The DEP Energy Programs Office created the Climate Action for Environmental Justice Communities Program to support and carry out strategic actions to help Pennsylvania’s Environmental Justice communities adapt to climate change while striving to lower greenhouse gas emissions, with measures that reduce risk and capitalize on potential opportunities to strengthen local economies.
Along with local partners, the DEP Energy Programs Office and its contractor, Preservation Design Partnership, are hosting open-discussion meetings with leaders and residents of Environmental Justice communities around the state. The purpose is to listen to and discuss communities’ climate adaptation needs, and learn what state government and others can do to enable Pennsylvania’s Environmental Justices communities to become more sustainable and resilient in the face of climate change.
To learn more about this effort, visit the Climate Action for Environmental Justice Communities webpage.
What is 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. Pennsylvania’s climate has also become wetter, with a 10 percent increase in the amount of precipitation, on average. Pennsylvanians can expect to see an additional 8 percent increase in precipitation by 2050. Human activities related to greenhouse gas emissions have been linked to disruption in the global climate.
Pennsylvania Climate Change Act (Act 70 of 2008) requires DEP to: