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Going to Zero Campaign

Submitted by Donald Brown, Widener University and program chair

(Read the Going to Zero Declaration here.)

The Going to Zero Campaign was created in the spring of 2017 by volunteers from PERC institutions motivated by a common understanding: the world is rapidly running out of time to prevent catastrophic climate change. Achieving the Paris Agreement's warming limit goals of between 1.5 degree C and 2.0 degree C agreed to by 195 nations in 2015 now requires all levels of government around the world and public and private sector organizations to immediately begin to plan to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions to net zero in this Century. At its launch, the Going to Zero campaign had identified six programs to develop as part of the campaign.

The campaign was created by PERC and the non-government organizations listed below. The campaign calls on all levels of Pennsylvania government, that is state, county, and local government and public and private sector organizations to immediately begin to plan to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions to net zero levels as soon as possible and aspirationally no later than 2050. Any delay in reducing GHG emissions will make it more difficult to achieve reductions urgently needed to prevent catastrophic climate change harms.

The campaign was created because Pennsylvania has a particular duty to act on climate change: our Commonwealth emits five times more GHGs than average. (Pennsylvania GHGs comprise approximately 1% of global GHG emissions while Pennsylvania's population is only approximately 0.2 % of the global population.) Yet the Commonwealth has no GHG reduction target and only a small handful of local and county Pennsylvania governments have established a GHG emissions reduction target despite the fact that thousands of state, regional, and local governments around the world have established GHG reduction plans and targets in recent years. This is so despite the fact that GHG emissions from Pennsylvania are according to the Commonwealth's Third Pennsylvania Climate Impacts Assessment Report are not only already threatening agriculture, energy, human health, infrastructure, recreation, water quality, forests, and other ecosystems in Pennsylvania but also according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change contributing to existing and projected adverse impacts on human health and ecological systems around the world. 



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