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PA Environmental Council Unveils Stakeholder-Driven Climate Change Roadmap
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Nearly 40 recommendations for reducing climate-changing greenhouse gas emissions were announced this week as part of the Pennsylvania Climate Change Roadmap developed with the help of business, farm, energy generation and environmental stakeholders convened by the Pennsylvania Environmental Council.

Video Blog: PEC Unveils Climate Change Roadmap.

“It’s time for Pennsylvania to help address a problem that is truly global in scale – climate change. The debate is over, science has spoken,” said Brian Hill, President & CEO of the Pennsylvania Environmental Council. “Climate change will affect the crops we raise, how much rain we get, the kinds of forests and wildlife we have, the amount of energy we use, and how we develop our land.

“Two years ago the Pennsylvania Environmental Council convened a group of stakeholders representing business, farm, energy generation and environmental interests to help us create a Climate Change Roadmap for our state,” said Hill. “It’s designed to show us the way to solutions and opportunities to address climate change in ways that work for Pennsylvania, and importantly, in ways our stakeholders could agree on.”

Using stakeholders from a variety of sectors to help shape environmental policy is a common approach for the Council.

“The Roadmap we’re announcing today lays out a state goal for reducing greenhouse gas emissions, makes available a series of tools to evaluate different emission reduction strategies and outlines nearly 40 specific steps we can take to achieve our reduction goals,” explained Hill.

Specifically, the Roadmap --

· Sets a goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 25 percent by 2025, from 2000 levels;

· Recommends capping greenhouse gas emissions and joining a nationwide system that allows the trading of credits to promote least-cost solutions to reducing greenhouse gas emissions;

· Updates the state’s 2003 inventory of greenhouse gas emissions so we have a good foundation to work from;

· Establishes a model, based on the inventory, that will help us look at the impact of alternatives for reducing greenhouse gases and their impact on achieving our goal; and

· Makes 38 specific recommendations on reducing greenhouse gas emissions in several sectors: energy supply, transportation, residential, commercial and industrial buildings, agriculture, forestry, land use, on carbon sequestration and more.

“Pennsylvania alone generates about 1 percent of the world’s greenhouse gases, putting us in the same group with the top 25 emitting nations in the world,” said Hill. “If we don’t take action now, our projections show greenhouse gas emissions will increase to over 383 million metric tons by 2025.”

“Recognizing the importance of coal to Pennsylvania, we think there is a unique opportunity for the Commonwealth to be a leader in carbon sequestration – taking greenhouse gas emissions from power plants and locking them into underground geologic formations where they cannot harm the environment,” explained Hill. “We are now working with the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources and the state’s Geologic Survey to identify these opportunities throughout the state.”

Joining in the announcement at the State Capitol were several members of the stakeholder group as well as Sen. Ted Erickson (R-Delaware), who along with Rep. Greg Vitali (D-Delaware), have introduced bipartisan legislation to create a climate change plan for Pennsylvania.

Dr. Paul Hepperly of The Rodale Institute noted during the event: “As interest and concern about climate changes intensifies, people around the world are scratching their heads and wondering how they might confront this trend. The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania is among the vanguard in mapping out strategies to counteract the production of greenhouse gasses. Among all economic sectors in this roadmap, agriculture can play a unique role through its potential to reduce its own fossil fuel dependence and to provide renewable fuels and resources. Agriculture also has the ability to capture significant amounts of greenhouse gases in the soil as organic matter, which provides multiple benefits for the environment and agricultural productivity and quality.”

Joyce Ferris, Managing Partner for Blue Hill Partners LLC, noted: “U.S. and global carbon investors stand ready to invest billions of dollars in carbon credits and projects that will reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Current funds available globally exceed $11 billion and are growing rapidly. Those states that develop clear, transparent public policies to address this issue, particularly policies that encourage market-based solutions, are likely to be early leaders in attracting private investment dollars for energy efficiency, renewable energy, and other green technologies. Establishing an effective climate change strategy will allow Pennsylvania to build on its leadership position in renewable energy and become a magnet for national and international investors.”

Nathan Wilcox, Energy and Clean Air Advocate for PennEnvironment remarked: “Global warming has quickly emerged as the most pressing environmental issue of our generation, and Pennsylvania – given that we create more global warming pollution than every state besides Texas and California – has a moral responsibility to be part of the solution. The Pennsylvania environmental Council’s Climate Change roadmap report will be a critical tool in helping Pennsylvania to make significant reductions in our global warming pollution levels.”

Both Sen. Erickson and Rep. Vitali said the recommendations made in the Roadmap are an important step in the consideration of climate change legislation in the General Assembly.

“Climate change is the most important environmental problem facing our planet,” said Rep. Vitali. “Pennsylvania has a responsibility to do more to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, because we are a larger source of the problem, and the Climate Roadmap provides a very helpful guide in taking those steps.”

“The fact that business, environmental, farm and other groups came together to develop the recommendations in the Climate Roadmap make them more creditable and useful as we move forward with legislation,” said Sen. Erickson. “This is the next great opportunity for the economy and I believe Pennsylvania should be a leader, not play catch-up.”

The climate change legislation introduced by Rep. Vitali and Sen. Erickson includes House Bill 110 and Senate Bill 266.

“We believe the Climate Change Roadmap for Pennsylvania offers a series of practical, stakeholder-driven recommendations on how Pennsylvania can contribute real world solutions to this problem, while benefiting our state economically,” said Hill.

Pennsylvania has already taken an important first step by joining thirty one other states in the formation of The Climate Registry – a national greenhouse gas emissions reporting and management system. The Climate Registry will establish a set of common reporting protocols that businesses, governments, and others can use to track emissions and to develop an overall baseline for the evaluation of emission reduction policies.

Funding for the Climate Change Roadmap for Pennsylvania was provided by the Heinz Endowments, the Energy Foundation, and the Emily Hall Tremaine Foundation, with staff support provided by the Center for Climate Strategies, a subsidiary of Enterprising Environmental Solutions, Inc., a nonprofit organization.

The Climate Change Roadmap represents the views of the Pennsylvania Environmental Council. The Pennsylvania Environmental Council convened a diverse group of stakeholders representing business, agriculture, energy generation, and environmental interests to help create the Roadmap report. Although all stakeholders do not necessarily agree with every statement or conclusion in the Roadmap report, their views, input, and analysis helped the Pennsylvania Environmental Council shape the final recommendations.

For more information and copies of the Pennsylvania Environmental Council website and click on the Climate Change Roadmap for Pennsylvania link or call 717-230-8044.

Video Blog: PEC Unveils Climate Change Roadmap.

NewsClips: Group Offers Plan for Cutting Greenhouse Gases

Colleges Pledge to Back Climate Initiative

Global Warming Fight May Benefit Farmers


6/15/2007

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