PA Governor Wolf Issues Executive Order to Reduce Carbon Emissions

Environmental Concerns

Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf recently signed an Executive Order establishing the first statewide goal to reduce carbon pollution! Friends actively encouraged him to take action on climate change in a variety of ways. Robert McKinstry, Esq. (Kennett MM, Western Quarter) authored a petition and regulations calling for Pennsylvania to uphold the Equal Rights Amendment to our state Constitution by adopting an economy wide carbon cap and trade program. The petition was filed by the Clean Air Council and over 60 co-petitioners in late November. Liz Robinson (Central Philadelphia MM), Philadelphia Quarter, and the PYM Eco-Justice Collaborative helped many PYM meetings sign on as co-petitioners with the Clean Air Council to assert that the Governor has the constitutional authority and legal obligation to reduce the state’s carbon emissions to combat climate change. Eighteen of the 60 original co-petitioners were Friends organizations. Additional co-petitioners may sign on until February 1, 2019.

In response to this news one PYM Friend said “For us to move this world along requires each of us to imagine our own power, and the meaningfulness of our contributions, recognizing that we should not expect them to be acknowledged, much less appreciated.”

The Governor’s Executive Order establishes carbon reduction goals for Pennsylvania for 2025 and 2050 that are consistent with the petition. The Order also reconvenes the Green Government Council to develop a plan to pursue those goals. The Governor’s Executive Order is a welcome step, especially as Pennsylvania is the nation’s third largest carbon emitter. However, it is not a sufficient step to reach the carbon reduction goals the Governor has set. The Order only provides specifics for state agencies and facilities. New regulations like those proposed in the petition to reduce emissions economy wide will be essential in order to achieve the Order’s carbon reduction goals. Governor Wolf can put Pa back into a leadership position in the rapidly growing clean energy economy by supporting a comprehensive policy framework: Carbon Cap and Trade.

Please join us as we call on Pa to adopt an economy wide carbon cap and trade program that will place a cap on carbon, require polluters to purchase allowances, reduce the cap by 3% per year, and retire those allowances. This cap and trade program provides a policy framework for the important initiatives the Governor has recently taken and is entirely consistent with them. Cap and Trade could eliminate the state’s structural deficit, adequately fund the public schools, and reinvest in clean energy at a scale never seen, thus creating jobs and spurring sustainable economic development statewide.

Governor Wolf needs to hear, early and often, that he has our full support for reducing the state’s carbon emissions, both for the steps he’s already taken, and for those that are still required by law and our state constitution. A very simple message is all that’s needed: “Thank you Governor Wolf for taking steps to fight climate change. We must do more to meet

this challenge. We need to adopt a Carbon Cap and Trade program to help Pennsylvania reduce our carbon emissions now.” Please contact the Governor by e-mail at :, or by calling one of his offices at 717/787-2500 or 215/560-2640. For more information or to join as a co-petitioner, contact Liz Robinson,