2013 ties for fourth warmest year on record, according to The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Average world temperature was 58.12, tying with 2003. The hottest year was 2010–nine of the 10 hottest years have been in the 21st century. With over 97 percent of peer-reviewed climatology papers saying human-exacerbated climate change is having real-time and long-term effects on the world’s hydrological cycles, the question is when will world and U.S. policies concerning posterity for the far-off future start turning into policies of preventing the near-future of climate change? One start could be with U.S. states taking action.
On Tuesday, January 22, 2014, Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett released his
energy recommendations report for businesses and investors; earlier in 2013, the Pa. Department of Environmental Protection put out an updated albeit lax draft plan for climate change that doesn’t include emissions reductions (In 2009, DEP set an emissions reduction goal of 30 percent by 2020. Officials now say they’ve backed away from that because state law requires no such mandate).
State Representative Greg Vitali (D), chairman of the House Environmental Resources and Energy Committee, calls the Climate ‘Action’ Plan ”woefully inadequate.“ He says the plan “fails to provide clear, quantifiable recommendations to meet (greenhouse gas reduction) goals…The plan also fails to sufficiently incentivize renewable energy… this plan is consistent with (Governor) Corbett’s total failure of leadership on the climate change issue.”
Vitali has introduced House Bill 100, which would require Pennsylvania electric companies to obtain 15 percent of their power from renewable sources by 2023. Vitali also introduced House Bill 200, which would provide $25 million per year for the PA Sunshine Solar Program, which helps residents and small businesses install solar systems. But the program has been exhausted.
As of Nov. 25, 2013, the PA Sunshine Program has $0 available for payment of rebates.
That’s from the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection website. The question now is what happens to a program that was so *successful: Pennsylvania was in the top 10 states for solar business and energy production, according to the Solar Energy Industries Association (it slipped to 11 in 2012-13). The commonwealth has more than 428 solar-based businesses and more than 8,000 residences producing solar energy; over 52K commercial-based installations.
*The price of solar credits have plummeted since everyone jumped in the Sunshine program–that means with so many taking advantage of rebated installs, residential solar units pumped the grid full of never before seen solar supply. That had utility companies substantially dropping solar credits on residential solar energy bills, and subsequently, the utilities ‘buying’ less energy from private homes. In 2013 the market price for PA-sourced SRECs ranged from $0.04 – $0.120/kWh, according to U.S. Dept. of Energy.
State Representative Chris Ross (R) had hoped to have his house bill force utilities to buy more residential energy credits, but it has since stalled in committee.