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NJ Future: Fighting Climate Change Starts at Home

April 4, 2008

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New Jersey Future, in a recent Future Facts column, points out that:

  • On a per capita basis, in 2005 New Jersey residents emitted an estimated 16.7 metric tons of carbon dioxide from three principal sources: transportation (34 percent); residential, commercial and industrial fuel use (32 percent); and electricity consumption (24 percent).
  • A key component in reducing greenhouse gas emissions involves driving less. According to the U.S. EPA, each gallon of gas typically results in 19.4 pounds of carbon dioxide emissions.
  • Residents of compact, mixed-use communities—where it is safe and convenient to walk, bike, carpool and accomplish errands with shortdriving trips—typically drive 20 to 40 percent less, according the Urban Land Institute’s “Growing Cooler” report.

And where are the compact, mixed-use communities? In existing towns and cities – historic neighborhoods and Main Streets! While planning grants to NJ communities to help them explore how to locate and design compact growth is great, the opportunity is now to offer incentives for revitalization of existing, historic and already compact communities!

How about dedicating some of the funds generated by the carbon cap-and-trade law recently passed by the NJ Legislature, which directs $40 – $70 million in annual proceeds from the sale of carbon credits in the “Global Warming Response Fund,” to the Historic Rehabilitation tax credit program proposed in the Historic Properties Revitalization Act (HPRA)?

How about that for energy efficiency?

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