In 2008, the General Assembly passed the Pennsylvania Climate Change Act (Act 70). This act created the Climate Change Advisory Committee (CCAC), which was charged with implementing a study on the possible impacts of climate change on PA. The Department of Environmental Protection has worked very closely with the CCAC in hopes of using the results to implement new laws.
CCAC released their draft report on October 10 and allowed the public 30 days to summit comments on the 616 page study. The Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry points out that this report, on several occasions, violates the statutory directives set forth by Act 70.
- The committee did not have a third party facilitate the committee meetings and failed to “reflect the diversity of views within the scientific community” required by the Act. Instead the committee relied heavily on IPCC report while ignoring significant ambiguities within the document.
- Act 70 intentionally created the CCAC to operate independently from the DEP. Due to their invested interests the DEP should not have been routinely engaging with the voting members. The Chamber stated the secretary “…applied undo pressure on the members of the CCAC.”
- The Executive Summary fails to acknowledge many of the uncertainties inherent in the report; instead it states the conclusions as fact. Given the apparent bias further analysis is needed before recommendations should be made to the Commonwealth.
- Furthermore, the DEP further neglected to send a letter of recommendation on behalf of the CACC to the General Assembly in order to extend the deadline for the report.
Sen. Mary Jo White, chairman of the Senate Environmental Resources and Energy Committee, has also expressed concerns regarding the DEP influence in the report.
The Climate Change Action Plan fails to give Pennsylvanians a fair presentation of the debate among the scientific community on climate change. The results are a foregone conclusion directed by the DEP to push a political agenda.