Saturday, July 7, 2007

Great timing for New Jersey's global warming law

Supporters will tell you that New Jersey's new law pushing the
state toward a greater use of non-fossil energy production, like
solar and wind, is just-in-time legislation, considering the heel-
dragging in corporate-owned Washington. But the signing of the
"Global Warming Act" was also a brilliant example of public relations timing.

Governor Jon Corzine's PR team arranged to have the bill signed at a news conference in the Meadowlands where reporters from across the country were converging on Giant's Stadium to cover Live Earth, a series of worldwide concerts promoted by former Vice President Al Gore to spread word of "climate crisis."

Lest anyone fail to link the two events, the Corzine team invited Gore to attend the public signing. The resulting coverage gained New Jersey (and Corzine) international attention.

Here are just a few of the stories the event produced: Forbes, ABC News, Gannett, Reuters, Associated Press, Star-Ledger, The (Bergen) Record .

The new law calls for reducing greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by 2020--a 17 to 20 percent reduction, followed by a further reduction of emissions to 80 percent below 2006 levels by 2050. New Jersey is only the third state in the nation make greenhouse gas reduction goals law.

While the state's environmental-activist community worked hard to get the bill through the Legislataure, one group was issuing a post-enactmenet warning. Bill Wolfe, executive director of the watchdog group Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility, noted that state lawmakers last month removed mention of a program that would have required cuts at power plants and jettisoned plans for a fee on industry that would have paid for the state to monitor emissions.

"The goals are well and good, but there is no implementation, there is no regulatory program to meet the goals and there's no funding in place," Wolfe said.

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