ENVIRONMENTAL OFFICIALS FROM THE NETHERLANDS AND NEW
JERSEY AGREE TO INTERNATIONAL PARTNERSHIP
As sea levels on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean continue to rise,
officials from The Netherlands and New Jersey today laid the
groundwork for an international partnership that could lead to joint
efforts to address the growing problem of global warming.
Her Excellency Margaretha de Boer, Minister of Housing, Spatial
Planning and the Environment for The Netherlands, and New Jersey
Environmental Protection Commissioner Robert C. Shinn Jr. today agreed
to work together on several issues important to the economy and the
environment of their respective regions, in accordance with the United
Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.
"Cooperation is very important because the industrial world is only at
the beginning of a comprehensive approach to decrease the emission of
greenhouse gases," said Minister de Boer. "We have to develop all
kinds of innovative instruments to stimulate citizens and industry to
alter the use of energy consumption. We will have to learn how we can
trade emission rights of greenhouse gases, and how we can involve
industry in this process. Our long-standing relationship with New
Jersey provides a sound basis to develop this knowledge from the
American and European perspectives."
"This unprecedented agreement will further mutual environmental goals
important to our economic survival," said Commissioner Shinn. "As a
coastal state with a tremendous tourist-based shore economy, New
Jersey cannot afford to ignore the potentially devastating
consequences of global warming and related sea level rise."
At a ceremony at the State House in Trenton today, Minister de Boer
and Commissioner Shinn signed a letter of intent that establishes a
framework for developing joint initiatives to combat global warming,
including a trading system for greenhouse gas emission credits. The
national Center for Clean Air Policy, of which Commissioner Shinn is a
member, will facilitate the project.
"This is an historic and internationally significant step in our
evolving relationship with the Dutch government," said Governor
Christie Whitman. "Only through partnerships like these will we be
able to begin to address global issues."
For the past five years, Governor Whitman's administration has been
studying the innovative environmental protection strategies used in
The Netherlands. Their success is based on the ability to set specific
goals and achieve those goals in partnership with the regulated
community, a strategy New Jersey has begun to employ.
In addition to their coastal locations, the two entities have much in
common. Both are about the same size, flat and densely populated, with
highly significant chemical and agricultural industries. They
consequently share many of the same environmental problems.
The 11-member Dutch delegation was in Washington, D.C. yesterday where
it met with U.S. Environmental Protection Agency officials to discuss
environmental and economic sustainability issues. That afternoon, the
Netherlands Embassy hosted a symposium on related topics in which
Commissioner Shinn participated.
The delegation's itinerary today included meetings with
representatives from the national Center for Clean Air Policy, the New
Jersey Center for Advanced Technology, Rutgers University and the
business community, and a tour of the Burlington County EcoComplex.