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The Pinelands Commission Launches New Climate Initiative

The Yes Men Visit the Pinelands

The Yes Men are one of my favorite outfits – their stunts are almost always perfectly conceived and executed.

So, with the above headline and lead, I’m really blowing a real Yes Man-like stunt.

What the hell, here goes:

yesmen1

Pinelands Commission Launches New Climate Initiative

 

New Lisbon, N.J., – December 10, 2015 – The Pinelands Commission is proud to announce the launch of a significant new climate initiative to protect the precious Pinelands from current and projected impacts of climate change.

Using the best available current science, the Commission today begins a planning process to amend the Pinelands Comprehensive Management Plan (CMP).

The overall goals of the climate initiative will be to assure that the Pinelands region achieves the statewide greenhouse gas emissions reductions goals set by the NJ Legislature in the Global Warming Response Act and promote a rapid transition to renewable energy, while preparing to adapt to unavoidable warming.

Elements of of the climate initiative include:

  • baseline scientific characterization of ecosystems and resources most vulnerable to climate impacts
  • promotion of maximum feasible energy efficiency for projects subject to CMP review
  • developing a supportive regulatory framework for renewable energy development
  • zero carbon planning, design, and build standards and retrofit requirements
  • discouragement and phase out of fossil fueled infrastructure

Chairman Lohbauer issued the following statement:

Mark Lohbauer, Chairman, Pinelands Commission

Mark Lohbauer, Chairman, Pinelands Commission

The recent release of Pope Francis’ encyclical “Care for Our Common Home” followed by his US visit, brought home the moral imperative to act to respond to the climate crisis.

The ongoing Paris COP21 climate treaty negotiations has focused the world’s attention on the climate crisis.

The Pinelands Commission, as an institution of the world with a public mission, understands the scientific and moral imperatives to act.

The Pinelands are already suffering the effects of climate change – the southern pine beetle is just one visible example of that. Scientists warn that the entire forest ecosystem – and all the majestic plants and animals in it – are threatened by climate change, which will bring earlier springs, later winters, more frequent and intense heat waves, droughts, and storms and alter rainfall patterns. These changes will disrupt the water cycle, habitat, and ecosystem functions – from migration and mating to flowering of plants and pollination. Even the productivity and viability of the cranberry industry, the region’s legacy industry, is at risk.

We must respond aggressively to this growing crisis and become part of the collective solution.

Therefore, I am extremely pleased to announce the launch – however belated – of the Commission’s climate initiative. 

In light of the recent scientific presentation by State Climatologist Robinson and a review by Commission staff of the best available science with respect to current and projected impacts on Pinelands resources the Commission has a duty to protect pursuant to the Pinelands Protection Act and by the CMP, the Commission is convinced of the reality and urgency of the climate crisis.

Therefore, the Commission has decided to do its part to contribute towards NJ’s greenhouse gas emission reduction goals established by the Legislature in the Global Warming Response Act.

Accordingly, today we will adopt a Resolution that directs staff to initiate an open, participatory and transparent public planning process to develop necessary amendments to the CMP to address energy, climate and infrastructure policies to protect Pinelands resources, in light of the best available climate science.

We expect that the scientific development and planning phase to take no longer than 180 days before we initiate the formal CMP regulatory phase.

Pending formal adoption of these CMP amendments pursuant to the Administrative Procedures Act, the Commission will suspend technical review of all pending applications regarding large scale greenhouse gas emitting energy infrastructure.

We welcome your support and participation in our endeavor.”

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