Saturday, July 2, 2016

DEP Climate Change Advisory Committee Meets July 12 On 2015, 2018 Climate Plan Updates

DEP’s Climate Change Advisory Committee is scheduled to meet on July 12 to discuss how it will go about the 2018 update to Pennsylvania’s Climate Change Action Plan.  The Committee also expects to see DEP’s final version of the 2015 Plan Update.
In May, the Committee reviewed a final draft of the 2015 Action Plan Update that contains a series of recommendations in the form of 13 work plans covering a variety of issue areas.
The scope of the Action Plan Update is much broader than EPA’s Clean Power Climate Plan requirements, which only covers electric power generation.  The goal of the PA Climate Action Plan is to find cost-effective measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions more broadly, although the latest Plan has no overall emissions reduction goal.
The Plan Update notes Pennsylvania’s gross greenhouse gas emissions are projected to be lower in 2030, the target reduction year, than they were in 2000.
Carbon dioxide emissions in Pennsylvania have already been reduced by 27 million tons annually in just 7 years, a 20 percent decrease from 2007 to 2014, to a total of about 107 million tons annually.
The reductions came primarily as a result of switching from coal to natural gas to generate electricity and additional EPA controls on mercury emissions at coal-fired power plants.
The first milestone in the EPA Clean Power Rule is 2022 requires Pennsylvania to reduce carbon dioxide emissions to 106 million tons, or about 1 million tons below where the state is now.
By 2030, the Clean Power Plan Rule requires the state to take steps to reduce emissions to 91 million tons, only about 15 million tons below where we are now.
Methane Emissions
The 2015 draft final Plan Update also addresses the four major sources of persistent methane emissions that contribute significantly to climate change in Pennsylvania-- landfills, coal mines, agriculture and oil and gas operations-- and says the state is “committed to maximizing methane emission reductions from theses sectors.”
2015 Draft Final Update Recommendations
The 2015 draft final Update ranked these work plan groupings of recommendations as most cost-effective.  In order, these are the top 5-- Energy Efficiency Financing, Semi-Truck Freight Transportation, Act 129 Phase IV and V Energy Efficiency, GeoExchange Heat Pump Systems and Heating Oil Conservation and Fuel Switching.
And then-- High Performance (Green Buildings), Adopting Current Building Energy Codes, Manufacturing Technical Assistance, Re-Light PA, Urban & Community Forestry, Combined Heat and Power, Manure Digesters and Coal Mine Methane Recovery.
The 2015 Update also ranked the work plan recommendations in terms of the biggest potential for greenhouse gas reductions.  The top five are-- Energy Efficiency Financing, High Performance (Green) Buildings, Re-Light PA, Heating Oil Conservation and Fuel Switching and GeoExchange Heat Pump Systems.
And then-- Adopt Current Building Energy Codes, Act 129 Phase IV & V Energy Efficiency, Coal Mine Methane Recovery, Combined Heat and Power, Urban & Community Forestry, Manufacturing Energy Technical Assistance, Manure Digesters and Semi-Truck Freight Transportation.
The individual work plans are products of the Climate Change Advisory Committee and were voted on by the Committee.
The Action Plan Update, as a whole, is a product of DEP, with advice offered by the Advisory Committee, but it has not been “approved” by the Committee.
The final draft of the 2015 Climate Change Action Plan, including the work plans, is available online.
The July 12 meeting will be held in Room 105 Rachel Carson Building starting at 10:00 a.m.  
For more information and any available handouts, visit DEP’s Climate Change Advisory Committee webpage or contact Mark Brojakowski, Bureau of Air Quality, by calling 717-772-3429 or  sending email to:
Related Stories:
Forbes: U.S. On Track To Achieve 2030 Climate Emissions Goals In 2016

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