In the spring of 2022, the BCPC applied for and was accepted to participate in the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection’s, Local Climate Action Program (LCAP). Our efforts have been led by Neale Dougherty, Director of Sustainability, and by environmental planner, Cassandra Goodmansen.
The LCAP program runs from July 2022 to June 2023 and includes two semesters working with a team of Penn State students and professors. In August, we were paired with Jonaid Lone, a graduate student who works in the sustainability department for Mars Inc., and Olivia MacMahon, an undergraduate student studying Energy and Sustainable Policy. The first semester, which we have just completed, was focused on gaining an in-depth look into where the county stands with its yearly greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Next semester we will begin developing our Climate Action Plan, which includes conducting a Climate Impacts and Vulnerability Assessment. Thus far, our experience has been phenomenal! Jonaid and Oliva have exceeded expectations and did an excellent job at assembling the data we needed for our emissions inventory. Our initial results were presented to the BCPC Board at their December 7th meeting, and our presentation can be found on our December 7th post here.
We look forward to continuing working with them in developing our Climate Action Plan.
Bucks County’s current emissions were calculated to be approximately 6.1 MMT CO2e per year. This was divided into 6 use categories including Commercial & Industrial Energy (29%), Residential Energy (24%), Transportation (39%), Solid Waste (6%), Agriculture (2%), as well as Water & Wastewater (1%).
Knowing where we stand with our emissions is important in developing our mitigation strategy, but that is only our first step. Unfortunately, even if the entire world was able to achieve net-zero emissions tomorrow, that would not eliminate the climate effects already in motion. Therefore, adaptation and resiliency will be integral components of our Climate Action Plan.
To start the process, we will first develop a Sustainability and Climate Action plan for County Operations. This will inform the development of our countywide climate action plan and ensure the county is leading by example. This is our current priority and will be what our graduate students will be helping us with in the upcoming months.