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DEP Releases Final PA Climate Change Action Plan

Pennsylvania could slash greenhouse gas emissions by 30 percent by 2020 by following the recommendations contained in the Climate Change Action Plan presented to Gov. Rendell this week.

In combination with other state and federal environmental initiatives, the 52 recommendations could reduce emissions by more than 40 percent.

"The recommendations in the plan not only can help stave off environmental devastation due to climate change but will have enormous beneficial impact on our economy," said Gov. Rendell. "The Climate Change Advisory Committee estimates the plan could result in the net creation of 65,000 new full-time jobs and add more than $6 billion to the state's economy."

The recommendations include: a "Re-Light Pennsylvania" program that encourages residential and commercial use of more efficient lighting systems; an Eco-Driving program that offers fuel-saving tips and incentives to drive less; and an urban forestry program that increases carbon storage in trees while reducing a buildings' heating and cooling demands.

The most important impacts from policies already being implemented include:

-- The renewable energy requirements in our Alternative Energy Portfolio Act and Act 129, mandating electric utility energy efficiency programs, will reduce emissions by 15 million metric tons.
-- Pennsylvania's adoption of the 2008 Biofuel Development and In-State Production Incentive Act, the Diesel-Powered Motor Vehicle Idling Act, and the Pennsylvania Clean Vehicles Program will reduce emissions by an additional 16 million metric tons.
-- Recently enacted federal appliance efficiency standards as well as improved efficiency for new light-duty vehicles will further reduce emissions by 5 million metric tons.

The plan is based upon the most current scientific data available, the Governor said. The Advisory Committee and the Department of Environmental Protection led a stakeholder-driven process which evaluated and recommended 52 work plans to mitigate greenhouse gases. All of the work plans were developed, discussed and analyzed with full participation of the committee, representing a diversity of viewpoints.

The final version of the plan, however, was not shared with the Committee prior to its submission to the Governor.

The plan was opened for public comment in October, and DEP accepted a record number of comments, approximately 23,000. About 99 percent of those who commented were strongly in favor of a public policy to address climate change.

DEP said the final report will be posted on the PA Climate Change webpage. (formal notice)


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