energy conservation standards for new buildings.