New Jersey, considered one of the top at-risk states for sea level rise flooding, is the first state to consider legislation that would force builder to include information about how their projects would impact climate change and be impacted by sea level rise when they’re seeking building permits.
This week, Gov. Phil Murphy announced the permitting requirement was included in New Jersey’s Energy Master Plan. The state is shooting for 100 percent clean energy by the middle of this century. One of the ways to achieve this is by requiring builders to declare how much greenhouse gas emissions their projects will emit. In addition, the state wants them to state clearly how climate change will impact their projects. In coastal areas, that will mean studying how sea level rise flooding could affect a project.
“For New Jersey to step to the forefront and say, ‘We’re going to look at future climate impacts, and that it’s going to be a driver of our decision-making’ — that’s exactly what all 50 states need to be doing,” Rob Moore, an official with the Natural Resources Defense Council, told the New York Times.
Governor Murphy tweeted that the goal of the Energy Master Plan is to: “Drive a world-leading innovation economy; Ensure environmental justice for all residents; Create good-paying jobs; Protect our ecosystems; Improve public health, and; Lead the way in the global clean energy transition.”
Scientists predict that New Jersey will see up to two feet of sea level rise by 2050. This will create enormous problems for the state, which has 130 miles of vulnerable coastline.
Some environmental groups complain that the plan isn’t firm enough in blocking new fossil fuel-related projects. Business groups are concerned about the potential cost their members will face due to the new requirements.