UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Climate change poses an existential threat to communities and people, according to organizers of an upcoming Penn State Extension land-use webinar, who noted that local governments leading by example is a key component of mitigating climate change in Pennsylvania.

Presenting the 75-minute webinar at noon on March 15 will be Peter Buck, academic programs manager at the Sustainability Institute at Penn State.

The climate affects everything — weather, agriculture, health, the economy, travel and supply chains — and climate change will have intergenerational impacts, organizers pointed out.

This webinar will provide an overview of the Local Climate Action Program, a partnership initiative of the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, the Penn State Sustainability Institute, Penn State’s Department of Energy and Mineral Engineering, and ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability, formerly known as the International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives.

The program is designed to train and assist local officials and community stakeholders on how to inventory and reduce greenhouse gas emissions through an engaged planning process facilitated by faculty, staff and students from Penn State and other universities. The webinar will cover how municipalities can utilize this program, which partners Penn State students with municipal and county governments to understand how Pennsylvania communities drive climate change and ways to lower greenhouse gases and adapt to a changing climate.

In the fall, students conduct a greenhouse gas inventory to count local contributions from transportation, residential, commercial and industrial energy use, electricity production, solid waste, wastewater, agriculture, and other sources. In the spring, students complete projects prioritized by municipal or county partners. Such projects may involve building climate action and adaptation plans and processes, assisting with community engagement, reviewing ordinances, and developing educational materials.

“Local Climate Action Planning: Penn State and Municipal Partners Implementing Together” is the third webinar in the Penn State Extension Winter/Spring 2023 Land-Use Webinar Series, which runs monthly until May 17. The series is aimed at informing municipal elected and appointed officials, planners, landowners, farmers, and community organizations about land-use issues and decisions in their communities.

All webinars are recorded and available for future viewing. Other programs in the series include:

— Jan. 18 (recorded): “Management of Vegetation on Utility Transmission Lines.”

— Feb. 15 (recorded): “Community Schoolyards: A Solution for Increasing Park Access in Urban, Suburban and Rural Communities.”

— April 12: “Pennsylvania’s State Recreation Plan: Meshing Community-Based Planning With State Initiatives.”

— May 17: “Transportation, Transit and Land Use: What Are the Connections?”

The cost of the webinar series is $50 for all five sessions, or $95 for all five sessions for those who want to receive AICP certification-maintenance credits from the American Planning Association. The cost also is $95 for all five sessions for professional engineers needing PDH credits. In addition, registered landscape architects can receive continuing-education credits for a fee of $65.

For anyone interested in a particular topic from the series, individual session registration is available for a fee of $15 per session.

For more information, contact Peter Wulfhorst at 570-296-3400 or by email at To register for the webinars, visit the Penn State Extension website.