The Paris Agreement: Make it Local

Climate-change_banner

November 3rd, the Trump administration released the Fourth National Climate Assessment, vol. 1, the result of a multi-year research effort by 13 federal agencies. The report confirms what we all already know: that human beings are responsible for climate change.

This report defies the Trump administration's assertions that climate change is a hoax, not real, or at the very least debatable, and comes after EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt's repeal of the Clean Power Plan and Trump's announcement that the United States will withdraw from the Paris Agreement.

Every-day Americans and politicians from across the country have taken up the fight against Climate Change where the Trump administration is proving to be unwilling and inept.  Governors and Mayors have proclaimed their municipalities’ commitments to the principles of the Paris Agreement.  Some have even stated that they will work directly with the EU and other world leaders on fighting climate change. Cities are enhancing "green" policies. Corporations are demonstrating commitment to reducing their carbon foot prints.  Every-day Americans have joined the fight against climate change in record numbers. Now we have yet another reason to act, and the GOP can no longer deny the need for it.

It’s up to each of us to undo the havoc being reeked by 45's administration.  We must support clean energy initiatives, push our leaders to enact forward-thinking policies, and “walk the walk” when it comes to the environment.  Read on for different actions you can take at the state level, in your cities and towns, and within your own home.  


What can you do at the state level?  

States have the freedom to make their own decisions about clean energy initiatives, including carbon emission standards.  Key decision makers are the Attorney General, the Assembly (House and Senate), and the Governor.  Below are actions our state-level officials can take.


Attorney General Josh Shapiro

AG Shapiro has taken a strong stance on carbon emissions standards, and it is in his power to take legal action on behalf of Pennsylvanians and to prosecute those who do not adhere to environmental protection regulations.  Please thank him for his leadership via phone, email, or mail.  Contact info can be found here.


PA Assembly

The PA Assembly has the power to create laws that either fight global warming, or contribute to it. Here are some of the bills that impact our fight against climate change, along with call scripts you can use when calling your representative.  

Governor Wolf

Governor Wolf has decried President Trump’s decision to exit the Paris Agreement.  Now he needs to take it a step further.  Below are some of the steps he can take as Governor to push Pennsylvania forward.  Please consider calling, writing, faxing, or emailing him on any or all of these actions.  

Contact Gov. Wolf:

By Phone: 717-787-2500
By Fax: 717-772-8284
By Email: click here

By Mail:
Office of the Governor
508 Main Capitol Building
Harrisburg, PA 17120


Actions

  • Tell Governor Wolf you want PA to join the U.S. Climate Alliance.  Formed by Governors from California, Washington, and New York immediately after Pres. Trump’s withdrawal, the U.S. Climate Alliance is a coalition of states dedicated to upholding the principles and stated goals of the Paris Agreement.

  • Send a letter to Gov. Wolf here.

  • Sample phone call script from 5 Calls: “Hi, my name is [NAME] and I'm a constituent from [_______].   I'm calling because I am extremely alarmed by the Trump Administration's decision to withdraw the US from the Paris Climate Agreement, and I ask that Governor Wolf join the United States Climate Alliance with other state leaders to maintain the climate goals set forth in the agreement. Climate change is a real threat to our safety, our health, and our economy, and we must do everything we can to fight it.  Thank you for your time and attention.”

    [IF LEAVING A VOICEMAIL: please leave your full street address to ensure your call is tallied]

  • Encourage Gov. Wolf to join the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative.  RGGI is a voluntary collective of 9 Northeastern US states who work to reduce carbon emissions by adhering to emissions caps, participating in emissions allowance auctions, using the proceeds of those auctions to fund clean energy initiatives, and encouraging offset programs.

  • Ask Gov. Wolf to join the Under 2 Coalition, a group of municipalities that has a shared goal of greenhouse gas emissions under 2 tons per capita.

  • Support the Governor in vetoing any harmful legislation that the Assembly passes in the future.  



What can you do in your local government?

  • See if your mayor is a Climate Mayor or a member of the Compact of Mayors and if not, encourage him/her to join.  As of June 6th, mayors from 10 Pennsylvania cities had signed the open letter to President Trump from the Climate Mayors proclaiming their municipality’s commitment to the goals of the Paris Agreement and a target of 1.5% celsius.  

  • If your city does not have an office of sustainability or a comprehensive sustainability plan, encourage them to adopt one.  If your city has one, but you don’t think it’s ambitious enough, let them know.  These are some of the PA cities that have sustainability departments or plans in place: Allentown, Lancaster, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Reading, Scranton, State College.  Unsure what to ask?  Use this list from the National Resources Defense Council.

  • Become involved with your local Environmental Advisory Council.  See the list of PA Councils here. The Allentown Environmental Advisory Council has 3 openings for residents!  Click here for more info.

  • Check wearestillin.com to see if your mayor, the company you work for, and/or the college you attended are on this list.  If not, encourage them to join the list of municipalities, companies, and educational institutions who are committed to fighting global warming.

  • Encourage your local officials to make electric car recharging stations widely available.  Call your local power provider and demand that they source more of their electricity from renewables.



What can you do in your home?

We’ve discussed what your legislators can do.  Now let’s bring it home.  Below is a (not-at- all-comprehensive) list of the actions you can take in your life to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions and fight climate change.

  • Conduct a home energy audit.  Professional auditors can make concrete recommendations on how to make your home more energy efficient.  

  • Switching electricity providers to one that offers renewable energy. Visit www.PAPowerSwitch.com to learn more.

  • For details on the above and tips on how to reduce energy usage in your home, click here and here.

  • Eat less red meat.  The two may not sound related, but cattle and dairy farming make up almost 10% of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions.  Read more here.

  • Buy your food locally.  Much of Pennsylvania is farmland, but even if you live in a more urban area, shop at a local farmer’s market or sign-up for a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program.

Let your money do the talking.  

“We recognize that personal divestment is both a responsibility and a privilege.  Many of us don’t have retirement accounts or other investment market funds to divest.  But for those of us that do, removing our financial stake in the companies driving the climate crisis is our responsibility.” (350.org)

  • Bank with institutions that don’t support the fossil fuel industry.

  • Consider placing your investments in funds/companies that are “socially responsible” and/or do not invest in fossil fuel companies, and ask your employer to make such funds available in the company retirement plan.  [Note: not all socially conscious funds are also fossil-fuel free; many include natural gas companies.]

  • Encourage your school/alma mater to divest its endowment and other funds from fossil fuel companies.  Visit Fossil Free USA for more information on finding a campaign near you, and on starting your own.

  • Do not support companies that support the Dakota Access Pipeline or the Keystone XL Pipeline.  Visit DeFund DAPL and Defund KXL for resources.



More information