Going to Zero
The following programs have been identified by the PERC Climate Change Committee as the initial programs of the "All Hands on Deck: Going to Zero" campaign.
- Putting a Price on Carbon
Aurora Winslade from Swarthmore working with Neil Leary from Dickinson are leading a PERC program on pricing carbon both on campus in higher education and at the federal level. The first event of this program, Carbon Pricing in Higher Ed was held at Swarthmore College in January of 2017. The second event, Safe Climate PA, will bring together students and faculty from across the Commonwealth in October 2017 to learn about Carbon Pricing as well as techniques for citizens to engage with their government on civic issues like carbon pricing.
- Knowledge base for local governments to reduce GHG emissions
Chris Steuer from Millersville and Peter Buckland from Penn State will develop a resource focused on the role that local governments can play in reducing GHG emissions and how local governments can be approached to encourage their involvement. Don Brown from Widener University Commonwealth Law School will develop a program to track what local governments are doing around the world to reduce GHG emissions. Chris Steuer will take lead working with Peter Buckland, Rich Bowden. As part of this effort Chris Stuer has published a list of websites that GHG reduction resources available to local governments.
John Dernbach from Widener University Law School will also maintain a list of sustainability ordinances which can be used by local governments. The current list can be found at https://widenerenvironment.wordpress.com/students/ordinances/
- Educating PA citizens on the speed needed to prevent unsafe climate change
Under this element of the “All Hands on Deck: Going to Zero Campaign, PERC working with PERC collaborators on this project will develop a program to help Pennsylvania citizens and the media understand the magnitude and speed of GHG emissions reductions necessary to prevent dangerous climate change.
Each PERC school has been asked to plan one event to take place on campus by the end of the Spring semester in 2018 to bring attention to the need to begin planning to reduce GHG emissions to net zero as rapidly as feasible.
This effort will develop materials on: (a) why governments around the world must plan to reduce CO2 emissions to net zero ASAP but no later than 2050 to achieve the Paris Agreement’s warming limit goals, and (2) a list of national, regional, and local governments around the world that have announced that they will begin to work to decarbonize their economies. These materials will be available on the PERC website dedicated to the “All Hands on Deck: Going to Zero Campaign.“
- Solar Energy Deployment in Pennsylvania
Penn State has agreed to become a center of excellence among PERC schools on issues related to the deployment of solar energy in Pennsylvania. Peter Buckland from Penn State is taking the lead on this on behalf of Penn State on these issues. Penn State will develop guidance on the installation of solar energy in Pennsylvania that will include relevant economic information. For communities and potential students, Penn State is currently a home of solar excellence. Penn State researchers have performed $41 million in solar research over the last five years, are on the Finding Pennsylvania’s Solar Future team with DEP, and currently houses undergraduate, graduate, and extension education through the College of Earth and Mineral Sciences and Penn State Extension. Penn State's Sustainability Institute also hosts the Sustainable Communities Collaborative which connects faculty and students to communities in Centre County tackling sustainability issues, including solar PV development.
- Going to Zero progress tracking information base
PERC supports a “Going to Zero Campaign” in Pennsylvania working with state and local government, and the private sector that are committed to achieving zero GHG emissions. Don Brown will develop an information base on which governments, organizations, and private sector entities have committed to achieve net zero emissions. This information base will include descriptions of what steps have been taken to achieve zero net GHG emissions by governments, private sector entities, and organizations that have committed to reduce GHG emissions to net zero levels.
- PERC schools aid Local Governments with Climate Change Strategies/Targets
A proposed partnership program between PERC schools and Pa DEP has been submitted to DEP for consideration. PERC is waiting for a response from DEP. Under this program, PERC schools will assist local governments in developing GHG inventories, reduction strategies, and target setting. Such a program envisions going beyond simply educating local governments about potential responses to climate change to actually assisting local governments with the development of GHG reduction programs. The proposed program proposes that the first year of this program will investigate the extent to which individual schools can commit to participate in this program. The program envisions that different PERC schools will be able to commit to different levels of participation in this program. A proposal on this was presented to DEP.