Smith Bill to Establish Timeframe for DEP to Create a Strategy to Reduce Short-Lived Climate Pollutants

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TRENTON Legislation sponsored by Senate Environment and Energy Committee Chair Bob Smith would 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 cleared the Senate Environment and Energy Committee today.

According to the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions, the main short-lived climate pollutants are black carbon, methane, tropospheric ozone and fluorinated gases.  Currently, fluorinated gases (HFC’s, perfluorocarbons (PFC’s), SF6 and NF3) account for 3% of domestic greenhouse gas emissions in terms of carbon dioxide equivalency.  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.

“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, we need to make drastic changes.”

The bill, S-3207, would 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 after the date of enactment of the bill, the DEP would be required to adopt rules and regulations establishing a greenhouse gas emissions monitoring and reporting program.  Additionally, within 18 months after the date of enactment, and biennially thereafter, the DEP would 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.  Finally, within one year after the date of enactment, the bill would require the DEP to prepare a report recommending additional measures necessary to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to achieve the 2050 goal.

The bill was released from committee by a vote of 4-0.