NJSC Joins Green New Deal Town Hall
The New Jersey Sierra Club, along with SEIU, Sunrise Movement, Blue Wave and other groups, held a Green New Deal Town Hall in Newark today. Labor leaders, environmentalists and activists spoke about the bold plan to combat climate change and address inequality. They also discussed what a Green New Deal could mean for New Jersey. The Green New Deal calls for new projects to modernize U.S. transportation infrastructure, de-carbonize the manufacturing and agricultural sectors, make buildings and homes more energy efficient and increase land preservation. Jeff Tittel, Director of the New Jersey Sierra Club released the following statement:
“We are in a climate crisis. Climate change impacts are worse and happening faster. Every major scientific study tells us that. Oceans are warming 40 percent faster than previously believed. The IPCC study says we have until 2030 before reaching a tipping point when the worst impacts of climate change will be irreversible. That’s why we are here today supporting the Green New Deal, which will have us off carbon by then. In New Jersey we are seeing the climate impacts first hand. Sea levels are rising and flooding is increasing. Health impacts include rising rates of asthma and Lyme disease. Our state is also battling damaging fossil fuel projects like offshore drilling, natural gas powerplants, pipelines, and fracking. We are already 17 times more likely to experience another storm like Hurricane Sandy. In New Jersey 62,000 homes will soon be underwater. Zillow says 251,000 homes are at risk of tidal flooding. If we don’t do something, we will all need snorkels.
“Sea levels are rising and flooding is increasing. Health impacts include rising rates of asthma and Lyme disease. Our state is also battling damaging fossil fuel projects like offshore drilling, natural gas powerplants, pipelines, and fracking. We are already 17 times more likely to experience another storm like Hurricane Sandy. Our oceans are warming 40 percent faster than previously believed. In New Jersey 62,000 homes will soon be underwater. Zillow says 251,000 homes are at risk of tidal flooding. IF we don’t do something, we will all need snorkels. The IPCC has given us just 12 years before the worst climate impacts become irreversible.
“Enough is enough already. The Green New Deal resolution is the first comprehensive step towards creating policies and programs in place to reduce our climate impacts. We need to target the overburdened Environmental Justice communities who already see a disproportionate amount of pollution for reductions. We must make sure EJ communities receive the economic as well as the environmental benefits that will come with the Green New Deal.
“The Green New Deal will develop a green economy that produces more and better jobs. We already have 5 times more jobs in clean energy than in the fossil-fuel sector. As we grow green energy jobs, we need to make sure they are good union jobs with prevailing wages. For the workers who are impacted, we need a just transition for jobs and a green economy that includes job training, free education and good health benefits. The benefits of the Green New Deal must be shared by everyone.
“New Jersey needs to use renewable energy to create green jobs and a green economy. Offshore wind can be the engine that drives our state to reach Governor Murphy’s 100% clean energy goals. Offshore wind off our coast could feasibly power 1.2 million homes with clean energy. Building windmills in Atlantic County, and Cape May County in place of coal plants would provide clean energy, green jobs, and an overall economic boost.
“We have the demand for solar but we don’t have the program to meet that demand. Solar power provides more jobs than any other energy sector and is a cleaner and cheaper to use. We cannot lose those jobs. New Jersey should be doing more to strengthen and promote solar energy in our state. New Jersey has fallen behind other states when it comes to clean energy and clean energy jobs. If we don’t fix the problems with this cap within the next years, the solar market in NJ will collapse.
“Moving to renewable energy will reduce the greenhouse gases that fuel climate change. New Jersey’s biggest source of air pollution and GHG is from cars and trucks, but our state has been gridlocked when it comes to moving forward with electric vehicles. They are responsible for over 45% of our greenhouse gases in New Jersey, and our state continues to suffer from failing air quality. We have parts of New Jersey where people are choking on exhaust. We need to jumpstart electric by implementing a successful electric vehicle system in New Jersey will mean less money sent out of state for petroleum, more in-state jobs, less carbon pollution, and cleaner, healthier air.
“Electric vehicles would not only drive our economy forward, but would help create more jobs, save us money on gas and clean our air. We can electrify our ports, especially in urban areas, with electric buses to reduce air pollution in areas already highly affected. We can implement clean transportation programs so that our school children can ride in cleaner, quieter, and healthier school buses that are powered by electricity. This is especially important for children who live in urban areas already overburdened by air pollution. We need to offer opportunities for people to buy EVs of all communities, including those of modest means through rebates or ‘cash for clunkers’ programs. We need to target emission reductions in urban areas like Newark with the most pollution.
“In order for New Jersey to move forward with its own Green New Deal, Governor Murphy needs to put a moratorium on new fossil fuel projects. There are 8 proposed pipelines and 5 natural gas power plants that would not only increase this state’s GHG’s by 32%, but undermine Governor Murphy 100% renewable goals by 2050. That’s is why Governor Murphy needs to put a freeze on fossil fuel projects until DEP puts the programs and rules in place to achieve its clean energy goals.
“Instead of moving forward with Governor Murphy’s clean energy goals, the Murphy administration has undermined that by approving the 3 billion-dollar nuclear subsidy. This subsidy will determine New Jersey’s energy policy for a generation. We are concerned that it will prevent this state from moving forward with our 100% renewable goals by 2050. We will have to buy 40% from nuclear from now on and the subsidy will take money away from wind and solar.
“Improving solar and wind energy in the state would make our environment cleaner, fight climate change, and increase green jobs. However, we must stop fossil fuel projects to get to 100% renewable, and green economy, and protect public health. We need this because our families, our communities, and our future depend on it. New Jersey can achieve this by making their own Green New Deal. We need to move forward aggressively because the planet as we know it is at stake. WE ARE ONE ENVIRONMENT, ONE PEOPLE AND ONE PLANET.”