Pennsylvania is now the second state in the country to sponsor a program to train climate leaders, following Maryland.
The Department of Environmental Protection said 150 people signed up for the first course in its Climate Leadership Academy.
The free, online classes are designed for people in government, business, agriculture, and community organizations.
They’ll learn about how expected increased heatwaves and flooding can disrupt their operations and communities, as well as possible solutions and ways to protect Pennsylvanians’ health, safety, and livelihoods.
DEP said the program can give a sound base for those in its Local Climate Action Program, which has had 53 local government participants since 2019.
Both programs are supported with federal funding from the U.S. Department of Energy State Energy Program.
DEP says the state’s average temperature has risen almost 2 degrees Fahrenheit since 1900. The state’s latest Climate Impacts Assessment says that, unless greenhouse gas emissions are cut significantly, Pennsylvania will likely be more than 5 degrees hotter on average by midcentury.
The state is also likely to see more heatwaves and extreme rainfall events. Those will have an outsized effect on disadvantaged communities known as Environmental Justice areas, which have a history of bad environmental outcomes.
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This story is produced in partnership with StateImpact Pennsylvania, a collaboration among The Allegheny Front, WPSU, WITF and WHYY to cover the commonwealth's energy economy.