HARRISBURG – Gov. Tom Wolf has unveiled the Pennsylvania GreenGov Council 2021 Annual Report, marking further progress in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania’s work to promote sustainability and environmentally-friendly policies.
Commonwealth agencies and commissions under the governor’s jurisdiction reduced energy usage by 3.2 percent in Fiscal Year 2020-21. In the three years since the first GreenGov Council report was published, commonwealth agencies under the governor’s jurisdiction have reduced energy usage by 12.3 percent for a savings of more than $8 million.
“We must make every effort to reduce our energy consumption,” Wolf said. “This is a crucial part of protecting our environment and keeping Pennsylvanians safe from the escalating dangers of climate change. My administration is driving change to support a healthier climate and lower costs for taxpayers.”
Climate change impacts in Pennsylvania are real and are already putting Pennsylvanians at risk. In recent years, extreme weather and natural disasters have become more frequent and more intense. Like many areas of the United States, Pennsylvania is expected to experience higher temperatures, changes in precipitation, and more frequent extreme weather events and flooding because of climate change in the coming decades. Pennsylvania’s economy, health and safety, and quality of life are dependent on the careful stewardship of our natural resources.
In 2019, Governor Wolf signed Executive Order 2019-01 to establish Pennsylvania’s first climate goals, as part of his strategy to fight climate change and protect Pennsylvania from climate dangers. Those goals call for a statewide reduction in net greenhouse gas emissions 26 percent by 2025, with a further 80 percent reduction by 2050 from 2005 levels.
Wolf’s 2019 Executive Order also established the PA GreenGov Council, which develops strategies to help state government reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
The GreenGov Council’s goals include obtaining at least 40 percent of electricity from in-state clean energy sources, reducing energy use at least 3 percent annually, replacing 25 percent of the state vehicle fleet with electric vehicles, and attaining energy high-performance standards in building construction, lease or renovation.
“To meet our goals, we all need to work together,” Wolf said. “We must take action to protect Pennsylvania lives, homes, businesses and communities from climate change. The commonwealth is leading by example to ensure that energy conservation and sustainability are integrated into all state agency operations.”
PA GreenGov Council Director Mark Hand pointed to the recent update of Management Directive 720.05, Energy Management and Conservation in Commonwealth-Owned and Leased Facilities as another way Pennsylvania is leading the way to incorporate energy consciousness into state operations by requiring every agency to develop and implement an Agency Sustainability Team.
“Through the implementation of Agency Sustainability Teams, we bring together individuals within each agency who are passionate, creative and dedicated to advancing an energy-conscious culture to help each organization identify new energy programs and opportunities,” Hand said. “The PA GreenGov Council will further the positive effect these teams will have by serving as a resource for technical assistance and support while creating an environment that lends itself to collaboration and information sharing throughout state government.”
To combat the dangers of climate change across Pennsylvania, Governor Wolf has also unveiled a Climate Action Plan, announced the largest government solar energy commitment in the U.S., and taken action to join the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative.
For more information on the council, visit the PA GreenGov Council website.