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PA Township Takes On Climate Change

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Municipalities can take steps such as installing solar streetlights to reduce carbon emissions. (HeyouRelax/Pixabay)
Municipalities can take steps such as installing solar streetlights to reduce carbon emissions. (HeyouRelax/Pixabay)
May 25, 2017

FERGUSON TOWNSHIP, Penn. -- It takes a village to save the planet. That's the message one Pennsylvania township is hoping to send with its resolution on climate change.

Through his work at Penn State's Sustainability Institute, Peter Buckland became keenly aware of the impacts of climate change that already are being felt around the world, as well as here in Pennsylvania. In his role as a supervisor in Ferguson Township, he has introduced a resolution which, if adopted, would require the township to develop a strategy for achieving net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.

"I think that it is absolutely incumbent on elected officials who understand the risks, threats and opportunities of climate change to take action,” Buckland said. "It is our duty. It's our responsibility to do it."

The resolution is expected to come up for a vote of the Ferguson Township's Board of Supervisors at a meeting on June 19.

The township itself could take steps to meet its own energy needs with clean sources - such as solar - almost immediately. Buckland said it also can encourage businesses within the township to join in the effort.

"There are things that we can do through zoning, for example, to encourage low-impact development and encourage the adoption of green building practices,” he said.

He noted that if the state were to pass Property Assessed Clean Energy legislation, then the township could give businesses municipally backed loans for clean energy development.

Buckland said the resolution he introduced already has inspired residents of neighboring townships to take similar action.

"Citizens from Harris, Patton, College and Halfmoon townships, and the State College Borough, they're already talking about taking the resolution as it's written right now to their own township,” Buckland said.

He added that moves by the Trump administration to abandon the fight against climate change have added a sense of urgency to local actions to reduce carbon emissions.

Andrea Sears/Cynthia Howard, Public News Service - PA