2020 Pennsylvania Climate Impacts Assessment Update

DEP announces projected climate change impacts to support planning for Pennsylvania’s future

The Department of Environmental Protection recently released the 2020 Pennsylvania Climate Impacts Assessment Update, projecting future effects of climate change on livestock, infrastructure, and water quality to support planning to reduce risk to communities and the economy across the state.

“DEP joins many others this week in celebrating the 50th anniversary of Earth Day with a focus on climate action,” said DEP Secretary Patrick McDonnell. “Effective decision making for Pennsylvania’s future is decision making that accounts for the changes that are likely to happen if we don’t reduce greenhouse gas emissions and meets the need to manage them. The Climate Impacts Assessment presents a detailed picture of these changes in several key areas.”

Gov. Tom Wolf has identified climate change as the most critical environmental threat facing the world and in 2019 set a statewide goal to lower greenhouse gas emissions 80 percent by 2050.

Among other impacts, as rainfall increases, the nutrient (nitrogen and phosphorus) and sediment runoff pollution carried into streams and rivers from agricultural and urban areas will increase. This underscores the need for strategically chosen and located stormwater best management practices (BMPs). Nonstructural BMPs, such as wetlands and open areas, will be less vulnerable than structural ones.