PA becomes second state to offer leadership training on climate change / Public Information Service


HARRISBURG, PA – Pennsylvania is now the second state in the country to launch a program focused on training state and local leaders on how to meet the challenges of climate change.

The Pennsylvania Climate Leadership Academy, run by the State Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), completed its first program this week. About 150 people from non-profit organizations, state agencies, local governments and universities participated in the online courses which discussed the impacts of climate change on communities and policy solutions to mitigate its effects. .

Heidi Kunsch, head of the environmental group at DEP’s Office of Energy Programs, said civic engagement is key to addressing environmental concerns.

“This is not about a disaster,” Kunsch explained. “It is about taking action and putting all hands on the bridge. All of us, down to the homeowner, are making changes in our own homes with the way we use energy and the way we move. It starts with each of us. Each of us has a role to play. “

Maryland was the first state in the United States to launch a Climate Leadership Academy. The next part of the training, called the Certified Climate Change Professional program, begins in October and will offer courses in topics such as climate science, greenhouse gas emissions inventories and vulnerability assessments.

Kate Semmens, scientific director of the Nurture Nature Center in Easton, which helps this community learn about environmental risks, attends the Climate Leadership Academy. She helped develop a vulnerability assessment and climate action plan for Easton, which sits at the confluence of the Delaware and Lehigh rivers and is at risk of flooding.

Semmens said the academy is important to city leaders because the risks of climate change will directly impact residents.

“Many of the actions these decision makers can take in relation to climate change have co-benefits,” said Semmens. “They are going to help the quality of the air and the water. They are going to help the human health. It is very important to understand that you can make these changes which will have multiple beneficial effects for the future.”

Pennsylvania’s average temperature has risen nearly 2 degrees Fahrenheit since 1900. DEP data shows the temperature will rise another 5.9 degrees by 2050 unless greenhouse gas emissions are reduced .

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