New Report Examines Policy Options for Cutting Carbon Emissions in New Jersey

September 21, 2017

A new report released by the Georgetown Climate Center, Rutgers, and World Resources Institute underscores that significant state actions will be necessary for New Jersey to meet its long-term target of reducing carbon emissions by 80 percent by 2050, and finds that New Jersey has many options to do so.

The study details dozens of policy options for consideration by New Jersey policymakers, stakeholders, and a new governor who will be elected in November 2017. It also recognizes the existing climate and energy policies that have helped the state move in the right direction.

An Examination of Policy Options for Achieving Greenhouse Gas Emissions Reductions in New Jersey surveys emissions and energy trends, describes a “deep decarbonization pathway” for the state, and identifies the types of policies that would be necessary to achieve those reductions. Many of the policies address the power and transportation sectors, which account for more than 60 percent of total greenhouse gas emissions from New Jersey.  The report also includes options for improving building efficiency, reducing methane leaks from natural gas infrastructure, restoring natural carbon sinks in forests and wetlands, and incorporating equity considerations to address the needs of frontline populations.

The study also provides context regarding New Jersey’s existing climate and clean energy programs, surveys policy models that other leading states are using to cut emissions, and assesses what kinds of policies could be implemented with existing legal authorities in the Garden State. Based on the 2007 New Jersey Global Warming Response Act—which set statewide statutory limits on greenhouse gas emissions, including reducing greenhouse gas emissions 80 percent below 2006 levels by 2050—and other state law, New Jersey has broad authority to regulate air pollution and clear legislative objectives to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

The report was developed as a collaboration among researchers at the Georgetown Climate Center, Rutgers Climate Institute, Rutgers Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy, and World Resources Institute (WRI).