On January 8, Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf made a dramatic first for the Commonwealth with an executive order setting statewide greenhouse gas emission reduction targets—a commitment to reduce emissions by 26 percent by 2025 and 80 percent by 2050 (based on 2005 levels), aligning the state with the Paris Agreement.
Pennsylvania will also form a "GreenGov Council" to determine how to incorporate environmentally sustainable practices into government policy, planning, operations, procurement and regulatory functions, and how to achieve the goals set out in the executive order.
Gov. Wolf acknowledges in the executive order that climate change is the most critical environmental threat confronting the world. Pennsylvania has already experienced firsthand the consequences of climate change; recent extreme weather events include severe winter storms, heat waves, tornadoes and floods. This pledge to address the state’s contributions to greenhouse gas emissions is a much-needed demonstration of leadership.
Current plans in the executive order include
- Replacing 25 percent of the state’s fleet of passenger cars with all-electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles by 2025,
- Offsetting at least 40 percent of the state’s annual energy use with renewable energy, and
- Requiring new state-owned and leased buildings, as well as major renovations by a Commonwealth agency, to meet high-performance building standards.
The high-performance building requirements include energy consumption reductions greater than ANSI/ASHRAE/IES Standard 90.1.2016, and encourage achieving a sustainable building certification such as LEED.
Heidi Kunka, USGBC Central Pennsylvania Director, is “thrilled to see the Governor take bold action on climate change in his second term and is excited to see all of the associated lead-by-example policies listed in the Executive Order come to fruition.”