Climate Action Commission- Carlisle, PA

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Project at a Glance

  • Issue Area Sustainability and conservation
  • Engagement Approaches Commissions/taskforces, Partnering with residents
Project Description

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Rationale: Carlisle is experiencing issues regarding  air, water, and land/soil pollution. 


  • To meet or exceed any state, federal, and international Greenhouse Gas (GHG) reduction commitments. 
  • To establish  a Climate Action Commission (CAC)
  • To develop and recommend a Climate Action Plan (CAP) 

Project Summary: 

The Borough of Carlisle has realized over the years the part it plays in fighting global climate change. Climate change can have adverse effects on public health, infrastructure, emergency services and important economic sources such as tourism. Additionally, the industry that has been created around fighting climate change provides excellent job opportunities that previously did not exist. 

For years, the community has been engaging with multiple, local environmental civic groups and learning more about the climate crisis. The community then petitioned their elected officials to take action. The first step was to join the Local Climate Action Program (LCAP) offered by Pennsylvania’s Department of Environmental Protection (DEP). Carlisle was then able to establish a Greenhouse Gas inventory so that targets for reduction could be created. This led to  the creation of the Climate Action Resolution in 2020, which committed Carlise to meet or exceed any state, federal, and international Greenhouse Gas (GHG) reduction commitment. The resolution also calls for the creation of a Climate ACtion Commission.  The commission would create a Climate Action Plan for council approval. 

Within two months of creating the resolution, resident participation in the Climate Action Commission exceeded any other borough committee or board. There were 4 distinct teams created, PAT TEAM, CET TEAM, PET TEAM and ZONING TEAM. Each team has a specific set of responsibilities. PAT is responsible for presenting overarching strategies to meet GHC reduction targets. CET ensures the Climate Action Plan reflects community values such as issues of racial and socio-economic equity. PET conducts cost-benefit analysis. The ZONING TEAM is finally responsible for carrying out assessments as to how/if specific elements included in the PAT strategies can be implemented under municipal authority.

Engagement Strategies: Various environmental civic groups engaged the public primarily through education. This education led to the community asking elected officials to take action regarding climate change. A task force was also created to accomplish any goals set. The task force had 4 different sections each with a specialized purpose. The task force also allowed residents to participate in the process. 

Outcomes: The Climate Action Commission has brought together dozens of organizations and hundreds of residents into the Climate Action Planning Process. 

Within two months, resident participation in the CAC exceeded that of any other standing borough committee or board, placing over 40 residents into four distinct teams.

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