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Illinois, New Jersey Set Greenhouse Gas Reduction Goals

Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich announced a statewide goal yesterday to slash the production of heat-trapping greenhouse gases (to 1990 levels by 2020 and 60 percent below 1990 levels by 2050.  On the same day, New Jersey’s Governor Jon Corzine signed an Executive Order to adopt goals for the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions in New Jersey . That order calls for reducing greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by 2020, like Blagojevich’s plan, but calls for a reduction of emissions to 80 percent below 2006 levels by 2050.  

Blagojevich’s anouncement comes as the state’s Climate Change Advisory Group prepares to meet to address global climate change.  The Governor charged the advisory group with recommending strategies to meet these GHG reduction goals.  The advisory group, comprised of business leaders, labor unions, the energy and agricultural industries, scientists, and environmental and consumer groups from throughout the state, will meet over a six-month period to identify measures to cost-effectively reduce greenhouse gases.
 
“The impact of global warming in Illinois and around the globe could be devastating, and we can’t wait for the federal government to act because scientists worldwide have warned that we must address climate change within the next decade to avoid serious and irreversible consequences,” said Gov. Blagojevich.  “The international community recognizes that rising temperatures, melting glaciers, and unusual weather patterns are warning signs telling us that climate change is a reality.  Now, despite inaction by President Bush, we must deal with it.”

In New Jersey, the Commissioner of the Department of Environmental Protection will work with the Board of Public Utilities, the Department of Transportation, the Department of Community Affairs and other stakeholders to evaluate methods to meet and exceed the 2020 target reductions. The DEP Commissioner will make specific recommendations.

The order calls on the DEP to develop a 1990 greenhouse gas emission inventory as well as a system for monitoring current greenhouse gas levels so that progress toward goals can be accurately tracked. DEP will report progress towards the target reductions no less than every two years and if necessary will recommend additional actions to reach the targets. To further reduce emissions, the order calls for the Director of Energy Savings to develop targets and implementation strategies for reducing energy use by state facilities and vehicles fleets.  

Earlier this month, the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change reported that heat trapped by GHGs are raising the temperature of the air and oceans.
 
The GHG reduction goals are similar to goals set by other states and those proposed by U.S. Senators Lieberman and McCain. 

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