Warning: Parameter 1 to wp_default_scripts() expected to be a reference, value given in /services3/webpages/k/a/kayakmedia.com/public/wp-includes/plugin.php on line 579

Warning: Parameter 1 to wp_default_styles() expected to be a reference, value given in /services3/webpages/k/a/kayakmedia.com/public/wp-includes/plugin.php on line 579
Welcome to Delicate template
Header
Just another WordPress site
Header

Check out this new two-page fact sheet on NJ and climate change: Understanding New Jersey’s Vulnerability to Climate Change.

It puts all the most important scientific facts in one easy-to-read piece about the three biggest climate change threats facing our state.

This useful tool was developed by the Rutgers Climate Institute and the Georgetown Climate Center. You can share it with your local town council, environmental commission, and school science teams. Use it to write letters to your local papers, or to back up a discussion with a friend.

It’s important to remember that Global Climate change doesn’t cause any single, specific weather event like a hurricane or heat wave. But it does make weather events more likely to happen and more likely to be extreme when they do.

A simple way to think about it is that climate is your personality—who you are a person. And weather is your mood—how you feel on any particular day. If your personality changes, so do your moods.

In the case of our planet, the greenhouse gases that we’re dumping into the atmosphere are raising the earth’s temperature. In other words, we’re changing the earth’s personality. These changes from the generally consistent climate patterns we had for billions of years affect where, when and how weather happens. Those are the earth’s moods.

So here’s the deal: Climate change is making NJ stormier, floodier, and hotter.

1. Threats from Extreme Storms

“Power interruptions due to extreme weather, such as hurricanes, thunderstorms, and ice storms, are 10 times worse in New Jersey today than 20 years ago.”

“Heavy precipitation events in the Northeast have increased dramatically in the past two decades, occurring more than twice as often in recent year than during the past century.”

2. Threats from Rising Seas

“Scientists consider New Jersey a hotspot for sea-level rise, as waters along New Jersey’s coast are rising faster than the global average. Best estimates for sea-level rise along New Jersey’s coast show an increase of 10 inches by 2030 and by 1.5 feet by 2050.”

“Scientists are highly confident that future storms will have greater impacts because of rising sea levels. Storm surge combined with higher water levels will make severe coastal flooding more frequent in the future.”

3. Threats from Extreme Heat

“By mid-century, about 70 percent of summers in New Jersey will be warmer than the state’s warmest summer on record.”

“This extremely hot weather will increase health risks for the elderly and young children, stress rail lines and major roadways, and pose threats to agriculture.”

So now that we know—what are we going to do about it? That’s exactly what lots of people around the state are working on.

This accessible guide gives citizens, planners and policy makers another tool to make better decisions about how our state should spend money and resources.

We don’t have time to waste debating about whether climate science is 100% for-sure or merely 97% sure. It’s time to take action on the family, local, county and state levels.

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.)

Chris Sturm from New Jersey Future wrote a great Sept. 23, 2013 article for NJ Spotlight where she laid out what NJ is missing and what our neighbors are doing to plan for Climate Change.

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” document with NYC recommendations for rebuilding post-Sandy and strengthening infrastructure and building citywide.

2. Look at Connecticut’s Climate Preparedness Plan. Just last week, Governor Malloy stood front-and-center at the ribbon-cutting for a new world-class climate resiliency institute.

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.

4. Here’s Maryland’s state climate change plan. On Jan. 31, the state issued new guidelines for state construction in areas vulnerable to coastal flooding and sea level rise.

5. And finally, Massachusetts’ Gov. Deval Patrick announced Jan 14 that the state is adding $50 million to its already robust statewide climate change planning efforts.

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?

I wrote back in May that the NJ Climate Change Adaptation Alliance has stepped up to fill the leadership and coordination role that I feel the Governor and the NJDEP should be doing.

This alliance of NJ-focused planning, development, and conservation groups are working together to create a climate change adaptation plan for New Jersey.

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?

I can’t.

So check out these links and then tell your local and state legislators to get us stronger than the next storm.