Report | Environment New Jersey Research & Policy Center

Lighting the Way: What We Can Learn from America's Top 12 Solar States

Solar energy is on the rise. America’s solar energy revolution has been led by 12 states, including New Jersey, that have used public policies to open the door for solar energy and are reaping the rewards as a result.

America has more than three times as much solar photovoltaic capacity today as in 2010, and more than 10 times as much as in 2007. In the first three months of 2013, solar power accounted for nearly half of the new electricity generating capacity in the United States. The price of solar energy is falling rapidly, and each year tens of thousands of additional Americans begin to reap the benefits of clean energy from the sun, generated right on the rooftops of their homes or places of business. 

Report | Environment New Jersey Research & Policy Center

In the Path of the Storm

Weather disasters kill or injure hundreds of Americans each year and cause billions of dollars in damage. The risks posed by some types of weather-related disasters will likely increase in a warming world. Scientists have already detected increases in extreme precipitation events and heat waves in the United States, and climate science tells us that global warming will likely lead to further changes in weather extremes.

Since 2007, federally declared weather-related disasters in the United States have affected counties housing 243 million people – or nearly four out of five Americans. The breadth and severity of weather-related disasters in the United States – coupled with the emerging science on the potential for global warming to exacerbate some types of extreme weather – suggest that the United States should take urgent action to reduce emissions of global warming pollution, while taking steps to prepare for the dangers posed by climate change.

Report | Environment New Jersey Research & Policy Center

A Double Success

The Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) is a central strategy in the Northeastern states’ efforts to protect the region from global warming.

 

The program, which took effect in 2009,has succeeded in cutting carbon dioxideemissions and demonstrating the effectiveness
of cap-and-trade as a global warming solution while helping to sustain a growing regional economy.

 

Now, nine Northeastern states are considering strengthening RGGI to drive additional reductions in global warming pollution. Strengthening RGGI would be a “win-win” for the Northeast, making an important contribution toward protecting the region from global warming while speeding the transition to a clean energy future.

Report | Environment New Jersey

Wind Power for a Cleaner America

As Hurricane Sandy and its aftermath prompt more New Jerseyans to call for action to tackle global warming and the rise in extreme weather, Environment New Jersey released a new report that shows that New Jersey’s current power generation from wind energy displaces as much global warming pollution as taking 2000 cars off the road per year. A 2010 law passed by the Legislature and signed by Governor Christie will bring far more wind power to New Jersey over the next decade, significantly reducing global warming pollution and cutting the state’s reliance on fossil fuels.

Environment New Jersey was joined by Senate President Stephen Sweeney and Senator Linda Greenstein, Vice Chair of the Senate Environment Committee, in releasing the report Wind Power for a Cleaner America: Reducing Global Warming Pollution, Cutting Air Pollution, and Saving Water. The report touts wind energy’s environmental benefits to date, as well as future benefits if wind power continues to grow. The speakers urged Congress to extend critical federal incentives for wind power—the renewable energy production tax credit (PTC) and the offshore wind investment tax credit (ITC)—before they expire at the end of the year.

Report | Environment New Jersey Research and Policy Center

The Costs of Fracking

Over the past decade, the oil and gas industry has fused two technologies—hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling—to unlock new supplies of fossil fuels in underground rock formations across the United States. “Fracking” has spread rapidly, leaving a trail of contaminated water, polluted air, and marred landscapes in its wake. In fact, a growing body of data indicates that fracking is an environmental and public health disaster in the making.

However, the true toll of fracking does not end there. Fracking’s negative impacts on our environment and health come with heavy “dollars and cents” costs as well. In this report, we document those costs—ranging from cleaning up contaminated water to repairing ruined roads and beyond. Many of these costs are likely to be borne by the public, rather than the oil and gas industry. As with the damage done by previous extractive booms, the public may experience these costs for decades to come.

Pages