PennFuture congratulates Governor Wolf for his leadership on addressing carbon pollution in Pennsylvania, as today the Governor has issued an executive order that sets Pennsylvania’s first ever carbon emission goal to achieve a 26 percent reduction from 2005 levels by 2025, and an 80 percent reduction by 2050. “This is an historic step forward that puts Pennsylvania’s aspirations in line with what was negotiated under the Paris Agreement and sends a strong message to Pennsylvanians, the Trump administration, and the rest of the United States that Pennsylvania is committed to tackling climate change and setting a new path for how the Commonwealth produces and consumes energy,” said PennFuture President and CEO Jacquelyn Bonomo. “Pennsylvania already has the tools at its disposal to meet these goals, but the Governor and state legislature must act quickly to make this goal a reality.”
The Governor’s executive order takes several important steps to do so. First, the executive order leverages cost effective improvements in energy efficiency to reduce carbon pollution and consumer costs by directing the state to cut energy consumption by three percent per year, or a total of 21 percent between 2017 and 2025, and requires qualifying new buildings to meet enhanced efficiency standards.
Second, the order reduces dependence on carbon-intensive fossil fuels by committing to replacing 25 percent of the state passenger vehicle fleet with electric vehicles or plug-in hybrids. Third, the order commits to procuring clean renewable energy for 40 percent of the Commonwealth’s annual energy use. Fourth, the Governor is committing to walk-the-walk by reinvigorating the Green Government Council, which will provide more opportunities to incorporate sustainable practices across a broad range of Commonwealth functions.
“This is a sweeping executive order that re-energizes the state’s moribund climate policy that hasn’t significantly changed in over a decade, even as the science has become more dire,” Bonomo said. “Not only will the order reduce carbon pollution, it also sends a strong signal to companies in energy efficiency and the renewable energy field that Pennsylvania is open for business and is a place they can hire and grow.”
While the Governor is chartering a more aggressive path to addressing climate change, more must be done. The legislature should meet the Governor’s leadership and pass legislation that aids in meeting these goals, including encouraging more clean, renewable energy and supporting efforts to reduce carbon pollution from motor vehicles. The Governor should also require better controls on methane leakage from the thousands of existing unconventional gas wells.