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PA Climate Convergence Takes Over Harrisburg This Weekend

by Emily Scott, Keystone State News Connection

PA Climate Convergence Takes Over Harrisburg This Weekend

A three-day action and festival at Pennsylvania’s Capitol this weekend aims to draw attention to the urgency of the climate crisis. Advocates, activists and concerned residents say they want state leaders to make Pennsylvania a climate leader – before it’s too late.

The first-ever Pennsylvania Climate Convergence will be held Saturday through Monday, with panel discussions, workshops, music and a march to the Capitol building. Karen Feridun, co-founder of the Better Path Coalition, one of the event organizers, said the goal is to determine how the state can address its role in climate change and transition away from fossil fuels.

“As the second-biggest producer of natural gas, we can’t continue to discuss climate in a consumption context only,” she said. “This is an extraction state. What we have to understand is, we’re not going to be a contributor to the solution on climate unless we start dealing with production.”

After the weekend events, activists plan to install a six-foot “climate countdown clock” inside the Capitol building. They’ll also hand-deliver a petition to Gov. Tom Wolf’s office and to legislative leaders.

Some of the scheduled events will touch on topics such as environmental justice, the youth climate movement, and petrochemicals and plastics. Barb Jarmoska, an officer at the Responsible Decarbonization Alliance, said collaboration – with communities from across the state and sectors feeling the effects of climate change – is key to finding solutions.

“Pennsylvania has an enormous role to play in this transition,” she said. “Political change happens when the public speaks up, and when the public drives this – and so, we need more voices.”

Wolf recently announced that Pennsylvania is proposing to the federal government that the state host a new hydrogen- and carbon-capture hub. However, critics of carbon capture say the technology is untested on a large scale, is expensive, and doesn’t ultimately reduce carbon in the atmosphere.