FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 25, 2023
Caryn Shinske (609) 984-1795
Lawrence Hajna (609) 984-1795
Vincent Grassi (609) 984-1795
(23/P005) TRENTON – New Jersey’s Interagency Council on Climate Resilience is seeking public input on how the state should address extreme heat priorities and concerns as part of the Interagency Council’s development of a series of plans outlining how state agencies will incorporate climate resilience into their policies, programs and regulations.
The series of documents, known as Resilience Action Plans, will build on the Statewide Climate Change Resilience Strategy released in 2021 and provide more detail on how the strategy’s recommendations are being implemented. The first Resilience Action Plan, to be released later this year, will focus on state agency efforts to address increasing extreme heat events resulting from climate change, such as those experienced during the summer of 2022.
“Extreme heat puts New Jersey’s environment, economy, infrastructure, and communities at risk,” said Jane Cohen, Chair of the Interagency Council and Executive Director of the Office of Climate Action and the Green Economy. “Through the development of the Extreme Heat Resilience Action Plan, the state will build resilience to extreme heat, helping to maintain the quality of life for generations to come.”
Public involvement will be an important next step in the process. The Interagency Council is seeking public feedback through Friday, March 17 on extreme heat priorities and concerns, as well as a scoping document that addresses the Resilience Action Plan’s purpose, development process and content. The Resilience Action Plan initiative and the scoping document will be presented at a webinar on Thursday, Feb. 9, with a second webinar on Thursday, March 2 seeking public input on potential extreme heat issues. Details on the webinars, including links to join and applicable documents, are at https://nj.gov/dep/climatechange/resilience-action-plans.html.
“The development of Resilience Action Plans with public input will be very important tools for guiding us as we address how New Jersey can face the worsening impacts of climate change,” DEP Commissioner Shawn M. LaTourette said. “Every person’s feedback is valuable in this process, and I encourage as many people as possible to participate in the upcoming webinars to share their thoughts for making our state more climate resilient.”
Research summarized in the New Jersey Scientific Report on Climate Change (2020) and the Climate Change Impacts on Human Health & Communities addendum (2022) shows that New Jersey is warming faster than the rest of the Northeast and the world. During summer 2022, New Jerseyans experienced the third hottest statewide average temperature on record since data collection began in 1895. High temperatures -- when heat index values exceed 90 degrees Fahrenheit for more than two or three days -- are associated with immediate and long-term health concerns, diminished air quality, and increased pressures on food and water supplies.
“New Jersey’s overburdened and socially vulnerable communities experience the impacts of climate change first, and worst,” said Nick Angarone, Vice Chair of the Interagency Council and the state’s Chief Climate Resilience Officer. “The Extreme Heat Resilience Action Plan will pay special attention to those communities, identifying state agency actions that focus on environmental justice and equity.”
The Interagency Council will seek to develop one to two Resilience Action Plans per year, each focusing on a specific climate threat to New Jersey. Resilience Action Plans will be developed collaboratively across the 22 agencies of the Interagency Council, with guidance and feedback from subject matter experts and stakeholders. Agencies will work cooperatively to explore their respective work, identify existing gaps and coordinate actions across state government to address those gaps. The actions identified within each plan will align with and expand on the priorities laid out in the Statewide Climate Change Resilience Strategy, released by the Interagency Council in 2021.
The Interagency Council has developed guidance and templates for agencies to follow to ensure that sufficient detail is covered across each action in the Resilience Action Plans. This guidance includes certain considerations that span across all topics and actions, including environmental justice and equity, funding, research needs and interagency coordination.
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