URGENT: Support Strong, Equitable, and Durable Policy to Mitigate and Adapt to Climate Change

500 Women Scientists Philly Pod
4 min readSep 10, 2020

The 500 Women Scientists Philly Pod went to Harrisburg, PA on November 18, 2019, and lobbied for a number of important issues. These one-pagers were given to our representatives outlining our recommendations.

Data from the Global Carbon Project.[13]

Climate change is already having negative impacts on communities throughout the United States.[1] We are running out of time to decarbonize the US and global economy to limit global warming and the risks of catastrophic climate change. Current commitments to eliminate emissions must become significantly more ambitious.[2,3,4,5] In the past, great undertakings such as this have harmed marginalized communities and exacerbated inequalities. In our current system, minority and low-income communities have greater exposure to pollution leading to poorer health and economic outcomes.[6,7,8] These same communities have less capacity to adapt to climate change.[1]

We at 500 Women Scientists Philly Pod urge decisive and quick action to justly transition away from fossil fuels and reach net zero emissions by 2050 or sooner. Proposed climate solutions must be both equitable — with provisions to avoid adverse impacts on vulnerable communities — and durable, in that they move us toward zero emissions and grow our economy.

We need policies that drive emissions reductions and provide support for communities reliant on the fossil fuel industry, infrastructure updates to enable clean energy, transportation, industry and land use, and opportunities for all to have a voice in and benefit from this transition.[15] Working with local coalitions already involved in these efforts is necessary to pass policies and sustain public support for these policies in the limited time we have.

Cosponsor HB 1425 or SB 630 Transitioning to 100% Renewable Energy by 2050.
A just and equitable transition to 100% renewable energy will create jobs and advance technology developed at our academic institutions and research facilities. In order to stave off the worst effects of climate change, we must take decisive action now. The panels created by this legislation should be filled with local and regional experts that can quickly assess the situation and start planning the quickest and most equitable ways to transition.

Our recommendations:
✳ Co-sponsor HB 1425 (PA House) or SB 630 (PA Senate).
✳ Support this and other mitigation policies with the benefits outlined above.
✳ State, regional and local officials should plan how their communities will take advantage of a national climate mitigation plan to enable a fair, fast, and prosperous transition to renewable energy.

Support HB531 and similar community-driven renewable energy and electrification legislation.
Cities and local communities are beginning to build coalitions to map out a path to a cleaner future.[9,10,11,12,14] These plans should detail how to reach net-zero emissions locally, including all sources (buildings, transportation, water, trash, food and land use, manufacturing, etc.); maximize affordability and equity; identify roadblocks (e.g. legal, infrastructural, financial) and specific steps to solve them; and include meaningful public input and cooperation between agencies, businesses, universities, advocates, and other stakeholders.

Our recommendations:
✳ Cosponsor legislation such as HB 1314, HB 531, or SB 705 that create community solar projects making renewable energy accessible for all.
✳ Cosponsor SB 596 or introduce a similar bill in the PA House which has a goal of increasing electrification 50% by 2030 and developing a public electrification infrastructure.


  1. USGCRP (2018) Impacts, Risks, and Adaptation in the United States: Fourth National Climate Assessment, Volume II [Reidmiller, D.R., C.W. Avery, D.R. Easterling, K.E. Kunkel, K.L.M. Lewis, T.K. Maycock, and B.C. Stewart (eds.)]. U.S. Global Change Research Program, Washington, DC, USA, 1515 pp. http://doi.org/10.7930/NCA4.2018
  2. Climate Action Tracker (2016) 10 steps: the ten most important short-term steps to limit warming to 1.5°C. Climate Action Tracker Report, 44 p. http://climateanalytics.org/publications/2016/the-ten-most-important-short-term-steps-to-limit-warming-to-1-5c.html
  3. Fawcett AA, Iyer GC, Clarke LE, Edmonds JA, Hultman NE, McJeon HC, Rogelj J, Schuler R, Alsalam J, Asrar GR, Creason J, Jeong M, McFarland J, Mundra A, Shi W (2015) Can Paris pledges avert severe climate change? Science 350(6265): 1168–1169. http://dx.doi.org/10.1126/science.aad5761
  4. Greenblatt JB, Wei M (2016) Assessment of the climate commitments and additional mitigation policies of the United States. Nature Climate Change 6: p. 1090–1093. http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/NCLIMATE3125
  5. Luderer G, Bertram C, Calvin K, De Cian E, Kriegler E (2016) Implications of weak near-term climate policies on long-term mitigation pathways. Climatic Change 136: p. 127–140. http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10584-013-0899-9
  6. Christopher W. Tessum, Joshua S. Apte, Andrew L. Goodkind, Nicholas Z. Muller, Kimberley A. Mullins, David A. Paolella, Stephen Polasky, Nathaniel P. Springer, Sumil K. Thakrar, Julian D. Marshall, Jason D. Hill (2019) Inequity in consumption of goods and services adds to racial–ethnic disparities in air pollution exposure. PNAS. https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1818859116
  7. Banzhaf, Spencer, Lala Ma, and Christopher Timmins. 2019. “Environmental Justice: The Economics of Race, Place, and Pollution.” Journal of Economic Perspectives, 33 (1): 185–208. https://www.aeaweb.org/articles?id=10.1257/jep.33.1.185
  8. Tony G. Reames, Mercedes A. Bravo, People, place and pollution: Investigating relationships between air quality perceptions, health concerns, exposure, and individual- and area-level characteristics, Environment International, Volume 122, 2019, Pages 244–255, ISSN 0160–4120. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.envint.2018.11.013
  9. Powering Our Future: A Clean Energy Vision for Philadelphia (2018) https://www.phila.gov/documents/powering-our-future-a-clean-energy-vision-for-philadelphia/
  10. Carbon Free Boston: Summary Report (2019) https://www.greenribboncommission.org/document/executive-summary-carbon-free-boston/
  11. Draft of Manchester Zero Carbon Framework 2020–2038 (2019) http://www.manchesterclimate.com/sites/default/files/Draft%20Manchester%20Zero%20Carbon%20Framework%202020-38.pdf
  12. Zero Carbon London: A 1.5°C Compatible Plan (2018) https://www.london.gov.uk/sites/default/files/1.5c_compatible_plan.pdf
  13. Figueres C, Schnellnhuber HJ, Whiteman G, Rockström J, Hobley A, Rahmstorf S (2017) Three years to safeguard our climate. Nature 546: p. 593–595. http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/546593a
  14. New York City Council Climate Mobilization Act Retrieved from https://council.nyc.gov/data/green/
  15. International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis. (2019, October 23). A roadmap to make the land sector carbon neutral by 2040. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 14, 2019 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/10/191023104624.htm



500 Women Scientists Philly Pod

The Philly Pod of 500 Women Scientists is a grassroots organization founded in February of 2017 with a vision to make science more open and inclusive to all.