Corzine's order puts New Jersey in forefront of global warming fight
As expected, Gov. Jon Corzine yesterday signed an executive order that sets aggressive new tar gets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions in New Jersey, saying he was taking action "to preserve our planet for our children and grandchildren."
The order commits the state to cutting emissions 20 percent from current levels by 2020 and 80 percent from current levels by 2050. Corzine characterized the goals as "pro-active and ambitious," noting that California is the only other state that has been as aggressive in curbing emissions.
The U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change earlier this month cited emissions from cars, electric power plants and other sources as being "very likely" the major culprit in global warming. Scientists and environmental advocates have said an 80 percent reduction in emissions by 2050 is a critical step in preventing the most devastating effects of global warming. The federal government has yet to take action on reducing emissions nationwide.
"In the absence of leadership on the federal level," Corzine said, "the burden has now fallen upon state executives and legislatures to lead the way on this issue and I'm proud that New Jersey is helping to blaze that trail."
The state is already a member of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, a cooperative effort by Northeast and mid-Atlantic states to reduce carbon dioxide emissions. The Corzine administration is also working to establish a cap on carbon dioxide emissions from electric power plants.
Corzine directed the Department of Environmental Protection to work with the Department of Transportation, Board of Public Utilities, the Department of Community Affairs and interest groups to develop a plan over the next six months to meet those goals for reducing emissions. The ideas will be incorporated as part of a state master plan on energy that is cur rently being developed and is due to be presented to Corzine in October.
While acknowledging the Legislature will need to enact into law some of those ideas, Corzine stopped short of endorsing any specific bills that have been introduced by legislators.
Assemblyman John F. McKeon (D-Essex), chairman of the Assembly environment committee, will hold the first public hearings next week on a bill sponsored by Assemblywoman Linda Stender (D- Union) that would reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Corzine announced his order at an event in West Orange, in McKeon's district, to tout an energy conservation program target ing youth.
"Global warming is not a trend issue; this is a real threat to our future," McKeon said. "The governor has set a standard that should be codified into law. The Assembly environment committee is preparing to take this issue up in earnest so we can begin to reverse the suicidal course we are now following through the uncontrolled release of greenhouse gases."I am proud there is some common sense somewhere. The important thing to note, that through careful planning this is actually a goal that can be easily accomplished. Granted, people will have to make some sacrifices, like getting rid of SUVs and paying a little extra for LED lights, but it will benefit the country and the world. A report released by a group of scientists from the Sierra Club and energy experts from the American Solar Energy Society unveiled a report last week detailing how the U.S. could cut global warming emissions 60-80% by 2050 -- using only efficiency and renewables. The report provides a roadmap not only for where we want to be in terms of emission levels, but also how we can get there using solutions that are available today. This report lays out how we can build a new energy economy based on clean energy, and new, good-paying manufacturing jobs.
The big deal is energy efficiency is the bulk of the reductions. Check the report. Download the report here.