Pennsylvania Climate Action Plan 2021 Makes Headlines
The top fold on a front page of a newspaper holds a coveted position proclaiming the biggest news of the day. We were excited to see the Commonwealth’s strategy to address climate action as the headline on the September 25 issue of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Released by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection every three years, the Pennsylvania Climate Action Plan outlines bold new steps and strategies to curb carbon emissions, and its adoption affects every person in the state.
As Vice Chair of the PA Climate Change Advisory Committee, Marc Mondor from evolveEA was a strong advocate for the inclusion of triple-bottom-line performance indicators. Here he shares his reflections on the recent publication:
The Pennsylvania Climate Action Plan 2021 is the culmination of several years of input and back-and-forth among a varied group of subject matter experts on the PA Climate Change Advisory Committee, ICF, and the Department of Environmental Protection. Building from past plans and the DEP’s annual impact assessments, this is our most comprehensive plan yet, looking at the financial, health, and environmental returns on a variety of strategies to mitigate and adapt to Pennsylvania’s climate change impacts. The cost of business-as-usual is also evaluated, albeit unfavorably. These common-sense solutions are proposed in the sectors of buildings, agriculture, power generation, industry, transportation, and recreation in order to help guide health, business, employment, land use, and competitiveness policy to help all Pennsylvanians adapt to a changing climate.
-Marc Mondor, AIA, LEED Fellow
Vice Chair, PA Climate Change Advisory Committee
A new addition to this update is a lens of environmental justice and climate equity. For example, an analysis on page 126 shows a heat index of Philadelphia neighborhoods overlayed with vulnerable populations. An extensive community engagement process highlighted root causes of heat disparities and brainstormed collective action to address inequities.
Furthermore, we are heartened to know the Climate Action Plan is having a tangible effect on policy decisions as some elected representatives are actively mapping key performance indicators across both existing and planned legislation. This is the direction we would like to see and applaud all changemakers who are moving the bar forward.