New Jersey, Georgia, Delaware

by William Yeatman on July 8, 2008

New Jersey has missed its first major commitment under the Global Warming Response Act of 2007, which calls for the State to reduce its carbon dioxide emissions 20% by 2020 and 80% by 2050. The law stipulates that the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection craft a preliminary plan to achieve its 2020 target “no later than June 30, 2008,” but no climate change mitigation strategy has yet been issued. Elaine Makatura, a DEP spokeswoman, said that "it has only been delayed by a couple of months."


In Georgia, Judge Thelma Wyatt Cummings Moore overturned the ruling of an administrative court approving the Georgia Environmental Protection Division's decision to issue an air pollution permit for a planned coal fired power plant in Early County. While praising the ruling, Patty Durand, director of the Georgia Chapter of the Sierra Club, said that Georgians "can find other ways to produce cleaner, more economically beneficial energy." But Ms. Durand’s Sierra Club opposes carbon-free nuclear energy and hydropower. It is also against expanded drilling for natural gas, which emits roughly half the carbon dioxide of coal. Moreover, wind power doesn’t work in Georgia; According to the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, Georgia has one of the lowest potentials for wind power of any State in America. Georgia could turn to solar, but at 30 cents a kilowatt hour, it’s almost 5 times more expensive than the electricity that Georgians buy now.


Delaware Governor Gov. Ruth Ann Minner (D) signed S.B. 263, a bill that makes the State a party to the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, a multi-state cap-and-trade climate change program in the Northeast. Experts say that RGGI is guaranteed to raise utility bills. However, they are not sure if it will decrease emissions, because it only applies to a portion of electricity generating units in the region. As a result, demand is likely to increase for electricity from unregulated, cheaper, more carbon-intensive wholesale sellers of power, a phenomenon known as “emissions leakage.”

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