TRENTON – With the reality of global warming becoming more apparent every day, Senator Barbara Buono today said it was time for New Jersey to “take the lead in reducing greenhouse gas emissions.”
“From the thawing of permafrost in Alaska and Siberia to more powerful hurricanes in the Gulf of Mexico to higher global temperatures, global warming can no longer be written off as a scientific theory,” said Senator Buono, D-Middlesex. “We’re at a tipping point where we can either take action to reverse these trends or do nothing and see the potential for disaster escalate. We cannot afford to hesitate.”
Senator Buono noted today’s release of a study in the scientific journal Nature saying that thawing permafrost in Arctic climes is releasing greenhouse gases that have been trapped for thousands of years.
“It seems like the time window for us to act is shrinking at a much greater rate. The amount of evidence that the threat of global warming is real and immediate keeps piling up. I hope that people begin to realize that waiting is no longer an option,” added Senator Buono.
Senator Buono has been working with the Governor’s Office and the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) on two measures that would set New Jersey on the path towards lower greenhouse gas emissions. The first measure, bill S-2114, would require that greenhouse emissions statewide be below 1990 levels by 2020. The DEP would be charged with determining how much below 1990 levels the State should go and with establishing a monitoring and reduction program by January 1, 2008 to obtain that level. The program would be required to have a series of goals to be reached, with the first one occurring in 2012. The measure is similar to one recently passed into law in California.
“The Bush administration has failed to enact a national program to reduce greenhouse gases and curb the advancement of global warming. But New Jersey shouldn’t stand idly by. We can join California in showing that not only is it possible to significantly reduce emissions, but that it provides invaluable benefits, both financially and environmentally,” explained Senator Buono.
Senator Buono is also drafting a bill that would place a two-year moratorium on the construction of new coal-fired power plants or the expansion of existing coal-fired power plants. The two years would be used to study the impact that additional coal power plants in New Jersey would have on the health and welfare of the population, air and water quality, and local agriculture and economic development. It would also allow for the study of more efficient and renewable sources of power.
“While New Jersey’s need for electricity is constantly growing, there are better options out there than building more coal power plants,” said Senator Buono. “Idaho just passed a similar moratorium, and I think it’s prudent to join with them to take a good, hard look at the real impact of coal plants on the region. Coal is like sugar – it’s cheap, addictive and costs more down the road.”