Pennsylvania Treasurer Joe Torsella responds to President Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Paris climate accord, in which 196 nations came together in 2015 for a historic agreement to support actions to reduce carbon emissions.
“This decision is a stunningly foolish choice, and sells out hard-working Pennsylvanians. Climate change is an environmental catastrophe that will ultimately cost Pennsylvania taxpayers.
“The decision is short-sighted. As American business leaders have recognized, the transition to a sustainable energy future presents one of the best business opportunities in generations. Smart investments in high-growth fields like sustainability and renewable energy can yield positive returns and create high-paying jobs that can support middle-class families.
“At Treasury, we have already begun embracing that future through the Pennsylvania Sustainable Energy Finance Program (PennSEF), which promotes, and makes prudent investments in important projects that bring strong financial returns to taxpayers – and support jobs and fight climate change.
“State and local governments can lead where the federal government won’t. We in Pennsylvania have always been leaders. In the face of this foolish decision, we should embrace the real economic opportunities for Pennsylvania families in reducing carbon emissions, promoting energy efficiency and encouraging renewable energy.”
Pennsylvania Treasury partnered with the Foundation for Renewable Energy and Environment to establish PennSEF, which promotes energy and water efficiency, clean energy generation, economic development and environment improvement. The PennSEF program provides technical and legal assistance along with access to low-cost capital for projects undertaken by municipalities, universities, schools and hospitals.
In April, Treasurer Torsella joined 35 communities in southeastern Pennsylvania announcing an energy-saving LED streetlight project using an innovative intergovernmental cooperative process in concert with the PennSEF program.