A bill signed Friday makes New Jersey the third state in the nation to pass legislation that would significantly cut greenhouse gas emissions in the absence of any federal laws regulating greenhouse emissions.
The law signed by Gov. Jon S. Corzine calls for reducing greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by 2020, approximately a 20 percent reduction, followed by a further reduction of emissions to 80 percent below 2006 levels by 2050.
The provisions were previously set in Executive Order 54 which the Corzine signed in February.
"In the absence of leadership on the federal level, the burden of reducing greenhouse gases has now fallen upon the states,” Corzine says. “I’m proud that New Jersey is one of the first among a handful of states that are leading the nation to combat global warming and I hope more states will follow in our model.”
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 pending Energy Master Plan, which will incorporate the new greenhouse gas reduction goal.
The legislation 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 to the Governor and the Legislature 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 vehicle fleets.