JC Government Initiatives
Jersey City has made a commitment to address the global climate crisis. In 2015, the Jersey City Council passed a resolution that will help fight climate change, and in 2017, a resolution to reaffirm the Paris Climate Agreement was passed. Mayor Steven M. Fulop has done his part to engage with these initiatives as well. In 2017, Mayor Fulop joined the “Mayors for Climate” coalition, and in 2018, he signed a letter of commitment officially adding Jersey City to the Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate & Energy. Jersey City has committed to an aggressive plan of action addressing the climate crisis in order to improve the quality of living for its citizens and to engage as a global citizen.
- Resolution 15-485 to Fight Climate Change (2015)
Because New Jersey families and businesses are becoming increasingly vulnerable to severe storm surges and rising sea-levels, Jersey City is dedicated to taking the steps necessary to reduce carbon pollution and greenhouse gas emissions within its borders. To achieve this, the city has developed the following initiatives: A bike-sharing program, job-training programs centered around retrofits and solar installation, joining the NJ Board of Public Utilities “Direct Install” program (implementing energy conservation measures (ECMs) in City owned buildings), constructing LEED Certified buildings, and achieving sustainable Jersey City certification. The Governor and Legislature of New Jersey have a responsibility to address climate change by improving efficiency, addressing the cumulative impacts of industrialization, increasing production of clean energy, and promoting renewable installations in brownfield sites and landfills. The Municipal Council of Jersey City agreed that the city:
- Will audit its current greenhouse gas emissions within one year.
- Commit to increasing the use of renewable energy by 80% community-wide by 2050.
- Reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 80% community-wide by 2050.
- Will set a goal of purchasing or producing at least 50% of its energy from renewable sources by the year 2025.
- Will work to incentivize the use of renewable energy purchases for City residents and businesses.
- Will work to incentivize the installation of solar technology by easing the permitting process.
- Will install renewable energy in City facilities.
- Will commit to broad energy efficiency goals that prioritize reducing building energy use by updating the municipal code to promote sustainable construction.
- Will continue to address climate change, ensure continued economic security, improve public health, and enhance public safety.
- Resolution 17-517 Reaffirming the Paris Climate Agreement (2017)
Jersey City has agreed that there is scientific proof that human activity, especially in regards to the use of fossil fuels that create greenhouse gases, is an important driver to climate change. Climate change is widely recognized by the government, businesses, and leaders of the city. It poses a threat to our economy, safety, public health, and quality of life, not only locally but worldwide. In 2015, world leaders met to develop and commit to a comprehensive plan that will address the threats of climate change in hopes to increase energy efficiency and resilience. Jersey City is in the process of adding a resiliency element, adaption element, and green infrastructure element to the city’s initial environment rehabilitation master plan.
In 2017, President Donal Trump announced that the United States would withdraw from the Paris Agreement (an agreement within the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change). However, Jersey City is still committed to taking action to reduce environmental pollution. The city joined the Compact of Mayors organization and completed an inventory of the City’s climate emissions, establishing aggressive municipal and city wide GHG-emissions reduction goals, and creating an action plan for implementation. The city continues to support the principles of the Paris Agreement, and will continue to stand with other cities to work towards the goals outlined in the agreement.
- CAP Task Force
The Climate Action Plan (CAP) is a detailed and strategic framework for measuring, planning, and reducing greenhouse gas emissions and related climatic threats. The goal of CAP is to develop and implement guides for Jersey City’s highest priority climate actions. It will bring together city leaders, experts, community members, and experts to ensure community engagement and contribution to a plan that is convenient and accessible.
- Ordinance 18-065
The Jersey City Municipal Council has agreed that single-use check out bags creates a significant litter problem in Jersey City’s neighborhoods, parks, sewer systems, and rivers. Single-use bag production and disposal has a significant environmental impact that impedes the city’s environmental goals, depletes natural resources, increases clean-up and disposal cost, and perpetuates the use of non-renewable polluting fossil fuels. The reduction in bag use will help protect marine environments, push solid waste reduction, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and keep the waterways clean. If customers do not come with their own reusable bag, all establishments must provide reusable bags that have a minimum lifetime capability of 125 or more uses or recyclable paper bags.
- Jersey City Public School Sustainability Challenge
Jersey City Public schools are aiding in the fight for a green Jersey City by challenging STEAM students (Science, Technology, Engineering, the Arts, and Mathematics) to identify sustainability or resiliency related problems in their neighborhoods. Students will get the opportunity to collaborate with experts and present their solutions to the community. Together with the Jersey City Office of Sustainability, Jersey City Office of Cultural Affairs, Jersey City Economic Development Corporation, Jersey City Office of Innovation, and generous sponsors. Students will have the opportunity to dictate the environmental future of the city and themselves.
- Resilient Design
As Jersey CIty responds to the effects of stormwater and rising sea levels, it has become abundantly clear that the design of the city must be modified to increase resiliency. Major infrastructure investments will be necessary, but small changes can make a big difference as well, such as eco-friendly landscaping, the installation of green roofs, vegetation streetscapes, and other green solutions can significantly minimize flooding and other threats that might slow the city’s ability to bounce back. Besides improving water management, these small steps will improve air and water quality.
Jersey City lies within flood zones, so building within the city will need to withstand possible water inundation. This threat is significant and designs needed for protection are complex, but creative solutions are being researched and employed in order to maintain resident safety and protect businesses.
- Sustainable Neighborhood
The Year of Sustainable Neighborhoods is an effort to connect residents to initiatives that will foster sustainability on a small scale. The Office of Sustainability will attend meetings and host events to get resident feedback on what sustainable neighborhoods look like to them.
- Green Business
Jersey City’s Green Business certification program recognizes businesses that practice sustainability. This program allows businesses to earn points for environmentally-friendly practices such as: using energy efficient lighting, composting, donating to local causes, and bike rack accommodations. All Green Business Certification applicants are reviewed and approved by the Jersey City Environmental Commission. Read more and/or apply here: http://jcmakeitgreen.org/greenbusiness/
- Climate Action NJ A3723 (State of New Jersey)
The NJ A3723 bill will require the Board of Public Utilities to conduct an energy storage analysis, make changes to the solar renewable energy certificate program, adopt a “Community Solar Energy Pilot Program, and provide tax credits for offshore wind energy projects. The Department of Labor and Workforce Development will also establish job training programs for those who work in manufacturing and servicing of offshore wind energy equipment. There will be thorough analyses of energy storage that will assess and optimize processes for the betterment of our environment, as well as cataloging the energy storage needs of the state. This bill also makes modifications to the State’s solar renewable energy standards. The program will be redeveloped to provide cleaner energy sooner than initially projected. An energy efficiency program will also be instituted in order to reduce electricity usage, natural gas usage, and peak demand for electric and gas utilities.