After a decision made last month by the Trump Administration withdrawing the United States from the Paris Climate Accord, DCNR Secretary Cindy Adams Dunn noted additional responsibility will fall on states and communities.
“While climate change presents significant challenges, there is much we can and are doing here in Pennsylvania -- from managing our forests to sequester an increasing amount of carbon and ensuring that our public lands remain resilient, to helping private landowners and communities reduce their carbon footprints and adapt to climate change,” Dunn said.
DCNR currently is working with the Northern Institute of Applied Climate Science to develop a climate change mitigation and adaptation plan for the department.
“As the state’s leading conservation agency, DCNR is using the best available science to develop and implement climate change strategies to minimize and adapt to these impacts, and serve as a role model for the citizens of Pennsylvania,” Dunn said.
Pennsylvania is experiencing:
- Higher temperatures
- Increased precipitation
- Higher numbers of storm events
- Decreased snow cover
- Changing distribution of some plants and animals related to climate change
As outlined in a position statement to be included in the adaptation plan, DCNR will:
- Appoint a Climate Action Steering Team comprised of bureau directors to provide resources, monitor progress, and ensure that climate change mitigation and adaptation are integrated into the department’s operations and mission
- Refine and adapt strategies identified in “DCNR and Climate Change – Planning for the Future,” as well as other relevant sources, to create and implement a climate change adaptation and mitigation plan
- Evaluate the department’s carbon footprint and mitigate greenhouse gases by reducing energy consumption and increasing forest carbon sequestration
- Develop a climate change communications plan to engage and educate the public and DCNR staff
- Work cooperatively with state and federal agencies, organizations, and universities to conduct research, share tools and resources, and coordinate our response to climate change
DCNR is charged with maintaining and protecting 121 state parks and 2.2 million acres of state forest land, as well as the conservation of native wild plants, and providing information about the state's ecological and geologic resources.
The department also provides information and technical advice to private forest landowners and establishes community conservation partnerships through grants and technical assistance to benefit rivers, trails, greenways, local parks and recreation, heritage regions, open space, and natural areas.