New Jersey doesn’t have a statewide plan for keeping our people safe, our economy strong, and our businesses thriving when the next Sandy hits.
Every state around us does, or at least is far ahead of us. There’s boatloads of good work going on in our towns and counties, but nothing on the coordinated, resource-efficient State level.
Why not? I’d like to ask personally Governor Christie about the role that climate change plays in our hot summers, destructive storms, and rising sea levels. (I believe he’s a smart man and knows perfectly well the risks facing our state.)
As an update, here’s the latest ways that our neighbors are pulling way ahead of New Jersey to be ready for the next big storm.
1. In New York on Jan. 7, Gov. Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced a $17 billion climate change resiliency strategy to keep the state’s citizens safe from future Sandy-scale events. It’s called “Reimagining New York for a New Reality.”
Last June, Mayor Bloomberg announced the “A Stronger, More Resilient New York” plan with NYC recommendations for rebuilding post-Sandy and strengthening infrastructure and building citywide.
3. Low-lying Delaware’s Gov. Markell knows that his state is vulnerable to climate change and that it’s a state priority right now. In December, Markell attended the inaugural meeting of the White House Task Force on Climate Preparedness as a Presidential appointee.
Right now, in New Jersey we’ve got Bridgegate and the governor’s baffling pocket veto last week of a sensible law that would let the public know about raw sewage discharges into public waterways. (A law, by the way, that New York has had on the books since 2012.)
In the cold comfort category, at least we have Pennsylvania for company. Our neighbor to the west has a new climate action plan that doesn’t include specific targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
So who’s filling the state leadership gap?
This alliance of NJ-focused planning, development, and conservation groups are working together to create a climate change adaptation plan for New Jersey.
There's also the Sierra Club, that in late January asked the state to establish binding mandates to reduce electric and gas consumption by utility customers. This is another place where we lag behind our neighbors.
And on the citizen side, we can count on the good work being done by Citizens Climate Lobby to give our legislators support for reducing carbon emissions.
Also worth mentioning is North Jersey Public Policy Network that has a terrific spring lecture program lined up.
(Yale’s Geoffrey Feinberg speaks Feb. 20 on climate change communications.)
I care about our state, and want our state leaders to take the actions needed to prove they do too.
Can you think of any sane reason that our neighbors should be kicking our butts on climate action?
So check out these links and then tell your local and state legislators to get us stronger than the next storm.