PA plans to clear greenhouse gases

    Climate change advisers offer recommendations.

    A Pennsylvania advisory group of business people, environmental activists and public officials has outlined 52 ways to reduce the state’s greenhouse gas emissions. Now they want residents to weigh in on their recommendations. WHYY reports on the first Climate Change Action Plan.
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    Listen: [audio:091012teclimate.mp3]

    The group set 2000 as the base year, and says Pennsylvania should lower its emissions of man-made greenhouse gases by 30 percent in the next decade.

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    The plan includes suggestions to push taxpayers to conserve energy. There are also changes for the agricultural and electricity industries.

    Jan Jarrett is president of the environmental policy group PennFuture and serves on the committee.

    Jarrett: There’s gonna be a program where if you buy a highly energy efficient refrigerator for example, they’ll come and take your old one away for free, plus you can get some federal rebates. So these things are all working in coordination with other programs. Some of them are already underway some of them will need further legislation or regulation.

    The Department of Environmental Protection is taking comment on the plan until November 9. After that the proposal goes to lawmakers and the governor.

    The plan includes incentives for residents, builders, power plants and the electricity industry. Delaware County lawmaker Democrat Greg Vitali served on the committee:

    Vitali supports plans that would require utility companies to generate more electricity from alternatives sources. He says the debate sometimes became contentious.

    Vitali: I think there’s a fear among those in the coal industry that taking steps to reduce greenhouse gas, like switching to renewables like wind and solar and conserving will have an economic impact on them.

    Vitali says the plan includes more than 50 suggestions, but not all the answers.

    Vitali: Should the expansion of existing nuclear facilities be subsidized by tax dollars, that’s the key question and this report does not answer that question, although it does acknowledge the fact that nuclear power could result in the reduction of greenhouse gases.

    The panel’s report says Pennsylvania is responsible for 1 percent of the planet’s man-made greenhouse gas emissions.

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