If you follow the Pennsylvania Turnpike starting near Pittsburgh and head east toward Philadelphia, you can see nearly every major form of energy from your car: coal, wind, nuclear, solar, and oil. These sites tell a vivid tale about energy in Pennsylvania: its past, its present…and a future that might be shaped by new federal rules on climate change. StateImpact Pennsylvania examines each of these energy sectors.
Public enemy number one in climate-warming greenhouse gases is usually thought to be carbon dioxide. Another significant climate-changing gas is methane, the kind that comes from shale drilling. The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) says the U.S. can cut methane emissions in half in just a few years.
Burning coal is the biggest source of CO2 on the planet. But coal is also a huge source of electric power, and it’s big business in Pennsylvania, supported by Governor Corbett. With global warming becoming an ever bigger problem—is there be a way for the coal industry to go on a low-carbon diet?
In Pennsylvania, the ski industry has a $360 million dollar annual economic impact. But climate scientists predict half of the Pa. resorts could be forced to close in the coming decades, because it will be too warm to maintain snow cover.
What you eat can have a big impact on the climate. But lowering your carbon footprint might mean giving up some all-American favorite foods—like hamburgers. The place where climate change science and food culture meet is on your plate.
The Allegheny Front's been following writer Luke DeGroote's journey along the Pacific Crest Trail. This is the third installment of his essay about a hike of more than a million steps, which he made several years ago.