Gov. Phil Murphy (D-N.J.) signed an executive order on the seventh anniversary of Hurricane Sandy on Tuesday, intended to reform strategies to safeguard New Jersey against future threats of climate change, according to a video put out by the governor’s office.
From Hoboken, one of the towns devastated by Hurricane Sandy’s effects, Murphy called New Jersey “ground zero” for the implications of climate change, citing rising tides, eroding wetlands along the Delaware Bay shore and aggressive storms as an existential threat to the state, according to the video.
“The truth is, climate change is not coming,” Murphy said, according to the video. “It is already here.”
Murphy’s executive order would deliver a scientific report on climate change to him within 180 days after the order is signed and be updated every two years to detail the effects of climate change.
An Interagency Council on Climate Resilience, comprised of 16 state agencies, would be created to devise short and long-term action plans to mitigate and adapt to climate change, according to the video.
“We cannot resign ourselves to the idea that we should just wait it out until the next storm and then expect billions of dollars in insurance claims and federal assistance to allow us to rebuild,” he said, according to the video. “We need to be smarter. We need to ensure our communities and infrastructure are more resilient."
By Sept. 1, 2020, a Statewide Climate Change Resilience Strategy will be presented to the governor to propose solutions mitigating climate effects and guide state agencies, municipalities and regional planning agencies to implement resiliency measures, according to the video.
Murphy called out former Gov. Chris Christie’s (R-N.J.) decision to abolish the office of climate change early in his tenure, according to the video, as he said New Jersey’s new course of action would be guided by “facts and science” and not “politics and opinion.”
Rutgers University was mentioned at the conference for having the “best climate scientists in the world” by the Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Catherine McCabe, describing the importance of studies explaining the implications of a warming climate, according to the video.
“What we do based on the science now and in the next few years will have a lasting impact on our children and future generations,” she said.