New Jersey’s government is getting a new office to coordinate the state’s response to climate change.
On Tuesday, Feb. 16, Gov. Phil Murphy signed an executive order creating an Office for Climate Action and the Green Economy. The announcement came in Newark during a media briefing at the city’s Department of Public Works, where the governor also announced about $100 million in funding to replace diesel-powered industrial vehicles with electrics.
Politico first reported the executive order.
“Climate change is a reality we must face,” Murphy said. “Not with fear and apprehension, but with an understanding that a clean energy economy is a once-in-a-generation opportunity for New Jersey.”
The new office is tasked with streamlining climate initiatives currently being pursued by various state agencies and leading New Jersey’s collaboration with federal agencies on climate issues.
It will also include a Council on the Green Economy, which will guide New Jersey’s pivot to new, clean industries. That council will be chaired by the heads of the state environmental protection department, the state labor department and the Board of Public Utilities. Representatives from industry groups, environmentalists and academics will be among the other council members.
Jane Cohen, who has spent about two years as an advisor to Murphy on environment and energy matters, has been tapped to lead the new office. She said it’s imperative that all arms of state government move together to face the challenges of global warming.
“Climate change is not just within one agency or department,” Cohen said. “We must take a whole of government approach.”
The creation of the new office garnered praise from environmental groups, like the New Jersey League of Conservation Voters.
“Governor Murphy’s announcement today gets us one step closer to realizing the 21st century sustainable green jobs economy that most New Jerseyans say they want — and the future that we and our partners have been calling for,” said Ed Potosnak, the NJLCV’s executive director.