View out an airplane window of State College dotted with puffy clouds

Our climate in Central PA is changing, fast.

We’re already experiencing costly changes in weather patterns in central Pennsylvania as a result of human-caused climate change.

Emissions breakdown

Based on our 2016 inventory of local greenhouse gas emissions.

Local carbon footprint

Across Centre Region, our annual greenhouse gas emissions are 824,209 metric tons CO₂e. Our emissions per person are more than 2x the global average, though fairly average for U.S. suburban areas.

This calculation only includes carbon emitted locally, not individuals’ total footprints, so the carbon impact of products purchased, shipments, flights, etc. are not included.

Centre, PAMT CO₂/person
Global averageMT CO₂/person

CO₂e is “carbon dioxide equivalent”: other emissions’ equivalent greenhouse pollution as carbon dioxide.

Emissions by sector

  1. Buildings/Energy(67%)

    Electricity, natural gas, & heating fuels

    52% residential
    48% commercial
  2. Transportation(20%)

    79% passenger vehicles
    17% trucks
    (freight & service)
    transit (buses)
  3. Solid Waste(6%)

    Transit of solid waste & recycling, processing, & landfill operations

  4. Agriculture(5%)

    Livestock emissions, fertilizer, & park land maintenance

  5. Water(2%)

    Water treatment plant electricity/propane & emissions

Explore the full reports
Inventory Summary thumbnail Inventory SummaryFull Report thumbnail Full Report
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Climate change is increasing the vulnerability of forests to fire, insect infestations, drought, and disease outbreaks.

Interacting stressors such as insect pests, pathogens, and climate change are affecting native trees and plants, animals, and rare & endangered species. We are seeing changing forest composition, loss of tree species, changes in insect and disease pressures, and increasing invasive plants & animals.

49% of Centre Region land is forest, and properly managed forests can be a part of the climate solution by absorbing atmospheric CO2.

Centre County’s rate of Lyme Disease has grown 7x in the last decade

PA incidence of Lyme Disease has tripled in the last 10 years. Centre County is double that—our rates have increased 6.7x in that decade.

5 cases29 cases195 cases

Warmer temperatures have led to an earlier larval peak of the blacklegged (deer) tick, the major Lyme disease transmitter. The number, distribution, and length of time during the year that ticks and mosquitoes are active have all been increasing, thereby increasing the public’s exposure to vector borne diseases such as Lyme Disease.

Invasive species can take advantage of changing temperatures and could expand their range. Private and public land owners will need to plant climate change-resilient trees to replace those we lose.

40% of Pennsylvania’s 227 bird species are vulnerable to climate change according to the Audubon Society of PA.

Fog over a meadow with a sunlit tree


Pennsylvania is projected to have more heavy, sudden downpours; extended heat waves; and stretches of warm, wet weather in deep winter. Pennsylvania has seen measurable changes in temperature, precipitation, and storm intensity.

in the last century, PA’s extreme rainfall events have increased 55%

Since the beginning of the 20th century, temperatures in Pennsylvania have risen around 2°F and temperatures in the 2000s have been higher than in any other historical period.

The number of very cold nights has been below average since the 1990s, indicative of a long-term winter warming trend.

As Pennsylvania gets warmer, it is also experiencing abundant precipitation, especially extreme rain events. Observed changes show a 55% increase in heavy precipitation events (the top 1% of rainy days) from 1958 to 2016.

Average annual precipitation in Pennsylvania has increased about 10% in the past 110 years, and 2018 was the wettest year on record, bringing a total of 63.97 inches of rain.

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Flooding, related to extreme precipitation events, presents significant and growing risks to the safety, reliability, effectiveness, and sustainability of roads and bridges across Centre County.

record-breaking floods & landslides cost PA $126M in infrastructure in 2018

The Pennsylvania Auditor General reported that in 2018 climate-related costs to Pennsylvania totaled at least $261 million; that number includes record-breaking floods and landslides that caused more than $125.7 million in infrastructure damages.

During the rainstorm in October 2016, 7-10” of rain fell over the course of 4 hours in Centre County that damaged several bridges and roadways. This event caused a landslide along Purdue Mountain Road in Benner Township which closed the road for almost 2 years. FEMA and PEMA covered 65% of the \$933,000 needed for repairs.

We will be increasingly forced to divert funding to climate-caused infrastructure damages.

Happy Valley Farm


Farms are seeing an increase in springtime flooding, delaying planting & reducing yield. More frequent & intense summer heat waves can have direct impacts on crop and livestock yields and production costs.

developed land emits 66x more greenhouse gases than farms

Agriculture is a significant component of Centre County’s economy, with $91.5 million in annual farm sales. Best management practices need to ensure our farms are prepared and able to adapt to a changing climate.

Regenerative agriculture is a solution to increase resilience to climate change by strengthening the health and vitality of farm soil. Healthy soils play a significant role in reversing climate change by naturally absorbing carbon dioxide (CO2).


Preparing for and managing climate change-related risks goes beyond local government and will require collective action across our community. The Centre Region will lead efforts to make sure our community anticipates and responds to these effects.

As others across our state are doing, we are developing a climate action plan for our region and your input will help guide our decisions & priorities.