Chester County Commissioners Adopt New Climate Action Plan

Climate ChangeImage by Ray Shrewsberry
Goal is 80% reduction of greenhouse gasses in the county by 2050

WEST CHESTER, PA — The Chester County Board of Commissioners adopted the county’s new Climate Action Plan with a goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 80% in Chester County by 2050.

The plan, developed by the Chester County Planning Commission with input from a series of public meetings, public comments, and partner review, represents a significant update of the county’s 2010 Greenhouse Gas Report, which provided several energy savings initiatives.

“We have to address global climate change at every level of government and collaboration if we are going to create a healthier planet and maintain our quality of life,” said Chester County Commissioners’ Chair Marian Moskowitz. “The action we take today sets an ambitious greenhouse gas reduction goal but one we believe is imperative and attainable.”

The Climate Action Plan’s primary goal is the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, which in turn yields additional benefits, including improved public health due to cleaner air, saving money through more energy efficient vehicles and homes, reducing damage to our natural resources, and creating jobs.

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“We very much appreciate the interest and input from county residents that went into this plan,” said Chester County Planning Commission Executive Director Brian O’Leary. “More than 170 attendees participated in a March 4, 2021, virtual public meeting, where we received over 100 comments and questions. In addition, we received approximately 130 comments through email and our online comment portal during the February-through-March comment period. People are seeing and feeling the effects of climate change and most strongly agree that we need to accelerate mitigation efforts.”

In Pennsylvania, temperatures are expected to increase by an additional 5.4°F by 2050. Similarly, annual precipitation in Pennsylvania is expected to increase by another 8% by 2050, resulting in increased potential for flooding.

“We were reminded all too well last month of the real effects of climate change as flooding devastated several communities and affected thousands of people in our county,” said Chester County Commissioner Josh Maxwell. “The flooding was the most significant in my lifetime, and we know it will only get worse unless we take steps like those outlined in the plan.”

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Chester County government does not have direct control over many of the actions included in the Climate Action Plan, beyond those related to county-owned facilities. Therefore, many of the actions will require coordination and cooperation with local communities, municipal governments, and other stakeholders.

Chester County Commissioners Moskowitz, Maxwell and Michelle Kichline also issued a proclamation this week, designating October 6, 2021 as Energy Efficiency Day, and urging all citizens to participate in the virtual Clean Energy Tour, available online until January 2022, which features energy-saving options for your home, workplace or house of worship. The proclamation also asks residents to support the County’s clean energy goals and move toward more energy efficiency now and in the future.

Commissioner Kichline, reading from the proclamation, noted that, “Chester County Government’s efforts to reduce its carbon footprint began in 2010 with the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Report, and more recently included the appointment of an Environmental and Energy Advisory Board, whose first focus was to update the County’s Climate Action Plan.”

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“Today’s adoption of the plan, she said, “marks the culmination of hard, collaborative work. We are grateful to all those who contributed.”

Learn more about the Climate Action Plan at https://chescoplanning.org/Environmental/ClimateAction.cfm.

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