A Call for All Hands on Deck: 

Going to Zero Carbon Emissions In Pennsylvania

(Going to Zero Programs page)

Whereas, the international community agreed in Paris to hold the increase in the global average temperature to well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels and to pursue efforts to limit the increase to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels in order to prevent catastrophic harm to people and ecological systems on which life depends,

Whereas, the United Nations Environment Program’s 2016 “Bridge the Gap Report” concluded that to have a 50% chance of limiting warming to 1.5 °C global CO2 emissions must from all nations must be net zero between 2045 and 2050 and to have a 66% chance of limiting warming to 2 °C CO2 emissions from all sources must be net zero between 2060 and 2075, moreover to achieve these warming limit goals, many of the scenarios in the relevant literature that successfully limit warming to below 2 °C assume the use of negative emissions technologies is necessary,

Whereas, both the magnitude and speed needed to achieve these reductions necessary to prevent dangerous human-induced warming urgently requires all levels of government including nations, states, regions, and cities and private and public sector organizations to immediately plan to develop strategies to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions to net zero to achieve the Paris Agreement’s warming limit goals,

Whereas, any delay in reducing GHG makes the Paris Agreement’s warming limit goals much more difficult if not impossible to achieve because existing GHG emissions levels are rapidly reducing the rapidly shrinking carbon budgets that must constrain total global GHG emissions to achieve the Paris Agreement’s warming limit goals,

Whereas, a growing number of state, regional, and local governments and private and public  sector organizations around the world have committed to begin planning to reduce their GHG emissions to net zero as quickly as possible but no later than 2050 or at the very minimum to achieve 100% non-fossil fuel generated electricity by that date,

Whereas, many of those state, regional, and local governments around the world that are rapidly replacing fossil-fuel energy generation with non-fossil generated energy are experiencing significant increases in jobs in the renewable energy industry,

Whereas, the cost of non-fossil fuel generated energy including solar power recently has been rapidly falling so that the replacement of fossil-fuel generated energy with renewable energy is now likely economically feasible in the decades ahead,

Whereas, Pennsylvania contributes approximately 1% of global GHG emissions which according to the Commonwealth's Third Pennsylvania Climate Impacts Assessment Report are affecting agriculture, energy, human health, infrastructure, recreation, water quality, forests, and other ecosystems in Pennsylvania and human health and ecological systems around the world yet neither the Pennsylvania state government nor the vast majority of Pennsylvania county and local governments have established a GHG reduction strategy designed to achieve a GHG reduction target consistent with the extraordinary urgent need to prevent very dangerous climate change,

Therefore, we the undersigned organizations and institutions call for:

1.      All levels of Pennsylvania government, including state, county, and local government, and private and public sector organizations in Pennsylvania to: (a) immediately begin to develop a strategy to achieve net zero GHG emissions as quickly as feasible but no later than 2050, and (b) to commit to achieving the GHG emissions reduction target determined by the strategy by the date identified in the strategy,

2.      All Pennsylvania organizations and institutions with knowledge and expertise relevant to Pennsylvania government efforts to reduce GHG emissions including but not limited to the Pennsylvania state government, colleges and universities, and associations of counties, cities, municipalities, to be of assistance to the extent feasible to county and local government efforts to reduce GHG emissions within their jurisdiction,

3.      All Pennsylvania civic organizations concerned about the enormous potential harm from human-induced warming to Pennsylvania and people and places around the world to encourage all levels of Pennsylvania government and private and public sector organizations to begin planning to reduce GHG emissions as quickly as possible to levels required to prevent dangerous climate change. 

Agreed to this ____________________________day of April, 2017

The Pennsylvania Environmental Resource Consortium, an organization of Pennsylvania Colleges and Universities working on sustainability issues, Penn Future, Penn Environment, Pennsylvania Environmental Council, Pennsylvania Sierra Club, Pennsylvania Association of Boroughs, the Center for Environmental Ethics and Law, Physicians for Social Responsibility, Harrisburg Chapter.  Pa Interfaith Power and Light (others to be added)

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