Global Warming Not an Act: Governor Murphy Directs NJDEP to Reduce Black Carbon

Friday, July 19, 2019

Clean Water Action State Director, Amy Goldsmith, released the following statement this morning in response to Governor Murphy signing S3207 / A4821 (Smith/Vainieri Huttle) late yesterday to amend the 2007 Global Warming Response Act. In signing the bill, the governor further directed NJDEP to reduce emissions of short-lived, yet deadly and potent, climate pollutants such as black carbon, which was removed from the bill during the legislative process, "to provide short-term air quality benefits while also reducing climate warming pollutants (GOVERNOR’S STATEMENT UPON SIGNING SENATE BILL NO. 3207).

"Black carbon aka soot or particulates is a killer, in the immediate term causing a multitude of respiratory and cardiac problems and in the long term as a major contributor to the climate crisis. Even though black carbon doesn't last very long in the atmosphere, its effects are more immediate and potent than CO2. Kudos to the Governor for taking action on this pollutant when the legislative process did not.

This action comes in the midst of revising the state's Energy Master Plan (EMP). As last Wednesday's first hearing on the Draft 2019 EMP overwhelmingly demonstrated, the stakes to the economy, environmental justice, pubic health and the climate crisis cannot be overstated.

The draft EMP shows promise but has loopholes and lacks specifics. The final EMP must front load solutions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 45% by 2030 with annual, meaningful, enforceable targets to avert the climate crisis, protect private property and public health, prevent future climate and pollution harms in marginalized communities of color and low income residents, as well as promote good jobs and a green economy.

While the final EMP won't be ready for 5 months and the black carbon directive is a good step in the right direction, the Murphy Administration has several decisions to make over the next few weeks that will further clarify the direction it is headed including whether or not to:

1) Begin the process to determine how to regulate greenhouse gases now rather than wait 6 months to begin a process to determine if to regulate, which is all the draft EMP calls for;

2) Veto/CV the food waste bill (S1206), as burning and burying is not recycling, is not clean energy and exacerbates the climate crisis;

3) Announce more hearing dates and locations on the draft EMP;

4) Strengthen implementation of S3207 (regular meaningful benchmarks before 2050 especially before 2030, prioritize reductions in environmental justice communities, beating deadlines); and

5) Take action on any regulatory or judicial matters concerning pending or under construction fossil fuel expansion projects."