As New Jersey starts the process to develop regulations to protect citizens against the threats of climate change with the Protecting Against Climate Threats initiative, 90 organizations have delivered a letter calling upon Gov. Phil Murphy, Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Catherine McCabe and Board of Public Utilities President Joseph Fiordaliso to ensure this process sets an unconditional goal to reduce greenhouse gases by 45 percent over 2010 levels by 2030.
This is the same target the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change set in its 2018 report to limit the global warming increase to 1.5 degrees Celsius in order to protect the world from the worst impacts of climate change. While the administration has taken significant steps to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and achieve 100 percent clean energy through the Global Warming Response Act, Energy Master Plan and Executive Order No. 100, the organizations said none of these initiatives set the necessary goal of reducing emissions by 45 percent by 2030.
The letter also calls on the administration to complete the GWRA report as soon as possible, rather than a full year, and to move forward on scientific-based climate regulations with interim benchmarks as soon as possible–and to seek to complete it within one year. When the 2018 IPCC report was published, the world had 12 years to meet the 2030 goal.
Recent Rutgers University research conducted for NJDEP shows sea-level rise projections in New Jersey are more than two times the global average and that sea level rise in New Jersey could rise by up to 1.1 feet by 2020, 2.1 feet by 2050, and 6.3 feet by 2100.
The increased threat of climate change has placed more than $60 billion worth of real estate at increased risk of flooding from extreme weather, according to the Rhodium Group research from last fall.
“Climate change will hurt our poorest and most vulnerable residents, and pollution from fossil fuels already creates an environmental injustice in our cities,” Sue Altman, executive director of the NJ Working Families Alliance, said. “Gov. Murphy’s proposal to regulate climate pollution needs to reflect this urgency and use the most recent climate science to push for drastic reductions in our dependence on fossil fuels.”
The NJDEP will conduct a stakeholder meeting on reducing carbon emissions in New Jersey, followed by a meeting on March 2 to adapt land use regulation to climate change impacts, including extreme weather, sea-level rise and chronic flooding.