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Release Date: Mon, 24 Apr 2000

New Jersey Sets Greenhouse Gas Reduction Target

At a news conference in Trenton, New Jersey, on April 17, 2000, State Environmental Protection Commissioner Robert Shinn unveiled the state's plan to reduce greenhouse gas (ghg) emissions. Although numerous other states have completed greenhouse gas action plans, New Jersey is the first to commit voluntarily to a specific reduction. The plan calls for New Jersey to reduce its annual ghg emissions by 20 million tons to 131 million tons by 2005, a 3.5 percent reduction from 1990 levels. Business-as-usual forecasts estimate ghg emissions of 151 million tons in 2005.

New Jersey has a large stake in tackling climate change. "When it comes to sea level rise we have more to deal with than many other states," Commissioner Shinn said. Two-thirds of the state is affected by tidal influences. Coastal flooding could have a negative impact on the state's tourism industry, ecosystems, residential communities, and natural resources. Warmer temperatures could exacerbate the state's existing air quality problems.

The ghg reduction plan is a mix of voluntary actions and state initiatives. Approximately a third of the cuts will be achieved through energy efficiency initiatives in residential, commercial, and industrial buildings. Another third will be from innovative technologies such as renewable power. he remaining reductions will come from transportation efficiency, waste management, and resource conservation. Specific examples include: enhanced vehicle maintenance, commercial lighting upgrades, increased recycling, tree planting, greater use of mass transit and alternative fuel vehicles, and use of energy-efficient residential appliances.

Supporters from both the business and environmental communities were at the news conference to express their approval of the plan along with representatives from state and federal government. Governor Christie Whitman has made ghg reduction a goal of her Sustainable State Project and has earmarked $320,000 of the proposed FY 2001 budget to initiate activities. "I want to commend those who are committed to taking steps to assure the sustainability of our coastal and flood-prone areas, and make this state a better place to live, work, and raise a family," Whitman said.

A number of businesses, environmental groups, and state agencies were recognized for their achievements in reducing ghg emissions, including: Cosmair, Inc., Philips Lighting Co., Johnson & Johnson, The Naval Air Engineering Station of Lakehurst, DuPont Chambers Works, PSE&G, Schering-Plough Corporation, Lucent Technologies Inc., GPU Energy, The Nature Conservancy, the Natural Resources Defense Council, the Environmental Defense Fund and the New Jersey Departments of Transportation and Community Affairs. Commissioner Shinn also announced the Silver and Gold Track Programs for Environmental Excellence. These programs give permit applicants incentives to reduce their ghg emissions and pollution as well as achieve other environmental goals.

The full press release is available on the NJDEP website at The action plan is posted on EPA's global warming website at:

To learn more about climate change, check out EPA's website at The site has a wealth of information on the climate system; greenhouse gas emissions; impacts of climate change; and actions that can be taken at the national, state, local, business, and individual levels.

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