The State’s climate action is guided by a series of Greenhouse Gas Reduction goals. Both legislative and executive action have charted New Jersey on a course to respond to climate change and transition towards a clean energy economy.
The Global Warming Response Act (GWRA) (P.L. 2007 c.112; P.L. 2019 c.197) established two greenhouse gas reduction goals for New Jersey:
- Reduce statewide greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels (approximately 111.5 MMTCO2e) by the year 2020, and,
- Reduce statewide greenhouse gas emissions 80% below the 2006 level (approximately 24.2 MMTCO2e) by the year 2050.
In 2021, Governor Murphy signed Executive Order 274, this order established an interim greenhouse gas reduction target of 50 percent below 2006 levels (approximately 60.6 MMTCO2e) by 2030.
Between 2006 and 2020, New Jersey reduced its greenhouse gas emissions by approximately 25%. New Jersey also exceeded the 2020 greenhouse gas reduction goal – to reduce emissions to 1990 levels – by 20.5 MMT, or 18%. Meeting the ambitious goals of reducing emissions 50% by 2030 and 80% by 2050 will require an economy-wide transformation that demands all economic sectors, levels of government, companies, communities, and individuals to accept and adopt changes that will reduce the adverse effects of climate change. In the fall of 2020, New Jersey issued the Global Warming Response Act 80×50 Report, which outlined pathways and offers recommendations to achieving the state’s greenhouse gas reduction goal. This report, in tandem with the Energy Master Plan, will guide the state’s work in decarbonizing its economy.
Learn more about our historical emissions and how we track our progress reducing greenhouse gas emissions on our GHG Inventory Page.
New Jersey Historical Emissions and Projected Emission Goals
2030 and 2050 Goals
On a national scale, we have committed to a 50-52 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions for 2005 levels by the year 2030 and a goal of net zero emissions by the year 2050. This is based off of the Paris Agreement goals and in response to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Report which states that in order to limit global warming to 1.5°C, we must reduce greenhouse gas emissions by approximately 45% from 2010 levels by 2030. The report further outlines that we must reach net zero emissions by 2050 to limit global warming to 1.5°C. This is on a global scale and is the basis of our national 2030 and 2050 goals.
To further the state and national climate efforts, Governor Murphy signed into legislation a bill (S598) on February 21, 2018, adding New Jersey as a member of the United States Climate Alliance (USCA). The USCA is a bipartisan coalition of US states committed to uphold the United Nations’ Paris Climate Accord by implementing policies that advance the goals of the Paris Agreement. It further commits to reducing GHG emissions by at least 26-28 percent below 2005 levels by 2025. In 2021, the Climate Alliance committed to several new actions, including cuts in short-lived climate pollutants such as methane, HFCs and black carbon, and financing for clean energy. This further supports New Jersey’s and the country’s 2030 and 2050 emissions reduction goals.
The Paris Agreement
The Paris Agreement is a legally binding international treaty on climate change. The international agreement strives to lower the maximum global warming the world should allow. In 2015, the Paris Agreement committed the world to the goal of holding the increase in the global average temperature to well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels and pursuing efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels. The IPCC finds that, since pre-industrial times, the global temperature has warmed 1.09°C, with the current global temperature at approximately 1°C. Scientific research shows that holding warming to 1.5°C could slow sea level rise and protect coastally vulnerable places around the globe including New Jersey, where sea-levels are increasing at a greater rate than in other parts of the world. By 2050, it is likely that sea-level rise will meet or exceed 2.1 feet and increase to 5.1 feet by the end of the century.
The Paris Agreement states that we can limit the global temperature increase by reducing collective net GHG emissions at least 26-28 percent by 2025 and 50-52 percent by 2030, both below 2005 levels, and collectively achieving overall net-zero GHG emissions as soon as practicable, and no later than 2050.
On November 4, 2020, the U.S. formally withdrew from the Paris Climate Agreement, however, under the Biden Administration, the U.S. officially rejoined the Paris Climate Agreement on February 19, 2021.
Learn more about the Paris Climate Agreement