This page provides an overview of the steps Pennsylvania is taking to prepare for the impacts of climate change.

The Pennsylvania Climate Change Act of 2008 authorized the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) to prepare a report recommending mitigation actions that could be deployed to reduce the Commonwealth’s contribution of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Although not a requirement of the act, the DEP and the Climate Change Advisory Committee (CCAC) also recognized the need to address adaptation planning because “climate impacts are already occurring and will continue to occur even with lower GHG levels.” During the February 27, 2009 meeting of the CCAC, a motion was made and passed with unanimous support that the action plans should include a recommendation to the Governor and the Pennsylvania General Assembly to address climate change adaptation. On March 18, 2010, the CCAC initiated a planning process to develop an adaptation report. Four workgroups were created to develop adaptation recommendations for the state. These workgroups were organized around the following four sectors: infrastructure, public health and safety, natural resources, and tourism and outdoor recreation.

On January 27, 2011, the CCAC released the Pennsylvania Climate Adaptation Planning Report: Risks and Practical Recommendations. This 2011 plan includes goals identified by each of the workgroups to minimize the impact of climate change on Pennsylvania. Each workgroup considered impacts in multiple sub-sectors. For example, the infrastructure workgroup analyzed transportation, energy, water, communications infrastructure, buildings, and land use. Each group also identified key risks and vulnerabilities and developed specific goals to address these risks. The plan includes cross-cutting goals like the establishment of a climate adaptation team within the state government and inclusion of adaptation in all future state Climate Action Plans.

In addition to these state actions, the City of Philadelphia has been a leader in using green infrastructure to manage stormwater and prepare for the impacts of climate change. The Green City, Clean Waters program is a pioneering multi-decade investment in green stormwater management practices that reduce sewer overflows to the city’s waterways and enhance the urban environment.

Pennsylvania is in the process of implementing the goals set forth in the 2011 plan.

(Research last updated June 30, 2014; Click here for a description of our methodology.)

The Georgetown Climate Center’s State Adaptation Progress Tracker, which tracks the progress of states in implementing their adaptation plans, is supported by the MacArthur Foundation. 

View State Adaptation Plan Status
View All Completed State Goals

Sector Adaptation Goals in Progress or Completed

Get a quick view of the progress Pennsylvania is making to prepare for climate change in different areas below. The first number includes goals in progress or completed in Pennsylvania's state adaptation plan.  The second number reflects the total number of goals in each area. For a more detailed look at progress click here or click on one of the sector buttons below. 

Completed Goals from the Agriculture Plan

Completed Goals from the Biodiversity Plan

Completed Goals from the Forestry Plan

Completed Goals from the Infrastructure Plan

Completed Goals from the Public Health Plan

Completed Goals from the Water Plan



State Law and Policy

Resource Name Resource Type Date
Pennsylvania Climate Change Act of 2008 Law and Governance July 9, 2008

State Agency Plans

Resource Name Sector(s) Covered Date
Pennsylvania Dept. of Conservation and Natural Resources and Climate Change - Planning for the Future Biodiversity and ecosystems, Forestry, Land management and conservation, Water resources, Wildlife September 9, 2015
Pennsylvania Climate Adaptation Planning Report: Risks and Practical Recommendations Agriculture and food, Energy, Fish and fisheries, Forestry, Land use and built environment, Public health, Tourism and recreation, Transportation, Water resources, Wildlife 2011

Local and Regional Plans

Resource Name Date
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania Resilience Strategy March 2017
Growing Stronger: Toward A Climate-Ready Philadelphia November 2015
City of Chester, Pennsylvania Vision 2020: Climate Adaptation Planning Elements June 25, 2014
Green City, Clean Waters - City of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania June 2011
City of Philadelphia Cool Roof Law and Building Code May 2010
Delaware County, Pennsylvania Roadmap for Adapting to Coastal Risk – Transportation Sector 2010
Greenworks Philadelphia Plan - Transportation Recommendations 2009
Greenworks Philadelphia 2009

More Featured Resources

Resource Name Resource Category Date
Pennsylvania Climate Impact Assessment 2013 Update Assessments October 2013
Identifying Species in Pennsylvania Potentially Vulnerable to Climate Change Assessments June 2011
Weathering Climate Change: Framing Strategies to Minimize Impacts on Pennsylvania Ecosystems and Wildlife Solutions March 24, 2010
Economic Impacts of Projected Climate Change in Pennsylvania Assessments November 4, 2009
Pennsylvania Climate Impacts Assessment - 2009 Assessments June 29, 2009
Climate Change in Pennsylvania: Impacts and Solutions for the Keystone State Assessments October 2008

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