Energy and Climate Change Summit: August 11, 2022 “A critical meeting of professionals”
Wednesday, August 31, 2022 08:06 AM

By Jeanette Myers

Commerce and Industry New Jersey’s (CIANJ’S) Energy and Climate Change Summit centered on the current plans, policies, and programs being developed and outlined for New Jersey to address the climate change crisis.  Even if the Earth’s countries were all presently 100% emissions-free, the lag time would be approximately 50 years before severe climate change effects would neutralize. Jeannette Myers, a recent environmental science graduate from Stockton University, attended the event for the LSRPA. LSRPA has been a stakeholder at NJDEP PACT  (Protecting Against Climate Threats) sessions.

Governor Murphy’s NJ Energy Master Plan outlines policy for a 100% clean energy future by 2050. NJDEP Commissioner Mr. Shawn LaTourette, stated that New Jersey is and will continue to use scientific thought and understanding, incentives, and updates to outdated regulatory responses to pollution to realize the Master Plan’s goals.  

Pollution reduction will result from the use of non-fossil fuels, with increases in solar, wind, biogas, as well as nuclear energy sources.  Nuclear energy sources are to be increased to 15% of total energy consumption, with 60% coming from solar.  Another major change involves the use of electric-powered vehicles.  The Department of Energy will incentivize electric vehicle purchases. Reduction of New Jersey’s ecological footprint will positively impact the economy, which  will thrive due to the amount of labor, new infrastructure, and new materials needed to provide for the carbon-free emission products and services.  

Jane Cohen, Executive Director of the NJ Office of Climate Action and the Green Economy, and Chair of the Inter-agency Council, described the plans of instituting wind turbines for energy along the eastern seaboard of the United States, from Maine to New Jersey.  Again, the win-win of increasing economic development by providing new jobs, while reducing emissions was emphasized.

Ms. Myers asked the Board of Public Utilities (BPU) if the implementation of anaerobic digestion for animal waste has been considered as a viable zero emission waste management procedure.  Methane can be captured through the anaerobic digestion process and then used as an energy source.  The remaining biomass produced can be used as crop fertilizer as well as for other uses.  There would still be carbon emissions, but Michael Shannon, President, Northern New Jersey Community Foundation, discussed with Ms. Myers the newest development in sewage treatment facilities wherein the use of anaerobic digestion is becoming a favorable methane emission-reducing solution.  Methanol added to the organic waste mixture creates dimethyl ether, a nontoxic gas biofuel. (Anaerobic digestion is not one of the methods BPU is entertaining now.)

The Summit and its excellent mix of speakers is the type of meeting crucial for the cross-communication amongst all areas of commerce, business, and politics.

Editor’s Note:  Who is Jeanette Myers? A recent graduate of Stockton University with a B.A. in Environmental Studies. Ms. Myers is impassioned about making a positive difference in the quality of the Earth's environment. She has attended events of this organization and volunteered her time, so you may have met her. Her resume is on the LSRPA website. In accordance with our mission as an organization, reach out to her if you are looking to hire. We also encourage you to ask other recent graduate to write articles for us.