Climate Action & Environmental Planning
The City of Scranton’s core focus is to serve and protect the health, welfare, and safety of its residents, businesses, and environment. Throughout its history, the City has shown great resiliency and adaptation with changes in industry, technology, and many other areas. This flexibility has been a vital asset, which is evident in Scranton’s adaptive reuse and preservation of historic structures, and it will be key to the City’s efforts to mitigate and adapt for the effects of climate change. Decreasing emissions can lead to increased prosperity, and adapting to extreme weather will require improved infrastructure. The City, to emphasize this point, has made developing sustainable infrastructure a key action step in our Strategic Economic Development Plan. To build upon our existing resiliency, the City of Scranton’s Bureau of City Planning and Zoning is currently undertaking several initiatives under its new area of focus of Environmental Planning
Climate Adaptation and Mitigation
The City of Scranton strongly believes in the importance of addressing the realities of our changing climate. Scranton was recently accepted in the 2022-2023 cohort for the Local Climate Action Program, a joint initiative developed by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection and Penn State University. Working alongside staff and students at Penn State, we will develop greenhouse inventories and complete initial groundwork for our climate action plan over the course of two semesters.
In September, we will be focusing on developing a local greenhouse gas inventory (GHG) to identify the major sources of greenhouse gasses in Scranton and measure how much they pollute. In the spring, we will begin developing our local climate action plan using data from the GHG inventory. This will include engaging the public in the planning process, with in-person workshops, virtual meetings, and online surveys.
To find out more about the Local Climate Action Program, click here.
Sustainability is a comprehensive, ongoing commitment to support healthy residents, build vibrant communities and advance environmentally responsible practices. It requires a foundational approach that simultaneously integrates social equity, environmental stewardship, and economic development in decision-making.
A sustainable community:
- embraces transparency and sees community engagement as a core function of policy creation and enforcement.
- is actively working to reduce carbon emissions and adapt to the rapidly changing climate.
- provides access and opportunities for all of its residents and those who live in the region.
- is a desired location to start and expand innovative businesses and transformational organizations.
- seeks to challenge the status quo and learn from past failures, without being held prisoner by them.
- assesses and re-assesses the state of sustainability in the community, makes plans, sets goals and achieves them, and openly reports to an engaged citizenry about both their successes and failures.
- is actively engaged in regional and larger discussions about the work they are doing and how it fits into the larger vision of a sustainable future.
Scranton embraces the importance of sustainability, making it a key priority in our Strategic Economic Development Plan. Throughout our Climate Action Planning work, we are committed to making all of our actions sustainable and forward-thinking, ensuring our current generations can meet their needs without compromising that ability for future generations.
The City of Scranton is among a select group of high performing municipalities to become certified through the Sustainable Pennsylvania program, and is the first municipality in the state to be certified under its redesigned program. Scranton is recognized at the Silver level of certification for meeting the program’s rigorous performance criteria, which provide a foundational approach for building communities that thrive.
Sustainable Pennsylvania is managed by the Pennsylvania Municipal League (The League), in partnership with Sustainable Pittsburgh, and is designed for municipalities that are working to save money, conserve resources, and serve vibrant communities. The certification is offered statewide, recognizing boroughs, townships, cities, and home rule communities across the Commonwealth. The League and Sustainable Pittsburgh applaud local governments for their demonstrated commitment and sustainability performance.
In earning a Silver certification, Scranton is acknowledged for its progress in such areas as community design and land use, health and wellness, intergovernmental cooperation, recycling and waste reduction, fiscal controls, and internal management and operations. Details about Scranton’s certification performance within these topics can be found by clicking here.
Sustainable Pennsylvania is intended to bring recognition to municipalities that are implementing the policies and practices of sustainability to advance community and regional prosperity. The program provides strategies, resources, and recognition to municipalities for improving quality of life and expanding opportunities for everyone.
“Sustainability requires a foundational approach that simultaneously integrates social equity, environmental stewardship, and economic development in decision-making,” said Joylette Portlock, Ph.D., Executive Director of Sustainable Pittsburgh. “Sustainable Pennsylvania provides municipal governments and stakeholders clear and recognizable sustainability objectives to share, so that they can foster thriving and vibrant communities, built to last.”
To find out more about SustainablePA, click here.
Resiliency is the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties. It considers a system’s ability to prepare for threats, to absorb impacts, and to recover and adapt after disruptive events. Scranton is no stranger from internal and external threats, as the City has faces issues relating to finance, economic recovery, flooding, and leadership. In order to safeguard our citizens and our local government, Scranton is prioritizing its resiliency efforts, to ensure we can safely recover from any threats we may face.
The City of Scranton was invited to join the inaugural Resiliency Cohort, alongside other mid-sized cities like Green Bay, Cedar Rapids, and Missoula. Lead by the Local Policy Lab, the cohort will identify gaps in available resources and articulate potential solutions. These might include access to policy updates and education; networking and mentorship; or a hub to exchange ideas and work with peers, constituents, and advocates. Our goal is to help develop a strategy to tackle the issue of stormwater and flash flooding throughout the city, as well as to formulate an initial Resiliency Plan that will guide us in identifying and addressing other potential threats.
To find out more about the Local Policy Lab, click here.
Current Air Quality