| Things to think about
New Jersey represents approximately 0.1 percent of the world’s
population, yet generates approximately 0.5 percent of the world’s
The longer we wait
to act to address global warming, the more difficult and costly
it will be. Prevention, as always, is the least expensive solution.
There are a number
of near term and very cost effective options for minimizing
and controlling GHG emissions. Examples include cars that get
more miles per gallon and compact fluorescent light bulbs that
save electricity, which are available now to help us save energy.
The majority of land
in our state is not very high above sea level. Most of South
Jersey is low-lying coastal plain.
Since we can now purchase
our electricity in the same way we purchase phone service, one
of the most important things we can do as individuals is buy
"green" power - that is, the electricity generated from renewable
sources and sources with the lowest environmental impacts.
warming is considered by many to be one of the most significant
environmental threats to the future of modern civilization.
Most of it is caused when gases released by human activities,
particularly burning oil, coal, and gas, accumulate in the atmosphere
and trap the sun’s heat - much the way the glass of a greenhouse
traps heat. Most climate scientists believe that as a result
of this warming of the earth, sea levels are going to rise;
weather patterns will shift; hurricanes, tropical pests, and
diseases will travel farther north; and differing rainfalls
will alter crop patterns. We in New Jersey are participants
in changing the climate of our state and of our world.
Unchecked climate change could
impose serious burdens on our economy. A rise in sea level that
inundates the shore could cause billions of dollars in property
damage. Changing rainfall patterns could cause major crop losses
and affect future drinking water supplies. New Jersey could
become more vulnerable to hurricanes, floods, new pests, and
diseases migrating north from tropical places. Reducing greenhouse
gas (GHG) emissions before the full effects are felt presents
economic challenges and opportunities.
If some predictions are correct,
global warming could trigger a wave of massive environmental
transformations, causing whole ecosystems to radically change
in an attempt to adapt to new conditions. This will lead to
invasions of exotic species that will displace native wildlife
and become carriers of new diseases. Species extinction may
result and entire habitats could disappear forever. The full
consequences of such upheaval are unknown.
It is only through
cooperation, from the local to the international level, that
we can address this problem. The United States is the largest
greenhouse gas emitter in the world. Other countries have begun
to express significant anger toward our country because our
emissions cause problems with which they will have to deal.
A large majority
of scientists believe that global warming and climate change
is happening. However, we do not know how serious the effects
may be or what reductions in greenhouse emissions are necessary
to prevent global warming. These data are only estimates and
will vary from actual emissions.
Source: New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection