HARRISBURG, Pa. (Erie News Now) – Wednesday, climate advocates rallied to raise awareness about global warming and Pennsylvania’s role in energy production. Earlier in the day, climate advocates with the Better Path Coalition and the Pennsylvania Climate Convergence delivered a letter signed by 60 organizations, with over 3,000 signatures, to the Pennsylvania Department of General Services (DGS).
In that letter, they call on DGS to make what’s now a temporary physical reminder, a permanent fixture in the East Wing of the State Capitol.
“We all need to face this ticking clock every day,” said Dawn Kane, a volunteer for the Better Path Coalition.
According to advocates, the climate clock serves as a countdown to a deadline of planetary global warming rising above 1.5 degrees Celsius. Below the countdown, is a percentage of energy produced from renewables, which organizers say has the potential to slow the countdown.
The six-foot clock was installed in June, and DGS agreed it could remain on display through November. But as time runs out for the climate clock, advocates say time is also running out for the planet.
“The clock is ticking and we are running out of time,” said Ellen Gerhart with the Better Path Coalition.
Advocates are calling on DGS to make the clock a permanent fixture and say the highly trafficked area of the Capitol is a prime location for their target audience: lawmakers.
“We all need reminders from time to time,” said Kane. “Because our legislators are making decisions that will not only shape the future of the state of Pennsylvania, but the entire planet. Shouldn’t this clock remain to serve and remind us that our emissions harm those beyond our borders and extend far and wide,” she added.
Regardless of the climate clock’s fate in the Capitol, advocates say the fight will continue.
“It’s a survival issue, an economic issue, and most deeply, a moral issue,” said Rev. Joan Sabatino, the Director of UUJusticePA, an advocacy organization of Unitarian Universalists.
Gerhart says the fight for climate justice will also continue, especially in low-income areas where pollution may be higher.
“Corporations and governments consciously choose those neighborhoods that they assume are the least likely to offer resistance, either from lack of knowledge, lack of funds, or lack of political will,” said Gerhart.
Advocates believe a permanent home for the climate clock will provide a consistent reminder of what’s at stake, who’s at risk, and the need to act quickly.
On the other side of the argument, Republicans say Pennsylvanians are suffering from Democratic policies that target domestic energy production and increase energy costs for residents. According to a spokesperson for the House Republican Caucus, the party remains focused on Pennsylvania energy production in order to lower energy, fuel, and other costs for residents, especially as colder weather approaches.
At the time of publishing, DGS had not responded on whether they plan to keep the climate clock inside the Capitol, nor how much the clock costs to operate 24/7.