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Governor Signs ‘Global Warming Response Act’

Trenton – Legislation sponsored by Senate Environment and Energy Committee Chair Bob Smith, Senate Environment and Energy Committee Vice-Chair Linda Greenstein, and Senator Richard Codey, which will establish new timeframes for the implementation of certain requirements in the “Global Warming Response Act” (GWRA) and require the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) to adopt a strategy to reduce short-lived climate pollutants, was signed into law by Governor Phil Murphy.

According to the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions, the main short-lived climate pollutants are black carbon, methane, tropospheric ozone and fluorinated gases. The EPA has created several voluntary programs aimed at lowering these emissions.  Due to their immense contributions to climate change, reducing short-lived climate pollutants can be very cost-effective.  Actions taken in the immediate future to address them could slow the planet’s warming 0.6 degrees by the mid-century. Common emitters of short-lived pollutants are fossil-fuel burning power plants/refineries/factories, automobiles, agriculture, landfills, and chemicals.

“Abusing the use of short-lived climate pollutants represent one of the many problems of our society today, that is we only think of short-term use and not long-term use,” said Senator Smith (D-Middlesex/Somerset).  “We have a real opportunity to change this culture and make sure we reduce and hopefully completely eliminate the use of short-lived climate pollutants.  In order for us to mitigate the current effects of climate change that we are now witnessing, these drastic changes will have to be implemented quickly and thoroughly.”

“We are running out of time to eliminate harmful greenhouse gases. We have dragged our feet for too long and this new law is what we need to prevent the worst effects of climate change,” said Senator Greenstein (D-Middlesex/Mercer). “The DEP will work hard to create an aggressive timeframe for the elimination of these greenhouse gases.”

“The federal government is betraying the health, safety and future of our country by rolling back regulations on greenhouse gas emissions. That just means New Jersey and many other states will have to work twice as hard, and I think we can rise to the occasion,” said Senator Codey (D-Essex/Morris). “By following standards set by the Obama administration, we can help take the lead to curb dangerous greenhouse gas emissions here in New Jersey, while also pushing neighboring states to strengthen their enforcement as well.”

The new law will also require the state to develop a comprehensive strategy to reduce emissions in the state of short-lived climate pollutants, such as black carbon, fluorinated gases, and methane.

Within 18 months, the DEP will be required to adopt rules and regulations establishing a greenhouse gas emissions monitoring and reporting program.  Additionally, the DEP will be required to prepare a report on the status of the greenhouse gas emissions monitoring and reporting program, the current level of greenhouse gas emissions in the state, and the progress made toward compliance with the goals established in the GWRA.  The new law will require the DEP to prepare a report recommending additional measures necessary to achieve the reduced greenhouse gas emissions goal for 2050.