The information below summarizes actions taken by New Jersey to adapt to the impacts of climate change. New Jersey has not adopted an official statewide adaptation plan, however, the state has undertaken other efforts to assess climate vulnerabilities and identify adaptation strategies, described here.

In 2009, during the administration of Governor Jon Corzine, the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) recommended that the state develop a statewide adaptation plan in a report titled, Meeting New Jersey's 2020 Greenhouse Gas Limit: New Jersey's Global Warming Response Act Recommendations Report. However, no formal plan has been developed and the Office of Climate Change and Energy within NJDEP was closed during the administration of Governor Chris Christie.

On October 29, 2019, New Jersey Governor Philip Murphy signed Executive Order No. 89, establishing new requirements aimed at building statewide and community resilience. These include: developing a Statewide Climate Change Resilience Strategy, which will include recommendations on actions and identification of financing mechanisms for mitigating and adapting to climate change impacts across communities, different sectors, and within executive departments and other governmental agencies; establishing a new Interagency Council on Climate Resilience, made of commissioners and agency heads (or their designees) from 16 state departments, responsible for coordinating efforts across departments; establishing a new Climate and Flood Resilience Program within the Department of Environmental Protection; developing a report every two years on the best available science regarding the anticipated effects of climate change in New Jersey; and, finally, directing the State Planning Commission to amend its regulations to incorporate climate change considerations into the requirements for the state to approve local development and redevelopment plans. The forthcoming Strategy must also include a Coastal Resilience Plan to focus specifically on long-term strategies for reducing physical, economic, and social vulnerabilities in coastal areas and building resilience of coastal communities. The Statewide Climate Change Resilience Strategy is to be submitted by September 1, 2020 and reviewed and updated as needed every two years.

On January 27, 2020, Governor Murphy signed Executive Order No. 100Among other mitigation requirements, Executive Order No. 100 directs the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection to make regulatory reforms for permitting development or construction at risk of climate change impacts. Specifically, the state must work to integrate climate change considerations, such as sea-level rise, into its regulatory and permitting programs, including but not limited to, land use permitting, water supply, stormwater and wastewater permitting and planning, air quality, and solid waste and site remediation permitting.

This page will be updated in the future as the various actions under Executive Orders No. 89 and 100 are implemented.

State Agency Guidance

NJDEP remains active in climate adaptation planning. As of December 2017, NJDEP partnered with the National Wildlife Federation to publish the guide, Building Ecological Solutions to Coastal Community Hazards – A Guide for New Jersey Coastal Communities. This guide describes ecological solutions for New Jersey coastal communities to prepare for and adapt to climate hazards.   

The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey (PANYNJ) is a bi-state agency that builds, operates, and maintains infrastructure critical to the New York/New Jersey region's trade and transportation network, including airports, marine terminals and ports, six tunnels and bridges between New York and New Jersey, and the World Trade Center. PANYNJ published regulatory guidelines in 2011 that provide specific sustainable design standards for transportation infrastructure and include consideration of climate change projections in project design evaluations. The state is also home to a number of the winning projects selected as part of the Rebuild by Design competition, including the New Meadowlands and Hudson River Project, in Hoboken, New Jersey discussed in a report by the Georgetown Climate Center. In 2015, PANYNJ produced Climate Resilience Design Guidelines to ensure that new agency infrastructure and buildings are designed to account for projected changes in temperature, precipitation, and sea level. The New Jersey Transit Authority has also implemented numerous resilience projects in rebuilding efforts after recent storm events, including: an assessment of the the resilience of the New Jersey Transit system and implementation of the TransitGrid project to use microgrids to ensure that the PATH rail system can continue to operate during grid outages.

Public-Private Partnerships Supporting Adaptation

State agencies have also been pursuing adaptation initiatives in coordination with universities and nonprofits through a number of innovative public-private partnerships promoting adaptation at the state level.

In November 2011, NJDEP joined the nonprofit Sustainable Jersey to form a Climate Adaptation Task Force. The Task Force initially developed two educational tools including a glossary of climate-related terminology, and a New Jersey-specific climate trends and projections document. In February 2014, Sustainable Jersey launched the New Jersey Resiliency Network, a program that helps communities access technical and financial resources to address long-term recovery and resiliency issues for post-Sandy municipalities in New Jersey. Sustainable Jersey continues to support local communities through its Small Grants Program. As of 2017, this program has funded over $2 million in grants to municipalities for community-based sustainability projects in New Jersey.

The New Jersey Climate Adaptation Alliance is an active network of more than 30 nonprofit, government, academic, and business organizations working to build climate change preparedness capacity in New Jersey, and is facilitated by Rutgers University.  The Alliance has produced numerous reports that document climate impacts to various sectors, report on stakeholder engagement, highlight funding and financing mechanisms, and that have provided the basis for numerous policy recommendations. A June 2014 report from the Alliance, Resilience. Preparing New Jersey for Climate Change: Policy Considerations from the New Jersey Climate Adaptation Alliance, recommends a number of strategies to integrate climate impacts into state decisionmaking. In December 2017, the Alliance published a New Jersey Climate and Health Profile Report, assessing potential public health impacts from climate change and identifying vulnerable populations within the state. Rutgers also hosts the NJADAPT tool, which provides a repository for climate data and provides a flood mapping tool and online self-assessment to help communities increase preparedness. The tool also includes a climate adaptation directory that brings together geographic data, tools, reports, model policies and ordinances, and case studies. The Georgetown Climate Center worked with Rutgers University to publish fact sheets, Understanding New Jersey’s Vulnerability to Climate Change, to assist decisionmakers, scientists, and reporters in communicating about climate change in New Jersey.  

Renewed Support for Climate Action at the State Level

In February 2018, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy signed legislation adding New Jersey as a member of the U.S. Climate Alliance pledging a commitment to advance the goals of the Paris Agreement.

 

New Jersey's adaptation planning is underway and is being spearheaded by academic and nonprofit leaders with the involvement of state and federal officials. Other resources from the Adaptation Clearinghouse, which have been developed to help New Jersey prepare for climate change, are featured in the chart below.

The Georgetown Climate Center’s State Adaptation Progress Tracker, which tracks the progress states are making in preparing for the impacts of climate change, was supported by the MacArthur Foundation.

 

(Research last updated: July 20, 2020).

 
 
 

State Law and Policy

Resource Name Resource Type Date
New Jersey SB2607: Requiring land use plan element of municipal master plan to include climate change-related hazard vulnerability assessment Law and Governance February 4, 2021
New Jersey EO 100: Protecting Against Climate Threats (PACT); land use regulations and permitting Law and Governance January 27, 2020
New Jersey Executive Order 89 Establishing Statewide Climate Change Resilience Strategy Law and Governance October 29, 2019
New Jersey S2815: Drinking water, wastewater infrastructure resiliency program; NJ Environmental Infrastructure Trust (NJEIT) Law and Governance August 8, 2013

State Agency Plans

Resource Name Sector(s) Covered Date
Building Ecological Solutions to Coastal Community Hazards – A Guide for New Jersey Coastal Communities Coastal, Land management and conservation, Land use and built environment December 13, 2017
New Jersey Energy Master Plan - Update Energy December 2015
The Garden State in the Greenhouse - Climate Change Mitigation and Coastal Adaptation Strategies for New Jersey Coastal, Emergency preparedness, Energy, Land use and built environment, Tourism and recreation, Transportation January 2007

Local and Regional Plans

Resource Name Date
South Ironbound Resiliency Action Plan - Newark, New Jersey August 26, 2015
Hoboken, New Jersey Green Infrastructure Strategic Plan October 2013

More Featured Resources

Resource Name Resource Category Date
New Jersey SB2607: Requiring land use plan element of municipal master plan to include climate change-related hazard vulnerability assessment Law and Governance February 4, 2021
Port Authority of New York and New Jersey (PANYNJ) Engineering Department Manual - Climate Resilience Design Guidelines Law and Governance January 22, 2015
Resilience. Preparing New Jersey for Climate Change: Policy Considerations from the NJ Climate Adaptation Alliance Planning June 2014
New Jersey Resiliency Network Solutions February 2014
Resilience of New Jersey Transit (NJ TRANSIT) Assets to Climate Impacts Assessments June 2012
The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey (PANYNJ) Sustainable Infrastructure Guidelines, Appendix 2: Climate Change Projections Law and Governance March 23, 2011
Port Authority of New York and New Jersey Sustainable Infrastructure Guidelines Law and Governance March 23, 2011
 

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