Pennsylvania is not resistant to the effects of climate change. It has been recorded that Pennsylvania has seen an increase in temperature. There is an increase in precipitation throughout the state. However, what is what is western Pennsylvania doing to stop this? What are its contributions to the cause to minimize greenhouse gas release? This topic was chosen to find out whether western Pennsylvania is understanding the risk of climate change and is trying to slow it down.
Climate change is affecting the weather of Pennsylvania. There has been an increase of 1.8°F over 110 years. On average, Pennsylvania has seen a 10 percent increase in precipitation. It is estimated to see it raise about 8 percent more by the year 2050 (“Climate Change”, n.d). Pittsburg received one of its wettest years on record in 2018. The city of Pittsburg has also been dealing with an increase of flooding and landslides. In 2019, the city had to double the budget to $ 6.8 million to control the landslides and flooding (Vicens & Mattson, 2019).
Due to this temperature change the agriculture of Pennsylvania will suffer. The warm temperature will kill corn, one of Pennsylvania\'s most popular crop. The warming weather will also bring out more pest sooner that can damage the growth of plants. Rising temperatures can cause cows to produce less milk (Bonner, 2017). Western Pennsylvania is home to roughly 44 dairy farms (Kaylegian, 2014). Thus, climate change will have an impact on the food supply of western Pennsylvania.
The state of Pennsylvania has made efforts to lower its greenhouse emission production. Polices are being passed to lower emissions. The Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative which limits the amount of carbon a power plant can produce. DEP’s Methane Reduction Strategy which is to lower emissions from natural gas well sites. Pennsylvania also offers a grant to businesses for green building projects and the use of solar technology. There are also polices for companies to follow such as making it the responsibility to find a way to limit customer consumption for power. Governor Wolf executive order made it that state agencies must reduce their energy consumption by 3 percent per year (“Climate Change in PA”, n.d).
Governor Wolf has taken it upon himself to lead Pennsylvania into lowering its greenhouse emissions. Wolf issued an Executive Order 2019-1 which set clean energy goals for Pennsylvania. In April 2019 Wolf stated that Pennsylvania would join the U.S Climate Alliance. The Climate Alliance commits the state to implement policies that will reduce carbon emissions. The state is now under the goal of lowering greenhouse emissions by 26-28 percent below 2005 level by 2025 (“Climate Change”, n.d). Pennsylvania is responsible for nearly 1 percent of emissions and is known as an energy powerhouse (“Climate Change in PA”, n.d). Therefore, the state lowering its emissions will have an extensive impact on climate change.
The change western Pennsylvania is taking is with the city of Pittsburg. The city of Pittsburg is takin big steps in helping slow down climate change. In 2013, Pittsburg found out that 81 percent of its greenhouse gas emissions comes from its building. This is due to powering older homes with electricity and natural gas consumption. Transmission emissions make up 18 percent of greenhouse gases. However, Pittsburg wants to make a change in lowering its greenhouse gas emissions. The city plans on updating the buildings that are currently contributing to the release of carbon emissions. The main contributor to the release of transmission emissions is single-occupancy cars. The city plans on updating the biking and pedestrian routes in hopes that people will travel this way instead of by car. Pittsburg also wants to form an electric vehicle fleet. There is also a goal of planting trees in Pittsburg. The goal is to plant 780,000 trees by 2030. The planting of the trees will increase the cities tree cover up to 60 percent. The trees will absorb carbon dioxide from the air and admit oxygen providing cleaner air (Vicens & Mattson, 2019).
There are some solutions in place to lower the states greenhouse emissions. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, building cause the most release of greenhouse gas emissions followed by electricity that is generated in the state. Building make up 33 percent of greenhouse gas release and grid produces 31 percent. An idea discussed is that since building cause the most greenhouse gas emissions then a solution would be to update the buildings. A lot of Pennsylvania homes are old and don’t have the best installation. Without the proper installation greenhouse gasses can escape (“Climate Change in PA”, n.d). For example, without proper installation and energy saving practices the Air conditioning unit will have to use a lot more power to cool the house. The A.C will leak out of the house causing that energy to be lost. A way to fix this would be to have home inspections of the release of greenhouse gases so that this issue can be fixed. This way the old houses can be fixed, and the new homes will be built to already have this good installation. To fix the grid problem the EPA has made a policy to the comapanies.
- https://stateimpact.npr.org/pennsylvania/2019/10/31/at-western-pa-climate-change-summit-one-scientist-says-effects-can-be-managed-if-emissions-are-cut/ \n
- https://projects.publicsource.org/pittsburgh-covering-climate-change-now-data/ \nhttps://www.depgis.state.pa.us/ClimateChange/index.html
- Climate Change. (n.d.). Retrieved May 5, 2020, from https://www.dep.pa.gov/Citizens/climate/Pages/default.aspx
- Bonner, T. (2017, June 1). What does climate change mean for Pa.? Retrieved May 5, 2020, from https://www.pennlive.com/news/2017/06/what_does_climate_change_mean.html
- Kaylegian, K. (2014). PDF. University Park.
- Vicens, N., & Mattson, N. (2019, September 19). Data: Stats you should know about climate change in the Pittsburgh area. Retrieved May 5, 2020, from https://projects.publicsource.org/pittsburgh-covering-climate-change-now-data/
- Climate Change in PA. (n.d.). Retrieved May 5, 2020, from http://www.depgis.state.pa.us/ClimateChange/index.html