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DEP Climate Report Contradicts Christie
Date : Mon, Aug 12, 2013 at 12:04 PM
For Immediate Release
August 12, 2013
Contact Jeff Tittel, 609-558-9100
DEP Climate Report Contradicts Christie
While the Governor denies any link between Sandy and Climate Change the new
DEP Office of Science report Climate Change in New Jersey: Trends in
Temperature, Precipitation, Extreme Weather Events, and Sea Level
Rise(June 2013) clearly acknowledges the connection. The report
"While it is quite difficult to attribute one particular extreme, such as
a severe hurricane, to human induced climate change rather than to the
natural range of variability, the increased probability of these changes
occurring can be linked to changes in climate."
The report also documents increases in temperature, precipitation, and sea
level rise in New Jersey and warns of severe coastal flooding by 2100.
Once in a century storms and flooding could hit Atlantic City every year of
two by that time. DEP cautions that New Jersey will be extremely
vulnerable to these impacts due to land subsidence as a result of
groundwater extraction, the topography of our coastline and erosion along
it, and the high density development in these areas.
Yet as we rebuild from Hurricane Sandy much of these warnings and advice is
being ignored. Instead the Governor is calling climate change "esoteric"
and DEP is allowing rebuilding to move forward without requiring permits
and rolling back clean energy programs.
"What this report clearly shows is that climate change is stronger than the
storm. If you do not believe climate change is real and there is a threat
from sea level rise than you will not take the steps to prepare New Jersey
for its future impacts and future storms. While the Governor says he
doesn't believe in climate change or sea level, his own scientists in his
own state agency clearly show that climate change and sea level rise are
not only real but are happening here in New Jersey and are only going to
get worse. Unless we follow the science and plan for it, it is only going
to get worse- we will see more devastation and put more people in harm's way,"
In May in Lavallette Governor Christie made the following statement: "Well,
first of all, I don't agree with the premise of your question because I
don't think there's been any proof thus far that Sandy was caused by
Now even the DEP has joined climate scientists who acknowledge the firm
connection between climate change and extreme weather events such as
Superstorm Sandy. The climate scientists have reported that the high
pressure system stuck between Canada and Greenland whose rotations allowed
Sandy to make a left turn into the New Jersey coast happened because of the
lack of sea ice. It is the first time that it has been reported in the
Arctic in that area, which caused the high pressure system to be stuck
there. The rotation of the system caused Sandy to make that unusual left
turn right into New Jersey when normally storms like that would just go
into sea. Also sea level rise and climate change also made the storm much
Rutgers has projected that by 2050 the sea level could rise 13-22 inches
and by 2100 34 to 56 inches. The DEP further found that "sea level rise
will lead to more frequent and extensive coastal flooding. Warming ocean
waters have the potential to strengthen storms."
The report found that winter and summers are becoming warmer in New Jersey
and an increase trend in mean temperature. Eight of the ten warmest
summers in New Jersey have occurred since 1999.
Precipitation and extreme weather events are increasing significantly.
Since 1999 New Jersey has experienced major flooding seven years. In the
past four years we have had the snowiest February, January, and October on
record. In the first half of the twentieth century, the statewide average
annual precipitation was less than 55 inches. In 2011 we set a record with
about 64 inches. This increased precipitation in coming in shorter events.
Hurricane Sandy was the ninth such devastating storm to hit the Garden
State in the last three years and the impacts of climate change will only
make such storms worse. Sandy was the fourth 100-year storm to hit the
Jersey Shore in the past two decades. The State Climatologist reported
that having Tropical Storm Lee hit after Hurricane Irene was a once in a
millennia event and having a nor'easter following Hurricane Sandy was a
once in a millennia event- we have had two once in a millennia events in
Climate disruption will cause severe weather, making storms and other
extreme weather events worse. We need to protect our families here in New
Jersey from the impacts of climate disruption and sea level rise. In New
Jersey we deserve strong action by our leaders to help reduce the
likelihood and severity of future disasters.
"With all the people of New Jersey that have been devastated by the recent
storms, for the Governor to try to ignore climate change is outrageous,
dangerous, and puts people at risk. If we do not deal with climate change
as we rebuild we will be wasting millions of dollars and putting people in
harm's way said Jeff Tittel.
Instead of implementing adaptation and mitigation planning and reducing
carbon pollution, the Governor is rolling back policies that reduce climate
change pollution and promote clean energy alternatives. Governor Christie
is moving New Jersey in the wrong direction when it comes to climate change
by pulling us out of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) and
cutting clean energy funding. The Governor cut the DEP Office of Climate
Change and has stopped progress under previous administrations to implement
hazard planning to address sea level rise. The Governor says he is too busy
to think about climate change while making appearances on the Late Show and
Morning Joe and doing reelection campaign fundraisers.
"While other states are planning for climate change and adaptation, New
Jersey has dismantled programs it previously had in place. We were once a
leader in adaptation planning and the Governor may deny the science but he
cannot deny the facts. New Jersey one of the most vulnerable places to
climate change and sea level rise and the Governor's policies are more
about his national political ambitions than protecting our coast and
communities from future storms," said Tittel.
Governor Christie eliminated the Office of Climate Change within in our DEP
and has undone efforts under previous administrations to implement hazard
planning. The areas hit hardest by Hurricane Sandy are the areas we have
said for a long time are most vulnerable for flooding and storm surges and
they have done nothing to increase protections in those areas and are
making it worse. In 2005 Rutgers prepared mapping of our coast and those
are the same areas that flooded. The state DEP Division of Coastal
Resources had not only mapped vulnerabilities to sea level rise and storm
surges but had authorized studies to the Sea Grant Consortium on the
Delaware Bay and were working on adaptation and mitigation planning for
coastal communities. These are the same groups that do these State of the
Shore reports about how vulnerable our coast was that the Christie
Before Sandy the administration was supporting an application to lower
dunes in Atlantic City and other places to not block a view for
the casinos. The administration also supported regulations to allow beach
bars that would run infrastructure through dunes impacting the dunes.
The report comes from the Office of Science which was downgraded from a
Division. This is part of the administration's ongoing attack on science.
Previously the Division had done award winning work. For the first time a
non-scientist was put in charge. The Science Advisory Board was created to
control the Office of Science and polluters have pushed to sit on the
"This report should be a wakeup call to the Legislature and the people of
New Jersey, who should be demanding action on climate change and sea level
rise. We need to first support the President's Action Plan on Climate and
secondly we should be demanding that our state agencies begin doing the
work they were previously doing on adaptation and mitigation and that the
federal monies coming in for rebuilding should be going towards adaptation
and mitigation, restoring natural systems and requiring green buildings and
energy efficiency so that New Jersey will have a fighting chance," said
Access the updated DEP report:
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