Trenton – On the eve of the Live Earth Concerts for a Climate in Crisis Governor Jon S. Corzine signed legislation adopting proactive and ambitious goals for the reduction of green house gas emissions in New Jersey. The legislation calls for reducing greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by 2020, approximately a 20 percent reduction, followed by a further reduction of emissions to 80 percent below 2006 levels by 2050. New Jersey is only the third state in the nation make greenhouse gas reduction goals law and these provisions were previously set in Executive Order 54 which the Governor signed in February.“In the absence of leadership on the federal level, the burden of reducing greenhouse gases has now fallen upon the states,” Governor Corzine said. “I’m proud that New Jersey is one of the first among a handful of states that are leading the nation to combat global warming and I hope more states will follow in our model.”
To reach this goal, the Commissioner of the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) will work with the Board of Public Utilities (BPU), the Department of Transportation (DOT), the Department of Community Affairs (DCA) and other stakeholders to evaluate methods to meet and exceed the 2020 target reductions. The DEP Commissioner will make specific recommendations to meet the targets while taking into account the economic benefits and costs of implementing these recommendations. This evaluation will be done in conjunction with the state’s pending Energy Master Plan, which will incorporate the new greenhouse gas reduction goal.
The legislation calls on the DEP to develop a 1990 greenhouse gas emission inventory as well as a system for monitoring current greenhouse gas levels so that progress toward goals can be accurately tracked. DEP will report progress towards the target reductions to the Governor and the Legislature no less than every two years and if necessary will recommend additional actions to reach the targets. To further reduce emissions, the order calls for the Director of Energy Savings to develop targets and implementation strategies for reducing energy use by state facilities and vehicles fleets.
The bill, A3301, was sponsored in the Assembly by Assemblypersons Linda Stender (D-Middlesex, Somerset, Union), Valerie Vainieri Huttle (D-Bergen), Reed Gusciora (D-Mercer), Linda R. Greenstein (D-Mercer, Middlesex), and John F. McKeon (D-Essex). The legislation sponsored in the Senate by Senators Barbara Buono (D-Middlesex), Thomas H. Kean Jr. (R-Essex, Morris, Somerset, Union), and Bob Smith (D-Middlesex, Somerset).
"Global warming is the issue that will define the early 21st century," said Senator Barbara Buono, D-Middlesex. "It touches every aspect of American life - economics, the environment, international security - and is a problem New Jersey can no longer afford to avoid. Our children and grandchildren will look back to today and recognize it as one of the major turning points in the battle against climate change."
“Today, New Jersey becomes a leading force in the global fight against climate change and promoting new technologies and strategies to counteract greenhouse gas emissions,” said Assemblywoman Linda Stender (D-Union). “Our country has come to a critical juncture on global warming: we can take action now to protect public health and our environment, or we can dawdle and pay a steep price later for failing to act. President Bush may be in denial about global warming, but New Jersey isn’t.”
“We owe it to our children and grandchildren to think big and tackle global warming head-on,” said Suzanne Leta Liou, Global Warming and Clean Energy Advocate for Environment New Jersey, a statewide, nonprofit, nonpartisan environmental advocacy organization. “By requiring ground-breaking, science-based reductions of our global warming pollution, New Jersey is providing a recipe for success for elected officials across the nation. We’re not waiting another day. We’re setting the stage for immediate action and long-lasting change.”
“Because of its strong stand against global warming, New Jersey will be a laboratory of innovation for environmental benefit – a role that plays to its strength as one of the world’s leading centers for technology-driven economic growth,” Ralph Izzo, Chairman, President and CEO of Public Service Enterprise Group said. “PSEG is ready to do its part to help New Jersey respond to this global issue. We look forward to partnering with Governor Corzine, his administration and our customers to tackle climate change and achieve a greener and healthier planet.”