As noted in NJSpotlight (Feb. 20, 2015), New Jersey was ranked 34th out of 50 states in the most recent State of American Wellbeing index of the 2014 Gallup-Healthways Index report. The study takes into account how people feel about their life’s purpose, social and financial life, physical health, and community.
According to the NJSpotlight story,
The two areas in which New Jersey severely underperformed the rest of the country were purpose and community. Purpose was defined as liking what you do each day and being motivated to achieve goals. In this area New Jersey only ranked 43rd. And New Jersey’s leaders should take serious note of the ranking of 48 for community. This element was defined as liking where you live, feeling safe, and taking pride in your community.
This clearly underlines the need for the kinds of “regenerative community solutions” that we’re seeking to foster through our nonprofit. And it also shows how poorly NJ’s economic and political class are doing in serving the needs of the state overall.
The climate deal fleshed out in Lima, Peru, is that all countries can set their own climate goals [1,2,3]. But will this be effective in preventing dangerous greenhouse gas emissions? Very unlikely, writes Delton Chen (Geo-Hydrologist, Civil Engineer):
During the past 250 years of industrial and technological revolution, the primary catalyst for innovation and the fundamental driver of economic growth has been the availability of fossil fuels (i.e. coal, oil and gas). To avoid extremely dangerous climate change, the global economic system must be re-organised at a fundamental level, and the new order must include a social transformation that grows exponentially; otherwise the required mitigation of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions will be too slow to avoid a climate catastrophe.
The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) was put into effect in 1994, and civilisation officially acknowledged that it was ‘addicted’ to fossil fuels. The ultimate aim of the UNFCCC is to prevent “…dangerous human interference with the climate system”. The recent UNFCCC’s meeting in Lima, Peru, provides the latest update on civilisation’s de-carbonisation program, but the results of the Lima meeting signify global action will be further delayed given that nations are only obliged to make voluntary commitments.
The latest version of A2579 — amending legislation to the PACE statute approved in 2012, which has proved unworkable — has been passed out of the Assembly Appropriations Committee, and is now headed to the floor for a vote. An identical version is being shepherded through the NJ Senate by its passionate sponsor, Senator Bob Smith (D-Middlesex), with the full concurrence of its Republican Co-Sponsor, Senator Kip Bateman (R-Somerville).
Here is a portion of the “Statement” accompanying the release of the bill:
A proposal authored by Dr. Delton Chen, and sponsored by CRCS, has won in the 2014 MIT Climate CoLab Competition. The Global 4C proposal was not the winner of the final prize, but it was a winner and very well received and recognized at the conference.
The conference itself — or at least the part we were present for — was itself quite fascinating, and remarkable for the variety of entries, the keynotes, and of course the conversations in the halls. We were unfortunately detained in New Jersey for a crucial meeting on Thursday morning (which turned out well, advancing the cause of PACE financing in New Jersey), and then set off for Boston in drenching rain, poor visibility, and at least four major accidents along the way. Harrowing. We finally made it around 3:45 to the venue, and got to the breakout room for your presentation just as you were answering the last question.
People felt the proposal was serious and well thought-through, and were happy to speak with us about it. The videos, and above all the new radio interview, linked below, have made the idea very clear and accessible, so we no longer have to spend much time clearing up misconceptions.
Cities across the US are competing to install 10,000+ rain gardens as part of community-wide campaigns — Seattle is looking for 12,000 near the Puget Sound; Kansas City, Mo is creating 10,000; and Sustainable Jersey City thinks 11,000 is about the right number for Jersey City.
What’s even more interesting is that these are being seen as community engagement and revitalization projects. Jersey City’s is indeed “crowd-sourced”: Continue reading
The challenges we face in New Jersey as a result of climate change are significant, and so therefore are the opportunities. The experience of Superstorm Sandy showed us just how ill-prepared we are for the more frequent recurrence of extreme weather; and how important it is that we set an example for taking action to mitigate our own greenhouse gas emissions, as other states are doing around us. And there’s also no doubt about the urgency of it — as you can see from this remarkable video:
Developing our crowdfunding campaign is giving us an extraordinary opportunity to explore using PACE to revitalize New Jersey communities. By itself, PACE is an innovative business model that creates jobs and economic development while providing the ultimate tool to finance energy efficiency and renewable energy projects on private properties. But leveraging PACE for community development is where the real payoff is, that is to say, for the benefit of the community as a whole.
New Jersey PACE is proud to be partnering with the upcoming Intersolar Summit – New Jersey taking place on March 20th at the Sheraton Edison Hotel. Through our partnership we are able to provide Discounted Registration to NJPACE Alliance members and CRCS supporters.
Under the slogan “80% Renewable Electricity by 2050 – What does it mean today?”, the Intersolar Summit New Jersey will thoroughly assess the current business climate, future market prospects and feasibility of the aggressive renewable energy targets recently announced. Moreover, delegates will gain an in-depth understanding of the latest policy updates presented by local opinion leaders and receive insights on most up-to-date solutions and technological innovations for the PV market.The preliminary agenda can be found here.
Confirmed high-level speakers include
- New Jersey State Senator Bob Smith
- New York State Senator Kevin S. Parker
- Honorable New Jersey Assemblyman Upendra Chivukula
- Richard Lawrence, Executive Director, Executive Director, North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP)
- Dennis Wilson, President, Mid-Atlantic Solar Energy Industries Association (MSEIA)
- Lyle Rawlings, Vice President New Jersey, Mid-Atlantic Solar Energy Industries Association (MSEIA)
- Michael Trahan, Executive Director, Solar Connecticut
- Tom Thompson, Board Member, Solar Energy Business Association of New England (SEBANE)
- Darren Hammell, Co-founder and Chief Strategy Officer, Princeton Power Systems
- Dr. Richard Perez, Professor, University of Albany
- Thomas Plagemann, Executive Vice President of Capital Markets, Vivint Solar
Trenton, N.J., Monday, January 13, 2014: At the very last moment, the NJ State Senate took up and passed Assembly Bill 3898 (an identical version of S2632, introduced by Senator Bob Smith at the beginning of 2013). In an associated statement, the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee notes that “this bill provides a mechanism for the financing, by municipalities, of water conservation, storm shelter construction, and flood and hurricane resistance projects, and expands the “clean energy special assessment,” established in current law pursuant to P.L.2011, c.187 (N.J.S.A.40:56-1.4 et al.), into the “clean energy and storm resistance special assessment.”
The bill now heads to the Governor’s office for approval.
In an article highlighted on NJSpotlight as part of an end-of-the-year series of reflections by former NJ governors, Governor Jim Florio writes:
A relatively new program — PACE, which stands for “Property Assessed Clean Energy” — has taken hold in places like Connecticut, California, and Florida and is literally funding thousands of necessary energy efficiency and green energy projects with private capital. And a project in Livingston, New Jersey, is now in its early stages.
The essence of a PACE program is its use of a municipal special property tax assessment to attach the financing to the property, not the owner. This assessment mechanism uses a municipal-government power, but does not cost the municipality a dime. Typically, these projects more than pay for themselves through energy savings, and they provide greater self-sufficiency and reliability, as well as more comfortable and more resilient buildings.