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Vainieri Huttle, Pinkin and Kennedy Bill to Increase Robustness of New Jersey’s Global Warming Response Act Becomes Law

Measure Identifies Need to Reduce Short-Lived Climate Pollutants, Sets Benchmarks to Better Assess Progress on Reaching Environmental Objectives

As the complexity of addressing the world’s climate crisis grows, Assembly Democrats Valerie Vainieri Huttle, Nancy Pinkin and James Kennedy sponsored legislation to increase the robustness of New Jersey’s environmental protection strategies. The measure, given final passage by the full Assembly 65-9-1 on May 23, was signed into law by the Governor on Tuesday.

The new law (A-4821) amends the Global Warming Response Act to establish new timeframes and requirements. Specifically, the law now includes language concerning short-lived climate pollutants such as black carbon, fluorinated gases and methane, which are greenhouse gases less abundant but more potent than carbon dioxide.

“It is critical that our state laws adapt with science,” said Vainieri Huttle (D-Bergen). “Global warming and the science surrounding it is constantly evolving, we are always learning about new developments and discoveries. Short-lived climate pollutants, for example, have been found to have a greater warming effect than carbon dioxide despite their shorter lifespan in the atmosphere. Previously, New Jersey was not adequately factoring in the emission of these pollutants but under this new law, New Jersey’s response will be more strategic and conscientious.”

By calling for a more comprehensive strategy to reduce all types of greenhouse gas emissions and in requiring more interim benchmarks to assess progress, the new law also seeks to generate greater success in reaching the state’s environmental goals.

“We don’t just owe it to future generations to tackle this problem, we owe it to the people of our state, nation and the globe now – in the present,” said Pinkin (D-Middlesex) who chairs the Assembly Environment and Solid Waste Committee. “We’re facing a looming public health crisis, with air and water quality slowly declining because of emissions. Eventually work around solutions won’t be effective, so we need to get ahead of the problem while there’s still some time. Under this new law, we’ve given the Global Warming Response Act the longevity it needs to work.”

“With global warming becoming an increasingly serious threat, it is crucial that we’re continuously evaluating our progress on environmental objectives,” said Kennedy (D-Middlesex, Somerset, Union). “The emission goals defined under the 2020 limit and the 2050 limit are a step in the right direction, but to attain them we need measures that make New Jersey an accountable environmental sustainability partner. This new law will help us get there.”

The law, signed on July 23, 2019, is set to take immediate effect.