TRENTON – Recognizing the threat of climate change to our state, our nation and our planet, the Senate advanced legislation today that will begin to lower carbon dioxide emissions in a practical way, by encouraging consumers to use unit concrete products that utilize carbon footprint-reducing technology by offering such products as an option in new construction, though the use of such technology would not be mandatory.
Combined, the manufacturing of cement and concrete is responsible for almost 8 percent of the world’s carbon dioxide emissions, and is a significant contributor to climate change. The Paris Climate Accord of 2015 set a goal of achieving a reduction of cement-related emissions by at least 16 percent by 2030.
The bill, S-3091, sponsored by Senator Dawn Addiego, would establish various tax incentives, and state and local government purchasing preferences, for unit concrete products that incorporate carbon footprint-reducing technology, where feasible, including “permeable pavement.” Such technology, to be certified by the Department of Environmental Protection, would be described as technology “generating at least 50 percent less carbon dioxide emissions in the production and utilization of the unit concrete product than conventional unit concrete products made with ordinary Portland cement.”
“Given the growing existential threat of climate change, we can start to address the problem of carbon emissions, in a pragmatic way, by encouraging consumers to consider more environmentally sensitive technology as an option,” said Senator Addiego (D-Atlantic/Burlington/Camden). “We hope through this legislation to increase the use of carbon footprint-reducing technology, such as permeable pavement, by encouraging its use in new construction.”
Carbon footprint-reducing technology includes products that are currently on the market and competitively priced right now, noted Addiego. The purpose of the bill is to incentivize consumers to use these more environmentally friendlier products if they so desire.
The bill received public support from Tri-County Sustainability. S-3091 also received support from the Chamber of Commerce of Southern New Jersey and the Southern New Jersey Development Council.
“We find this new type of concrete process, first mass produced as a carbon reducing paver product, an exciting opportunity to change the future of building construction that will one day play an outsized role in reducing the environmental impact of economic development,” said Jane Asselta, Vice President of Southern New Jersey Development Council.
“The legislation offers the right mix of tax incentives and state and local procurement preferences to create a marketplace for these products and to build and accelerate future demand. With this first-in-the-nation legislation, New Jersey will continue to be a leader in the global warming response.”
The bill was passed out of the Senate by a vote of 24-11.