New Jersey Governor Calls for Reduction of Greenhouse Gas Emissions

February 21, 2007

New Jersey Governor Jon Corzine signed an executive order on February 13 to adopt goals for the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions in the state. The order calls for reducing such emissions to 1990 levels by 2020, approximately a 20 percent reduction, followed by a further reduction to 80 percent below 2006 levels by 2050.

"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," Corzine said in a press release.

The commissioner of the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) will work with the Board of Public Utilities, the Department of Transportation, the Department of Community Affairs, and other stakeholders to evaluate methods to meet and exceed the 2020 target reductions. The DEP commissioner will make recommendations to meet the targets while considering the economic benefits and costs of implementing the recommendations. This evaluation will be done in conjunction with the state's Energy Master Plan, which will incorporate the new greenhouse gas reduction goals.

The order calls on the DEP to develop a 1990 greenhouse gas emission inventory, as well as a system for monitoring current levels so that progress can be tracked. DEP will report progress toward the target reductions every two years and may recommend additional actions. The order also calls for the director of energy savings to develop targets and implementation strategies for reducing energy use by state facilities and fleets.

As a member of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, a cooperative effort of northeastern and mid-Atlantic states working to reduce carbon dioxide emissions, New Jersey plans to 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. Corzine said he will work with the state legislature to dedicate up to 100 percent of these funds to promote energy efficiency, renewable energy, and other projects that benefit electric users.

For more information, including text of the executive order, read the governor's February 13 press release.

Source: February 14 article in The New York Times