New Jersey makes greenhouse gas reduction commitment

The New Jersey Environmental Protection Agency (NJEPA) has announced plans to reduce the state's greenhouse gas emissions to 3.5% below 1990 levels by the year 2005.

The move comes after the state was hit by severe flooding last autumn. New Jersey is among the first US states to move toward implementation of its greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction plans and is the first to commit to reducing emissions to 3.5% below 1990 levels. In addition, it is the first to sign an agreement with another nation – the Netherlands – to work jointly on climate change issues to reduce sea-level rise.

“If sea levels continue to rise and intense flooding occurs as predicted, our environment and our economy will suffer. In addition, higher heat means more summertime smog and pollution, endangering the health of young children, those who work or exercise outdoors, the elderly, and especially persons with asthma or other respiratory problems,” said State Environmental Protection Commissioner Bob Shinn. State Governor Christie Whitman has earmarked $320,000 in next year’s proposed budget to implement the GHG action plan.

New Jersey produces about two percent of the US’ GHGs, approximately 130 million tons a year. If nothing is done, emissions are projected to rise six percent annually.

New Jersey’s action plan calls for reducing GHG emissions by about 20 million tons – from the projected 151 million tons in 2005 to a goal of 131 million tons by that date.

The plan will draw upon initiatives in five areas: energy conservation, pollution prevention, innovative technologies, recycling and solid waste management and natural resource protection:

  • energy conservation initiatives and innovative technologies in residential, commercial and industrial buildings would achieve a 12.5 million ton reduction. These include use of more energy efficient appliances in the home, use of more efficient commercial and residential heating and cooling systems, lighting system upgrades in commercial establishments, use of fuel cells in industrial and commercial settings
  • energy conservation and innovative technologies in the transport sector would reduce GHGs by 2.2 million tons. These include proper car maintenance to improve fuel efficiency, greater use of public transport and hybrid cars
  • waste management improvements could bring a 4.5 million ton reduction. These include greater recycling to reduce waste generation and reducing or using energy lost through inefficient industrial processes
  • natural resource conservation could save up to a half million tons

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