New Jersey Statewide Climate Change Update

There have been six very significant developments within the past several months - a watershed period in climate change public policy direction - arguably the most comprehensive climate regulatory approach in New Jersey history. The six initiatives or directives:

  1. Executive Order 89 Issued by Governor Murphy on October 29, 2019
  2. The Rising Seas and Changing Coastal Storms study, commissioned by New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) and prepared by Rutgers released in November after convening the first "Science and Technical Advisory Panel" by Rutgers
  3. S4162 signed by Governor in mid-January 2020 establishing the "New Jersey Climate Change Resource Center" at Rutgers and appropriating $500,000 to go to this effort
  4. Governor's release of the Final Energy Master Plan on January 27, 2020
  5. Concurrent release of Governor's Executive Order 100
  6. Concurrent release of New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection's (NJDEP) Administrative Order Number 2020-01

Executive Order Number 89 on Statewide Climate Change Resilience Strategy

In October 2019, Governor Murphy signed Executive Order Number 89 (PDF) to establish:

  • Statewide Climate Change Resilience Strategy (with Climate Action Plans required of each State Department)
  • Interagency Council on Climate Resilience comprised of 16 state agencies
  • Climate and Flood Resilience Program within NJDEP institutionalizing a climate regulatory focus
  • Chief Resilience Officer (Dave Rosenblatt)
  • Scientific Report on Climate Change due by late April 2020
  • Statewide Strategy to be Developed with a Coastal Resilience Plan

DEP release of Rutgers Rising Seas & Changing Coastal Storms Study

NJ Climate Change Resource Center (A4162)

Assembly Number 4162 facilitates collaborative research focused on both climate mitigation and adaptation:

  • Conduct collaborative research amongst academic institutions
  • Conduct pilot projects
  • Develop technical guidance
  • Form private sector partnerships: agriculture, health, water resources, built environment (extremely important to bring the private sector to the planning table)
  • The New Jersey Climate Change Alliance will be part of this center
  • Rutgers to conduct a Statewide Vulnerability Assessment

New Jersey Energy Master Plan

The Draft 2019 New Jersey Energy Master Plan (PDF) proposes the goal of achieving 100% clean energy by 2050, greenhouse gas emissions reductions of 80% below 2006 levels by 2050, and 100% carbon neutral electric generation and maximum electrification in the transportation and building sectors. Utilizing seven strategies, including:

  • Accelerating Deployment of Renewable Energy and Distributed Energy Resources
  • Decarbonizing and Modernizing New Jersey's Energy System
  • Expand the Clean Energy Innovation Economy
  • Maximizing Energy Efficiency and Conservation, and Reducing Peak Demand
  • Reducing Energy Consumption and Emissions from the Building Sector
  • Reducing Energy Consumption and Emissions from the Transportation Sector
  • Supporting Community Energy Planning and Action in Underserved Communities

Read through the Office of the Governor news release on unveiling the Energy Master Plan.

Executive Order Number 100 on Protecting Against Climate Change

Issued on January 27, 2020, Executive Order Number 100 (PDF):

  • Includes 26 "whereas" clauses providing a descriptive template of the state of climate change and what we are doing to address it in NJ
    Coins Governor Phil Murphy's phrase, "Protecting Against Climate Threats" (PACT)
  • Gives NJDEP 2 years to adopt PACT Regulations
  • Calls for several NJDEP core action items, including establishing a Greenhouse Gas Monitoring and Reporting Program; developing specific criteria to reduce black carbon, hydrofluorocarbons and methane; and integrating climate into all NJDEP permitting programs

Administrative Oder 2020-01

Issued on January 27, 2020, Administrate Order 2020-01 (PDF):

  • DEP state of climate report due by June 30, 2020 on needed regulatory measures
  • Propose reformed regulations within 12 months or by June 30, 2021 and adopt those regulations (in most areas) in 2 years
  • Align all grants, loans, contracts, planning and outreach messaging with the new regulations, including a stakeholder engagement process
  • Conduct stakeholder engagement sessions on February 21 and 25 on air emissions and March 2 on land use
  • Land use: integrate climate change considerations, such as sea level rise, including encouraging energy efficient buildings and green infrastructure, re-vegetating riparian areas, avoiding flood prone areas, and restoring inundated wetlands
  • Air emissions: establish a monitoring and reporting program to identify all significant sources of greenhouse gas emissions, including carbon dioxide, methane and other climate pollutants; monitor the progress of emissions reductions to reach the state's target of 80% below 2006 emission levels by 2050, as required under New Jersey's Global Warming Response Act and adopt new regulations under the Air Pollution Control Act to reduce carbon dioxide emissions and air pollution

Review the NJ PACT Fact Sheet (PDF).

Related New Jersey Climate & Energy Developments in 2019 to 2020

  • Electric Vehicle Legislation - In January 2020, Governor Murphy signed legislation to increase the number of electric vehicles (EVs) on the road, increase publicly accessible charging infrastructure, electrify fleets and provide an EV rebate program.
  • Executive Order Number 92 on Offshore Wind - In late 2019, Governor Phil Murphy signed Executive Order Number 92 to more than double New Jersey's offshore wind goal from 3,500 megawatts of offshore wind-generated electricity by 2030 to 7,500 megawatts by 2035.
  • Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) - New Jersey rejoined the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) in 2019 after establishing a market-based program to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Transportation and Climate Initiative (TCI) - The State is a member of the TCI, a regional collaboration of 12 Northeast and Mid-Atlantic states and the District of Columbia seeking to improve transportation, develop the clean energy economy and reduce carbon emissions from the transportation sector.