Saturday, February 21, 2015

Expert panel details challenges of adapting to climate change in New Jersey

Tom Johnson in NJ Spotlight: With global warming already occurring, the state needs to adapt to its impact even as it takes steps to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions, according to a panel of experts at a NJ Spotlight roundtable on preparing New Jersey for climate change.

Participants in the forum in Trenton on Friday predicted that climate change will have an adverse affect on a wide range of sectors in the state, from agriculture, coastal communities, infrastructure, public health, and natural and water resources.

Preparing the state to deal with the consequences of climate change is a huge challenge, given that they range from identifying the people and places most at risk, to implementing a statewide policy to respond to evolving issues, to finding a way to fund those strategies to make New Jersey better prepared to the deal with the effects of global warming.

Those recommendations are detailed in a report by the New Jersey Climate Adaptation Alliance last summer, a study prepared by the group and Rutgers University, which sponsored the event. The time to act is long overdue, they said.

“It is really amazing how unprepared we have left ourselves -- not just for the future, but for the present,’’ said Michael Catania, a cochair of the alliance and executive director of Duke Farms. “There is no excuse for not moving forward now.’’

As a coastal state, climate change is going to affect New Jersey more than other states, according to Catania. “Mitigation, at this point alone, is not going to hold off some of the effects we already are feeling,’’ he said. “It’s too late to mitigate our way out of this.’’...

A police car patrols flooded Hoboken after Hurricane Sandy, shot by Alex PerkinsAlec Perkins, Wikimedia Commons via Flickr, under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license 

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