Training gives communities Pa. Climate change skills News | Pittsburgh

Pittsburgh is already experiencing the effects of climate change in our region with hotter summers, record rainfall and an increase in the number of invasive species, according to the city service Department of Urban Development. Those interested in addressing these issues can apply to participate in public training on local climate, which provides an opportunity to develop plans to reduce emissions and mitigate climate change risks in their communities.

Two local municipalities, Carnegie and Swissville, were part of 121 municipalities across Pennsylvania that participated in the Pennsylvania Department of Environment’s program for 2021-2022, and Swissville City Council member Sean Alphonse-Wells sings his praises.

click to enlarge Sean Alfonso-Wells, a member of the Swissvale Council, emphasizes the climate action planning of his municipalities in Harrisburg on May 11, 2022.

Sean Alfonso-Wells, a member of the Swissvale Council, emphasizes the climate action planning of his municipalities in Harrisburg on May 11, 2022.

“Swissvale knows that the future is being made now. Planning and preparing for the future with sustainability and the environment in mind will make our neighborhood and our families stronger, ”says Alfonso-Wells in press release. “With cleaner air and greater resilience, we are not only improving the environment, but also having an impact on the surrounding areas, and pretty soon these small changes will make a big difference.”

The Local Climate Action Program was originally launched by the PA Department of Environmental Protection in 2019 and has since provided training to 53 organizations representing 380 municipalities.

The program brings together municipalities with college students and ICLEI, a national nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting sustainable development. Together, they conduct an inventory of greenhouse gas emissions from transport, waste management, local buildings, etc.

Alphonse-Wells in an interview with Pittsburgh City Newspaperemphasizes the importance of the program so that they can be held accountable in the future.

“It gives us this baseline, I can’t even emphasize how important it is that we now have a baseline where we actually asked, looked at and got the data, these are the emissions we have now,” says Alfonso. Wales. “So in two more years, the next six months, you know, five years, we can look and say, oh, emissions have increased, or they’ve decreased.”

The Department of the Environment provides a template that groups can use to create local climate action plans to reduce emissions and become more resilient to the effects of climate change. The training also includes identifying climate-related vulnerabilities such as “floods from extreme rainfall and impacts on public health from extreme heat, as well as disproportionate impacts on residents living in areas of environmental justice,” the press release said.

Alphonse-Wells adds how simple the program was and that she hopes the rest of Pittsburgh residents will start participating in the training.

“You can adapt it to your specific needs, and that’s the main thing, though,” she says. “You know, there’s no excuse not to do that because it’s already packaged, you get someone who will come and help you.”

The Department of the Environment is now accepting applications for the fourth year of the local climate action program, and communities must express their interest by June 30th. To apply or for more information, contact Christopher Nafe at or by calling 717-783-9722.

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