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Pa. governor seeks reductions in greenhouse gas emissions

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Pa. governor seeks reductions in greenhouse gas emissions

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf signed an executive order Jan. 8 establishing a statewide goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 80% by 2050.

"In the absence of leadership from the federal government, states and cities are stepping up and doing their part to reduce emissions," Wolf said in a news release announcing the goal, a first for the state.

A representative for Wolf did not immediately return a request for further comment Jan. 8, but the executive order said unchecked greenhouse gas emissions would create a "high risk of irreversible, widespread, severe climate impacts" in Pennsylvania and beyond. The order also said Pennsylvania can take steps to reduce emissions in the power sector and increase reliance on clean energy and low-carbon transportation options.

The governor wants to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 26% by 2025 and 80% by 2050 compared to 2005 levels. According to the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions, a nonprofit group working to control and reduce greenhouse gas emissions, 20 other states, including neighboring New Jersey and New York, have greenhouse gas emissions targets.

The announcement of the goal comes as state officials are looking add more solar resources in Pennsylvania, and some are seeking ways to preserve the state's nuclear fleet.

The executive order also establishes a council to boost green and sustainable practices in state government to help achieve the emissions reduction goals.

The so-called GreenGov Council will serve as a central coordinating body to promote the implementation of the executive order and achieve a set of state agency performance goals, including one to reduce overall energy consumption by 3% per year and by 21% by 2025, compared to 2017 levels. The other goals are to replace 25% of the state passenger car fleet with battery electric and plug-in electric hybrid cars by 2025 and to procure renewable energy to offset at least 40% of annual electricity use.