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Climate Change

The global climate is changing due, in part, to the increase in emissions and concentrations of greenhouse gases (GHG) over the last century. Gases such as methane (CH4) and carbon dioxide (CO2) trap radiant heat from the Earth in the atmosphere and cause a greenhouse effect. These gases have a radiative effect causing an imbalance of the heat energy in the atmosphere, causing either a warming or a cooling of the Earth's climate. Most GHGs take decades to break down and leave the atmosphere.

In Pennsylvania, our climate has undergone a long-term warming of more than 1° C (1.8° F) over the past 110 years. Human activities related to greenhouse gas emissions have been linked to disruption in the global climate.



The Pennsylvania Climate Change Act (Act 70 of 2008) requires DEP to:

Climate Change Action Plan and Updates

As required by the Pennsylvania Climate Change Act of 2008, the DEP and the Climate Change Advisory Committee produced a Climate Change Action Plan and submitted it to the governor in 2009. This plan:

  • identifies GHG emission and sequestration trends and baselines in the Commonwealth;
  • evaluates cost-effective strategies for reducing or offsetting GHG emissions;
  • identifies costs, benefits and co-benefits of reduction strategies recommended;
  • identifies areas of agreement and disagreement among committee members; and
  • recommends to the General Assembly legislative changes necessary to implement the Action Plan.

In addition, the DEP and CCAC are required to update the plan every three years.

Read the latest plan:

Pennsylvania Climate Action Plan 2018 (PDF) 

Pennsylvania Climate Action Plan 2018 Summary Booklet (PDF)

Energy Assessment Report for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania

The Energy Assessment Report for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania helped to inform the development of our Climate Action Plan 2018, as it characterizes current, future, and potential energy trajectories in Pennsylvania. In this report, technical and economic potential of Pennsylvania's available energy resources is assessed from 2016 through 2050. The following questions are addressed in the report:

  • What will Pennsylvania's energy, economic, and environmental future look like in the absence of additional action?
  • Does Pennsylvania have the in-state resources to meet energy demand now and in the future?
  • How and where should the Commonwealth focus its efforts to encourage clean, diverse energy sources and minimize contributions to climate change?
  • What energy opportunities can the Commonwealth use to its economic advantage in the future?

Pennsylvania Climate Impacts Assessment Update

Section 3 of the Pennsylvania Climate Change Act (Act 70 of 2008) requires DEP to update and publish a report of the potential impact of climate change in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania every three years. This report provides:

  • scientific predictions regarding changes in temperature and precipitation in Pennsylvania;
  • potential impact of climate change on human health, the economy and other sectors; and
  • economic opportunities created by potential need for alternative sources of energy and climate related technologies.

Pennsylvania Climate Impacts Assessment Update (PDF)

Pennsylvania Greenhouse Gas Inventory

DEP is required by the Pennsylvania Climate Change Act to compile an annual inventory of GHGs emitted in Pennsylvania. The inventory must establish GHG emission trends and contributions of major sectors, including, but not limited to the transportation, electricity generation, industrial, commercial, mineral and natural resources, production of alternative fuel, agricultural and domestic sectors.

The current inventory can be found here:

Pennsylvania Greenhouse Gas Inventory – 2018 (PDF )

Climate Change Advisory Committee

Committee Website

  • CCAC serves as the advisory committee mandated under the Pennsylvania Climate Change Act, Act 70 of 2008 to provide advice to the Department regarding the implementation of the provisions of Act 70.
  • The CCAC is comprised of 18 appointed members and 3 ex officio members. Appointed members are representatives from the scientific, business and industry, transportation, environmental, social, outdoor and sporting, labor and other affiliated communities. Ex officio members are the Secretary of the Department of Conservation and Natural resources, the Secretary of Community and Economic Development and the Chair of the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission or their designees.
  • Liaison (Lindsay Byron, email: lbyron@pa.gov, phone: (717) 772-8951)