Why Pennsylvania Needs the Inflation Reduction Act Now

Critical climate and clean energy investments will create millions of good-paying jobs, lower energy costs for families, invest in disadvantaged communities and reduce climate pollution. Not only are Pennsylvanians demanding climate action now, with 78% of registered voters supporting Congressional action on climate change, they are experiencing the devastating impacts of climate change. Last year, Tropical Storm Ida caused more than $44 million worth of damage in the Commonwealth, demonstrating precisely why Congress must act now and pass the Inflation Reduction Act to secure Pennsylvania’s future. Here’s why Pennsylvania needs the climate investments in the Inflation Reduction Act now: 

Voters in Pennsylvania want solutions to the climate crisis.

Investing in clean energy means jobs for Pennsylvania.

  • In 2021, Pennsylvania was home to 92,773 clean energy jobs, including 10,466 jobs in generating renewable electricity, 3,727 jobs in energy storage, 67,782 jobs in energy efficiency, and 9,473 jobs in clean vehicles.
  • The Department of Energy’s 2022 Energy and Employment Report found that 8,671 Pennsylvania workers were employed in solar and wind electric generation in 2021. 
  • From 2020 through 2021, clean energy employment in Pennsylvania grew by 6.3%.
  • One report published in 2020 found that even modest federal clean energy stimulus investments could generate 28,883 jobs in Pennsylvania per year over a five year period. The hypothetical investments in that report were even smaller than those in the Inflation Reduction Act.

Pennsylvanians are already feeling the impacts of climate change.

  • So far this summer, Pennsylvania has been hit by a heatwave that killed at least one person. At least six people in Pennsylvania have died from extreme heat since July 23. In July, temperature records were set in Philadelphia, with the city recording its hottest day in 10 years on July 24, 2022. 
    • Currently, more than 310,000 Pennsylvanians are especially vulnerable to extreme heat.
    • According to Census data, more than 400,000 Pennsylvania housing units do not have air conditioning. Those with AC are struggling to keep up with costs as extreme heat becomes more severe at the same time energy prices soar.
  • An April 2022 winter nor’easter storm dumped over a foot of snow in parts of the state, setting records for snowfall in April. The winter storm caused power outages for more than 52,000 customers across the Commonwealth. 
  • Last year, flooding from Tropical Storm Ida killed at least 43 people in New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Connecticut, causing more than $44 million worth of damage in Pennsylvania alone.

If we do nothing, it will get worse for communities across the state and cost billions of dollars.

  • Climate change is projected to cost Pennsylvania $18 billion annually by the year 2100. Pennsylvania can expect to see a 23.15% loss in total value of agricultural crop yields by 2080 if action isn’t taken to immediately curtail carbon emissions. 
  • By 2050, Pennsylvania is projected to see a 50% increase in severity of widespread summer drought.
  • Pennsylvania experiences an average of five extreme heat days annually – that number is projected to jump to 15 days by 2050.
  • A 2022 Penn State study found that Pennsylvania is expected to face more extreme rainfall and flooding by 2050 due to climate change. Lock Haven, Williamsport, and Sunbury, which are all situated along the West Branch Susquehanna River, all have the highest projected flood hazards.

Climate change and fossil fuel pollution have a disproportionate impact on people of color in Pennsylvania.

  • As a result of the heat island effect Black, Latino, and people of color in Philadelphia are more likely to live in the hottest neighborhoods of the city, more prone to heat-related illnesses and death, and less likely to have air conditioning. Hunting Park, a predominantly Latino and Black neighborhood in Philadelphia, suffers from temperatures 22 degrees hotter than other areas of the city. 
  • The neighborhoods around Front Street in Chester are 75% Black and are situated near the Delaware Valley Resource Recovery Facility, one of the largest polluters of its kind in the nation whose incinerators burn some 3,500 tons of municipal waste per day. 
    • Due to the high levels of particulate matter (PM) emitted by the facility, Chester residents suffer from heart disease, asthma and other chronic illnesses at levels far higher than the national average.
  • Almost 9,000 children in Pennsylvania suffer from lead poisoning each year. Black and Latino children experience lead poisoning nearly five and two times the rate of white children, respectively.