Tackling climate change is vitally important. Each successive month brings new heat records, extreme weather and other indicators that our climate is changing at a pace that threatens the quality of our lands, air and waters, the well-being and prosperity of our communities, and general stability around the world.
The Nature Conservancy is committed to advancing solutions that match the scale and urgency of this crisis. Led by science, we are committed to tackling climate change, both to keep global warming below 2°C and to help vulnerable people and places deal with its negative impacts.
We are working to achieve this by:
- Protecting and restoring healthy and resilient natural landscapes.
- Mobilizing action to secure a clean energy future.
- Supporting laws and initiatives that promote a healthy planet.
- Accelerating natural climate solutions that address environmental threats.
As rising temperatures and other climate impacts threaten to destabilize natural areas across the United States and around the world, TNC scientists are identifying ecologically diverse and connected landscapes capable of supporting native wildlife while providing drinking water, clean air, fertile soil and other important natural services to people.
TNC has identified two Pennsylvania landscapes capable of standing up to a changing climate, if they are protected and managed for conservation:
In these places, TNC is working with partners to implement innovative, science-based tools and conservation approaches that preserve lands and waters today to benefit nature and people in the future. One approach includes conserving forests through our Working Woodlands program, which engages private landowners in permanently protecting and managing healthy and productive forests to support both nature and local livelihoods.
As part of Working Woodlands, TNC quantifies atmospheric carbon stored in enrolled forests to qualify them for an emerging carbon market where companies and other institutions purchase carbon credits from willing sellers to offset their own emissions. This market-based incentive for reducing carbon dioxide pollution encourages participants to seek out ways to reduce pollution, improve energy efficiency and explore renewable energy alternatives to doing business.
TNC is also encouraging all Pennsylvanians to meet rising energy demands through a transition to cleaner energy. Specifically, TNC is taking the lead on communicating the impacts of energy development and promoting the benefits of renewable energy alternatives and energy efficiency practices. to elected officials, corporations and private citizens living and working in Pennsylvania.
Pennsylvania currently ranks second in the nation, behind only Texas, in natural gas production, with approximately 25,000 miles of new pipelines slated for construction by 2030. These pipelines and their associated infrastructure fragment forests, degrade streams and threaten species that depend on healthy and intact habitat for all or part of their life cycle.
According to the U.S. Department of Energy, Pennsylvania’s energy efficiency industry is responsible for nearly 62,000 jobs, a number that will only grow as the state transitions to cleaner and more efficient energy solutions. It is time to catch up to neighboring states—New York, New Jersey, Maryland and Ohio—that are surpassing Pennsylvania in pursuit of clean energy goals, jobs and greener economy.
Since Pennsylvania ranks fourth in the nation in carbon dioxide emissions, TNC is weighing in on forward-thinking policies that seek to reduce the Commonwealth’s carbon footprint while creating new opportunities for economic growth. TNC supports several climate-friendly legislative proposals that have been introduced in Pennsylvania's state legislature:
- Community Solar/House Bill 531 and Senate Bill 705 are bi-partisan proposals that would allow Pennsylvania businesses and residents to benefit from community solar projects. This market-growing policy permits people to share in the direct benefit from a solar installation, even if the panels are not on their property. Support Community Solar today!
- Electric Vehicles/Senate Bill 596 is bi-partisan legislation that would accelerate the deployment of charging infrastructure to support the growing number of electric vehicles owners in Pennsylvania.
- Energy Efficiency/Senate Bill 232 and House Bill 193 are bi-partisan proposals that would increase energy efficiency investment across Pennsylvania by removing the caps on efficiency spending for Act 129 utility programs. This action would allow for a greater menu of energy-efficiency retrofits and drive deeper savings for customers.
- 30% Renewable Energy by 2030/Senate Bill 600 is a bipartisan proposal to increase Pennsylvania’s clean energy goals from the current level (8% by 2021) to 30% by 2030. Boosting this standard will encourage smart, market-based solutions to deploy distributed generation sources (like solar energy) and advance opportunities for modernizing the power grid by exploring the potential of energy storage technologies.
- Market Choice Act/Reducing Methane Emissions The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection is expected to propose new rules to cut emissions from existing oil and gas facilities. These new requirements are expected to result in lower emissions of methane, a powerful greenhouse gas.
Beyond state borders, TNC promotes regional initiatives aimed at reducing emissions and improving the health and quality of life for all Pennsylvanians. Since emissions from the transportation sector make up 20% of Pennsylvania's carbon footprint, we support our state's participation in the Transportation Climate Initiative (TCI) a collaboration among Northeast and Mid-Atlantic states, and the District of Columbia, that seeks to develop cleaner options that can reduce carbon emissions generated by this sector.
Natural Climate Solutions
We must ask ourselves if it’s possible to meet our needs as humans, while also protecting our natural resources. Research has shown that not only is it possible, but nature itself holds the key to many of the solutions to climate change. The Nature Conservancy's conservation strategies—in Pennsylvania and around the world—must either reflect those changes or risk being left ill-prepared for the future.
Let’s give nature back its power to protect us! Oceans, grasslands, wetlands, peat bogs, forests . . . when they’re destroyed, the carbon they hold is released into the air, and their ability to provide us with life-giving assets disappears. A huge part of our climate work, therefore, is continuing the work that we’re known for: saving nature.