New Jersey Governor Jon Corzine today issued an Executive Order calling for the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by 2020—approximately a 20% reduction—followed by a further reduction of emissions to 80% below 2006 levels by 2050.
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 Energy Master Plan, which will incorporate the new greenhouse gas reduction goal.
The order 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 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.
Today we have taken steps to preserve our planet for our children and grandchildren by adopting aggressive goals for the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. In the absence of leadership on the federal level 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.—Governor Corzine
The administration will call on other states to join in its efforts and will work closely with the Legislature to pass legislation to support and strengthen the targets set out in the Executive Order. Senator Barbara Buono (D-Middlesex) and Assemblywoman Linda Stender (D-Union) are currently working on a bill to accomplish that goal.
As a member of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, a cooperative effort of Northeastern and Mid-Atlantic states working to reduce carbon dioxide emissions, the Corzine Administration will set up a cap and trade program to help limit carbon dioxide pollution from electric power plants.
Under this system power plants that exceed a predetermined level of carbon dioxide emissions will be required to pay a fee for each ton of carbon emitted over the limit. Governor Corzine will work with the Legislature to dedicate up to 100% of these funds to promote energy efficiency, renewable energy as well as other projects that benefit electric users. Senator Bob Smith (D-Middlesex) and Assemblyman John F. McKeon (D-Essex) are currently working on legislation to accomplish this goal.
In 2006, the California Assembly passed, and the Governor signed into law, the California Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006 which is intended to bring statewide emissions of greenhouse gases back down to 1990 levels by 2020—an estimated cut of 25%. (Earlier post.)