Energy and Sustainability Policy
Program Office

Work with PADEP on GHG inventories and Climate Action Plans!

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Special Project Opportunity for Local Climate Action Planning

The Pennsylvania DEP is looking for students to facilitate the development of GHG inventories in the fall semester and Climate Action Plans in the spring semester for a number of municipalities across the state participating in this Local Government Climate Action Assistance Program. As part of this project, students will each be paired with a municipality or county seeking to complete an inventory of its GHG emissions.  The student will be primarily responsible for the data collection, entry, and interpretation – reporting results back to the municipality or county at the end and engaging along the way to acquire data, clarify accounting questions, etc.

Who should apply?  Do you have interest in local climate policy and need to fulfill any of these ESP requirements?  Are you highly motivated and capable of working independently from a distance with reliance on Zoom, email, and phone correspondence with your municipal partner?  Are you confident you can produce work of which you and the program will be proud?  If yes to all of that, this is for you!

This project could meet any of the following ESP program requirements:

  • EME 466 capstone project
  • EGEE 495
  • Energy and Science elective
  • GEOG 432
  • 3 credit free elective to reach 120 minimum
  • Possibly other relevant courses – let’s talk!

If you’re very interested in this type of work, you could possibly be accepted into the fall and the spring – so you could possibly earn 6 credits worth of work from this experience.

Note:  You do NOT need to be a Pennsylvania resident to apply for this opportunity.

To apply: Send your updated resume and a cover letter detailing your interest in and qualifications for the project to Brandi Robinson at brobinson@psu.edu.

Deadline: August 19. It’s imperative we get a jump start at the beginning of the semester to ensure students have time to complete the work. 

The number of openings is a bit unclear at this point, but we’re hoping to fill as many spots with ESP students as possible.  We’ve told the program director how wonderful you all are!

Local Government Climate Action Assistance Program:

The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania released an updated Climate Action Plan (CAP) in April 2019, the fourth version of the strategy.  Recognizing the need for the Commonwealth and local governments to lead by example, the Commonwealth desires to ignite a movement of local government climate action to both mitigate greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and address impacts of extreme weather events already impacting local Pennsylvania communities.

One strategy to reduce the long-term impacts caused by climate change is to reduce GHG emissions. Establishing a baseline and comparative GHG measurement is a fundamental first step for a city, town or county committed to reducing carbon emissions. Once the baseline of emissions and opportunities for mitigation is known, a set of GHG mitigation actions can be identified and evaluated. This evaluation and prioritization of actions to reduce emissions is core to developing a CAP.

In the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, many local governments have yet to complete GHG inventories or climate action plans. In partnership with the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability (ICLEI) will guide a group of up to 20 Pennsylvania local governments and college students as they complete GHG inventories using a common accounting methodology, ClearPath, which is a cloud-based tool.  Additionally, the cohort of local governments and college students will be guided through the process of developing a local CAP to mitigate emissions and engage community members.  DEP will work with PA universities & colleges to try and match a student with each participating local government, so they can be assisted in the process of developing their GHG inventories and CAPs.

ICLEI will provide software, live (recorded) webinar sessions with open Q&A, one-on-one technical assistance as needed, self-paced e-learning modules, facilitated peer networking, and guidance through specific tasks for target setting, forecasting emission reductions, identifying benefits and costs of mitigation actions, and strategies to engage community members.

The ability of local governments to complete their inventories and CAPs is highly dependent on (1) the availability of data to complete the inventory, and (2) the level of participation of the local government staff member and/or college student. 

Timeline:  We anticipate matching students with local governments by the end of August 2019.  The kick-off call with all participating local governments & students will be held in late August/early September.  All work must be completed by June 30, 2020.