Global warming legislation was enacted for the first time in Pennsylvania July 10, when Gov. Ed Rendell signed the Pennsylvania Climate Change Act. The measure was overwhelmingly approved earlier this month by both houses of the Pennsylvania General Assembly.

A coal-rich state, Pennsylvania emits 1 percent of the world’s greenhouse gases responsible for global warming, more than the emissions of 105 developing countries combined.

The Climate Change Act is immediately effective and will:

(1) Require the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (“DEP”) to conduct an annual inventory of greenhouse gas (“GHG”) emissions in all sectors, specifically but not limited to transportation, electricity generation, industrial, commercial, mineral and natural resources, production of alternative fuel, agricultural, and domestic sectors, and through such inventory, to establish a baseline of GHG emissions

(2) Require DEP, within 90 days of the Act’s effective date, to set up a voluntary registry for business and industry where they can track their GHG emissions and potentially get credit for voluntary GHG emission reductions

(3) Provide for an 18-member politically appointed stakeholder advisory group to DEP (the “Climate Change Advisory Committee” or “Committee”), that will work with DEP to develop a state plan (“Climate Change Action Plan”) to reduce GHG emissions, which is to be available within 15 months of the Act’s effective date

(4) Require DEP to report on potential climate change impacts and economic opportunities for the state within nine months of the Act’s effective date (revisions to be provided every three years thereafter

(5) Require the Secretary of DEP to monitor the enactment of laws by the U.S. Congress to determine whether any federal law is more stringent than Pennsylvania law with regard to GHG inventory, registry or reporting requirements and, if so, to identify the affected entities, which must comply with the more stringent federal regulations through a notice in the Pennsylvania Bulletin.