What Comes Next?
The March for Science on April 22, 2017 is only the first step. The problems facing our nation and our world are bigger than any one person, any one political party, or any single law. Likewise, the assault on the public support for science has been ongoing for many years, and cannot be reversed by a single day.
with sustained effort we can solve our collective problems
Action: A Climate Change Plan for New Jersey
New Jersey is the only state on the eastern seaboard without a comprehensive, state-wide climate change strategy.
As our first ACTION, the New Jersey March for Science is asking you to make a state climate change plan a priority. We are asking you to contact your elected state officials to demand a state-wide plan of action to mitigate, adapt, and where possible Eliminate to the effects of climate change our state will be facing in the coming years.
We are asking you to contact your state elected officials and ask that they take steps to implement the suggestions from the climate change preparedness study. Calling your elected officials directly is most effective, and we encourage you to speak in your own words about why you consider this important. However, we provide a sample script below. As New Jersey looks towards our gubernatorial election in the coming year, we ask you to consider the candidate's stance on climate change preparedness.
Find your New Jersey state representatives here, and let them know this is important to you.
Like everywhere else in the world, New Jersey is facing rising temperatures and waters due to global climate change. However, New Jersey is likely to see these impacts earlier and more severely than other places in the United States:
- In the last 100 years, the average temperature in New Jersey has increased by 3.05 degrees F. Globally, the average temperature has increased by 1.5 F in the same amount of time [citation].
- 95% of the New Jersey population lives in urban areas; which are particularly vulnerable to heat waves due to the urban "heat island" effect.
- New Jersey has a $1 billion farming industry, which will be at risk from increased heat and invasive insect species [citation]. Higher ocean acidity threatens clams and scallops, farmed in New Jersey [citation].
- New Jersey is facing 1.5-2.5 feet of sea-level rise by 2050 and 2.5-6 feet by 2100 [citation]. This is much higher than the global average: expected to be 0.6-1.1 feet by 2050 and 1.7-3.2 feet by 2100 [citation].
- The amount of land in New Jersey threatened by flooding will increase by 7% in 2050, and 14% in 2100. This will threaten 1 million people, and $175 billion in property. [citation].
- Hotter waters power storms and hurricanes, making them more damaging. Though the jury is still out as to whether storms today are more powerful due to global warming, in the coming years, climate change is expected to increase the severity of major storms [citation] and [citation].
Current southern New Jersey Coastline, and after 6 feet of sea-level rise [source].
New Jersey faces unique risks and threats from climate change. However, the state has no single plan for how we will face these risks. Compared to our neighboring states (see New York's state strategy here, and a comparison of New Jersey's climate change preparedness to that of neighboring states here.). New Jersey has not developed a state-wide comprehensive plan to prevent, mitigate, or adapt to the changing climate we are facing
Existing Plans in New Jersey
Some state-wide planning for climate-change adaptation exists [citation]. Rutgers University has formed the New Jersey Climate Adaptation Alliance, which studies climate change preparedness plans for the state of New Jersey. Resources from the Recovery and Rebuilding Act after Superstorm Sandy are also being used to mitigate future effects of powerful storms [citation].
In 2007, New Jersey passed the New Jersey Global Warming Response Act, which mandates a reduction of greenhouse gas emissions in the state back to 1990-levels by 2020, and an 80% reduction of the 2006 levels by 2050. Though the 2020 target was achieved in 2012, 8 years ahead of schedule, our ability to meet the 2050 target may require more active measures [citation]. In 2011, New Jersey withdrew from the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative [citation,citation], designed to limit CO2 emissions from power plants.
What do we need?
In 2014, the New Jersey Climate Adaptation Alliance published a study of the necessary actions to prepare New Jersey for climate change [citation]. The document's suggestions are paraphrased here:
- Directly integrate science-based standards into the state's climate change planning.
Develop state-wide standards to identify those people, places, and resources most at risk due to climate change.
Integrate climate change preparedness with existing governmental agencies and community organizations.
Develop new techniques to ensure stable, long-term funding for climate change adaptation.
Promote education about climate change in the state.
Continue to fund and study climate change preparedness.
Contacting your Elected Officals
How to contact your state officials:
In New Jersey, you are represented in our State Legislature by one State Senator and two members of the State Assembly.
How to Contact Your Federal Officials:
New Jersey is represented in the United States Senate by Senators Cory Booker and Bob Menendez.
You also have a Congressmember in the US House of Representatives, one of the twelve in our Congressional Delegation. You can find who your representative is via the US House website, or through one of a number of 3rd party websites and apps.