COMMMISSIONER SHINN SIGNS HISTORIC AGREEMENT
TO DEVELOP PROTOTYPE FOR FIRST INTERNATIONAL EMISSIONS TRADE
Governor Christie Whitman's "Sustainable New Jersey" initiative
received a major boost from a written understanding negotiated by State
Environmental Protection Commissioner Bob Shinn with the government of
the Netherlands this month.
Under the landmark understanding, called an "Aide Memoire,"
the Netherlands and New Jersey will, by the end of 2000, identify avenues
for developing a pilot project to trade emission reduction credits for
carbon dioxide, the primary gas causing global warming.
"Initiatives and technologies that reduce emissions of
carbon dioxide nearly always reduce other air pollutants, and clean air
is essential to our quality of life in New Jersey," said Governor Whitman.
"This agreement has the promise of harnessing the economic incentives
of emission trading to improve air quality both here and in the Netherlands."
The Aide Memoire adopts a work plan to develop a prototype
emissions trade that may be the foundation for similar sustainability
initiatives both within the U.S. and internationally.
The Aide Memoire was signed December 7 by the Netherlands
Deputy Director General of the Ministry of Housing, Spatial Planning and
the Environment, Kees Zoeteman, and by Commissioner Shinn during his four-day
visit to The Hague. The Commissioner led the New Jersey delegation that
negotiated this far-reaching agreement.
"We have formed a partnership with the Netherlands to develop
economic incentives that have a positive impact on New Jersey's air quality.
This is another step toward the Governor's goal of making New Jersey a
better place to live, work and raise a family," said Shinn. "The Netherlands
and New Jersey both have sizable coastal communities and significant industrial
facilities that contribute to global warming. It makes sense that we work
together to curb the long-term threat to coastal communities posed by
the sea level rise resulting from global warming."
"We are entering a new era in the history of environmental
policy that requires thinking beyond the traditional borders," said Zoetman.
The agreement is a follow-up to a Letter of Intent signed
by Shinn and the Netherlands' Environment Minister in June of 1998.
"This is a landmark step that creates the potential for
U.S. companies to sell emission credits, which lowers the cost of addressing
climate change and brings additional environmental benefits to both New
Jersey and the Netherlands," said Ned Helme, Executive Director of the
Center for Clean Air Policy, who helped forge the original agreement and
participated in The Hague meetings.
The parties will establish a standing committee to develop
the pilot project for greenhouse gas emissions trading. The initial members
of the standing committee representing New Jersey will be Commissioner
Shinn; Michael Hogan, Counselor to the Commissioner; Michael Winka, Administrator
of the DEP Office of Innovative Technology and Market Development; Ned
Helme, Executive Director of the Center for Clean Air Policy; Sue Gander
of the Center for Clean Air Policy, and Eric Svenson, Director of Environmental
Policy for Public Service Enterprise Group.
On Earth Day 1998, Commissioner Shinn announced plans to
reduce greenhouse gas emissions in New Jersey 3.5 percent below 1990 levels
by 2005. New Jersey is the first state to commit to a specific reduction
in greenhouse gas emissions. In 1999, through a climate change workgroup
representing the state's business and environmental communities, a sustainability/climate
change plan of action was developed.
New Jersey produces about 2 percent of the nation's greenhouse
gases, or more than 129 million tons a year, predominantly from the burning
of oil, coal, and other fuels for heating, cooling and motor vehicles.
is vice chair of the Board of Directors for the Center
for Clean Air Policy, an environmental think-tank based
in Washington D.C. and the Czech Republic. He also co-chairs a climate
change committee formed jointly by the U.
S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Environmental
Council of States.