Climate Change Is Here, New Jersey Can Lead

Diane Simmons
Published: 10/11/2021

Twin disasters of Afghanistan and COVID have dominated the news cycle. But there is another looming disaster that will be longer-lived with grave existential consequences – climate change.

Last week Greenland experienced a “massive melting event,” releasing enough liquid to cover an area the size of Florida in two inches of water. As reported by the Guardian newspaper, the melting was triggered by extreme heat, which, as most people understand by now, is an aspect of manmade climate change.

Some of the melt flows directly into the ocean, contributing to sea level rise.

Another cause for concern: “as the white snow melts, the ice sheet loses its protective layer against the sun” thus triggering future melting. Sea level rise, says glaciologist Brad Lipovsky, is like a “slow moving train.” Once it gets going, it can’t be stopped.

Despite the drumbeat of alarming climate news, however, the political response here in New Jersey continues to be lackluster, according to Taylor McFarland, acting director of the state Sierra Club. One problem McFarland identifies in a letter released by the environmental group, Empower NJ: our efforts to monitor greenhouse gases are flawed and delayed.

Governor Murphy: history will judge us for the actions we did or did not take when the extent of potential climate devastation became clear. I urge you to put your administration on a war footing; let New Jersey lead in this fight. In Wendell Berry’s prophetic words, "Whether we and our politicians know it or not, Nature is party to all our deals and decisions, and she has more votes, a longer memory, and a sterner sense of justice than we do."

Topics: Climate ChangeEnvironmentPhil Murphy