Despite our best efforts to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions that cause climate change, there will be permanent public health, ecological and economic impacts in New Jersey from those emissions already in the atmosphere. Scientists predict that in the coming years New Jersey will experience higher temperatures during the summer months that will result in an increase of heat-related illnesses, as well as poor air quality and short-term droughts; and more intense rain events, leaving residents susceptible to high flooding. These intense rain events will also worsen the impacts of rising sea level in New Jersey’s coastal and bayshore communities.
in mind, New Jersey expects to develop a comprehensive adaptation plan to
help New Jersey citizens handle the
unavoidable impacts of climate
change that we foresee in the future.
In addition to planning how to cope with these unavoidable impacts, the state will need to communicate risk and
health impacts, ecological impacts, economic
impacts and adaptation strategies to its
citizens and businesses.
These communication strategies need to be
developed in parallel with the development of the state's adaptation policy itself, and build upon the outreach and education strategies developed to meet the state's other climate goals.
In order to be successful, a comprehensive statewide adaptation plan needs to involve the input and action of many parties, including federal, state and local governments; non-governmental organizations, academia, private industry, and New Jersey’s citizens.
In particular, local governments, as the agents on the “front lines” during natural disasters, and as those with influence over planning and zoning decisions, need to be aware of their vulnerabilities and risks, as well as what actions they can take and where they need additional support. The Department has partnered with Sustainable Jersey to form a Climate Adaptation Task Force (CATF), which is working to determine how best to support local efforts to become resilient in the face of changing climate. The CATF released two educational tools to help local governments understand what climate adaptation is and how it will effect them. One tool is a glossary of climate-related terminology. The other tool is a New Jersey-specific climate trends and projections document. The CATF is now working to develop other risk assessment tools to support local government adaptive thinking. For more information on the CATF, visit Sustainable Jersey’s website.