DEP Looks to Universities, Colleges for Research on Climate Change and Sea Level Rise

By Juliet Kaszas-Hoch | Sep 25, 2019

Surf City — The state Department of Environmental Protection is requesting that institutions of higher education share climate and sea level rise research and data to help the state as it moves forward with strengthening New Jersey’s global warming response and resilience strategies.

“We are very fortunate to have distinguished colleges and universities that have been actively researching and collecting data on climate change and sea level rise, looking not only at environmental impacts, but on how this is affecting our communities and the economy,” said DEP Commissioner Catherine R. McCabe. “Much of this research has been focused on New Jersey and will prove invaluable as we develop a comprehensive and coordinated strategy for addressing climate change and making the state more resilient to storms and flooding.”

According to the state, “The storehouse of research amassed by academic institutions can help the DEP affirm or modify existing efforts and/or initiate new programs.”

The DEP has made climate change a key priority, establishing three overarching goals to drive strategy and policy development: engaging in robust public dialogue about the impacts of climate change; reducing greenhouse gas emissions to achieve the state’s clean energy goals and the 2050 greenhouse gas limits established by the New Jersey Global Warming Response Act; and making coastal and other flood-prone areas more resilient to better protect lives, property, infrastructure and ecosystems.

The state is not requesting that academic institutions launch new research projects, but “rather, this is an opportunity for the DEP to inventory existing research and spur dialogue and research-sharing with higher education institutions,” the state explained.

Educational institutions are asked to submit, by Sept. 30, research either completed within the last five years or due to be completed by the end of this year. The research must be related to climate mitigation and adaptation/resiliency. More information is available at nj.gov/dep/climatechange/njclimatedataask.html.

As the state noted, “New Jersey is particularly vulnerable to effects of climate change, such as flooding and severe storms, due to its low-lying topography and geology that includes land areas that are naturally subsiding, or sinking, over time.

“While scientists agree that global warming is largely attributable to human activities, projections regarding how much sea level will rise can vary greatly. Moreover, predictions can become even more difficult depending on how quickly and aggressively nations respond.”

Under Gov. Phil Murphy, the DEP points out, New Jersey takes the threat of climate change and sea level rise very seriously, and has recently formed a new Climate and Flood Resilience Program to implement a strategic vision to better prepare the state for the impacts of global warming.

For more information on climate change, including an explanation of the science behind it, as well as key state initiatives, climate data and steps residents and business can take to make a difference, visit nj.gov/dep/climatechange.

— Juliet Kaszas-Hoch

juliet@thesandpaper.net

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