Demonstrating the Murphy Administration’s commitment to addressing climate change, the Department of Environmental Protection is requesting that higher-education institutions share climate and sea-level rise research and data that will help the state as it moves forward with strengthening New Jersey’s global warming response and resilience strategies.
“We are very fortunate to have distinguished colleges and universities that have been actively researching and collecting data on climate change and sea-level rise, looking not only at environmental impacts but on how this is affecting our communities and the economy,” said Commissioner Catherine R. McCabe. “Much of this research has been focused on New Jersey and will prove invaluable as we develop a comprehensive and coordinated strategy for addressing climate change and making the state more resilient to storms and flooding.”
The storehouse of research amassed by academic institutions can help the DEP affirm or modify existing efforts and/or initiate new programs.
The DEP has made responding to climate change one of its key priorities, establishing three overarching goals to drive strategy and policy development:
- Engaging in a robust public dialogue about the impacts of climate change;
- Reducing greenhouse gas emissions to achieve the state’s clean energy goals and the 2050 greenhouse gas limits established by the New Jersey Global Warming Response Act;
- Making coastal and other flood-prone areas more resilient to better protect lives, property, infrastructure and ecosystems.
It is important to note that the DEP is not requesting academic institutions to launch new research projects. Rather, this is an opportunity for the DEP to inventory existing research and spur dialogue and research-sharing with higher-education institutions.
New Jersey’s higher education institutions are asked to submit research either completed within the last five years or due to be completed by the end of this year related to climate mitigation and adaptation/resiliency. Research should be shared no later than Sept. 30. For more details on the kinds of research the DEP is looking for and how to submit, visit www.nj.gov/dep/climatechange/njclimatedataask.html
New Jersey is particularly vulnerable to effects of climate change, such as flooding and severe storms, due to its low-lying topography and geology that includes land areas that are naturally subsiding, or sinking, over time.
While scientists agree that global warming is largely attributable to human activities, projections regarding how much sea level will rise can vary greatly. Moreover, predictions can become even more difficult depending on how quickly and aggressively nations respond.
Governor Murphy takes the threat very seriously. Under his leadership, New Jersey has reentered the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative and joined the U.S. Climate Alliance, comprised of states committed to upholding the United Nations’ Paris Climate Accord.
The Administration is also committed to a future of clean energy, with a focus on reducing air emissions in environmental justice communities that have disproportionately suffered from air pollution.
As part of its efforts, the DEP recently formed a new Climate and Flood Resilience Program to implement a strategic vision to better prepare the state for the impacts of global warming.
For more information on climate change, including an explanation of the science behind global warming, key state initiatives, climate data, and steps residents and business can take to make a difference, visit www.nj.gov/dep/climatechange/