New Jersey rejoins regional state climate initiative

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy (D) announced Monday that the state will rejoin a region-wide carbon cutting initiative after having pulled out under former Gov. Chris Christie (R).

The Garden State will once again become a partner of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, made up of Mid-Atlantic and New England states focused on reducing energy emissions through a cap-and-trade auction process. Other member states include Delaware, Connecticut, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Rhode Island and Vermont.

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“Climate change and sea-level rise affect every one of us," Murphy said on Monday. "From Superstorm Sandy to the powerful nor’easters and devastating flooding this year, it is imperative that New Jersey reclaim its leadership role in fighting back."

New Jersey was a charter member of the partnership, but Christie withdrew the state's membership in 2012.

"Pulling out of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative in 2012 was not only an abdication of leadership, but it also cost us millions of dollars that could have been used to increase energy efficiency and improve air quality in our communities," Murphy added. "Today’s action is an important first step toward restoring our place as a leader in the green economy and keeping us on a path to 100 percent clean energy by 2050 for the benefit of all New Jerseyans.”

One of the proposed rules for rejoining the initiative caps carbon-dioxide from the state’s electricity generation at 18 million tons in 2020.

New Jersey's decision to rejoin the group follows a handful of recently released studies that warn of the dire effects of climate change if greenhouse gas emissions do not taper off.