Breaking with Trump, N.J. buys into Paris Climate Accord

Source: By Michael Sol Warren, NJ.Com • Posted: Monday, February 26, 2018

President Donald Trump may not think much of the Paris Climate Accord, but that’s not stopping New Jersey.

Gov. Phil Murphy on Wednesday signed a bill into law that will require the Garden State to join the U.S. Climate Alliance, a coalition of states dedicated to cutting their carbon emissions and upholding the international agreement.

With Murphy in charge, N.J. is looking to uphold Paris Accord

The bill (S598) was passed by the state Senate on Feb. 1 and then passed by the state Assembly last Thursday.

Murphy’s office and the U.S. Climate Alliance did not immediately respond to requests for comment about the bill signing.

“I think it’s an important step forward in allowing New Jersey to join other states and other nations in supporting the Paris Climate Accords,” Jeff Tittel, the New Jersey director of environmental group the Sierra Club, said. Tittel noted that New Jersey is already implementing policies that will help reach the Paris Accord’s goal, thanks to the state Global Warming Response Act that was signed by Governor Jon Corzine in 2007.

The Paris Climate Accord is an international agreement that was signed by 196 nations in 2016. President Trump removed the United States from the pact last summer. The U.S. Climate Alliance was created immediately after, in response to Trump’s action.

The U.S. Climate Alliance is currently made up of 15 states and Puerto Rico. The coalition represents 40 percent of the U.S. population and a $7.4 trillion economy, according to the group. States that join the coalition commit to enacting policies that reduce greenhouse gas emissions by at least 26 percent below 2005 levels by 2025.

Climate change could have an impact on New Jersey, a low-lying state that is vulnerable to sea level rise. Some predictions say flooding on the level of Superstorm Sandy could become a regular occurrence after 2030. Studies show rising seas are beginning to eat away at coastal forests in the Pine Barrens.