Thursday, January 10, 2019

America's No. 2 Natural Gas-Producing State Sets a Climate Goal

The Pennsylvania governor’s new target matches the U.S. commitment under the Paris accord, but he’ll need the Republican-controlled legislature’s help to meet it.

Gov. Tom Wolf's first economy-wide greenhouse gas reduction goal for Pennsylvania is in line with the U.S. Paris climate agreement pledge but doesn't go beyond it. “What I try to make sure is that what I do is not too much, but not too little,” he said. (Credit: Marla Aufmuth/Getty Images) Click to Enlarge.
In Pennsylvania, where the fracking boom has pushed natural gas production to the second highest levels in the nation, Gov. Tom Wolf is launching into his second term with a conspicuous move on climate change.

Wolf issued an executive order on Tuesday to set the state's first economy-wide targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

His goal to cut emissions 26 percent by 2025 mirrors the commitment the U.S. made as part of the Paris climate agreement.  And his longer-term target—an 80 percent reduction by 2050—is in line with the decarbonization that scientists have said will be needed to keep global temperatures from rising 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.

But meeting that target is easier said than done with Republicans in control of both chambers of the legislature, as the Democratic governor pointed out.

The governor can set energy efficiency targets for state agencies, take steps to increase the number of electric cars in state fleets, and increase purchases of renewable energy, but those moves would be insufficient on their own to curb Pennsylvania's emissions.

Pennsylvania now ranks fourth in the country, behind Texas, California and Florida, in carbon emissions.  The state is second behind Texas in natural gas production and the third-largest coal producer after Wyoming and West Virginia.

Read more at America's No. 2 Natural Gas-Producing State Sets a Climate Goal

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