2013-10-17 / Local & State

Pa. Releases Climate Change Report 18 Months Late

By Kevin Begos

ASSOCIATED PRESS

PITTSBURGH (AP) – Pennsylvania this week quietly released an updated report on what impact future cli- mate change may have on the state, about 18 months after it was due.

The Pennsylvania Climate Impacts Assessment Update was posted to an open database, but state officials issued no news release.

The report paints a mixed picture of possible impacts, with many uncertainties for after 2050.

Penn State University forestry expert Marc McDill, who worked on the report, said the evidence is “very, very strong’’ that Pennsylvania’s climate is going to change significantly. He said that by 2050 the state’s climate will be more like Virginia’s and by 2100 it will be similar to what Georgia’s is now.

For forests, the biggest danger is from insects and invasive species, McDill said: “There’s a lot of evidence that warmer climate will make insect problems more severe.’’

But McDill noted that visible changes are just beginning. The future “could be a lot worse, or it could be less bad’’ than the report suggests, he said.

The report says greenhouse gases from humans are mostly to blame for temperatures that already have climbed since about 1950. It predicts still more temperature increases but uncertainly over rainfall. The temperature changes could have a significant impact on Pennsylvania’s wildlife, rivers, lakes and aquatic ecosystems, but the economic impact is likely to be focused on certain industries, with a small effect on the overall economy and to public health.

The Pennsylvania Climate Change Advisory Committee’s chairwoman, Christina Simeone, who is with the environmental group Penn Future, said the delay in releasing the report and the lack of a news release are part of a pattern.

Corbett “is committed to advancing policies that are in the best environmental, health and economic interest of Pennsylvanians,’’ Henderson said, adding that as far as the press release, “Sometimes the press office is just overloaded with other work.’’

Simeone agreed that there are uncertainties over climate change impacts on Pennsylvania but said government should help the people and industries that will be most affected find ways to adapt.

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