||N J H E P S
New Jersey Higher Education Partnership for Sustainability
EMBARGOED: 12:00 noon, Monday, February 12, 2001
CONTACT: James Quigley 201-684-7031
All 56 NJ College Presidents Sign Environmental Plan
New Brunswick, NJ, Feb. 12 -- In an historic signing, the presidents of all 56 New Jersey colleges and universities have joined together to endorse a Sustainability Greenhouse Gas Action Plan for New Jersey that calls for a 3.5 percent reduction in the state's greenhouse gas emissions by the year 2005.
Developed by the state Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), the plan is the nations first to establish reduction goals for greenhouse gas emissions.
The action commits its signers to the implementation of "voluntary programs and initiatives to accomplish the core goal of the Plan, a 3.5% reduction in New Jersey greenhouse gas emissions below 1990 levels by the year 2005." The 56 educational institutions join 13 other New Jersey organizations and businesses that have similarly pledged to help implement the plan (see: http://www.state.nj.us/dep/dsr/gcc/gcc.htm).
"This historic signing on greenhouse gas emissions means that 56 college presidents are all looking to New Jersey's future," said James Loughran, S.J., President of Saint Peters College, and Chair of the New Jersey Presidents Council. "We shall be teaching an important lesson both to our students and to the citizens of New Jersey and beyond."
Dr. Donald Wheeler, president of NJHEPS (New Jersey Higher Education Partnership for Sustainability) and Professor of Sociology and Global Studies at Kean University, outlined the following concerns:
- Millions of New Jersey citizens breathe unhealthy air and the state is the second worst in the nation for levels of ground ozone and among the worst in toxic air contaminants.
- Some 900,000 New Jersey residents have asthma or other respiratory illnesses. On bad smog days there is a large percent increase in the number of asthma patients taken to emergency rooms.
- Man-made emissions from the burning of fossil fuels, such as coal, gas and oil, have contributed substantially to the observed warming of the earth's atmosphere over the last fifty years.
- The worst-case estimate for a temperature rise by the year 2100 has now been revised from 6.3 degrees to 11 degrees Fahrenheit.
- There will be more extreme events such as droughts, storms and floods.
- Trends of increasing temperature, sea-level rise, and increased precipitation will intensify.
- The global sea level rise is anticipated to be between 14 cm and 80 cm, with a mid-range estimate of about half a meter.
- Glaciers and polar ice will continue to melt.
- A National Assessment was recently completed by the United States Global Change Research Program (see: http://www.nacc.usgcrp.gov/). A separate assessment for the Mid-Atlantic examines the impacts of climate change on the New York City metropolitan region, including Northern New Jersey (see: http://www.nacc.usgcrp.gov/regions/midatlantic/).
"Because of its foresight, the endorsement of the DEP plan by 56 college presidents is a milestone in the history of New Jersey higher education," said Wheeler. "This action will serve as a model for the nation."
NJHEPS presented the Council with a resolution calling for support of the DEP plan that the Presidents then voted to endorse. Subsequent to this, 56 presidents individually signed a "Covenant of Sustainability" committing their respective institutions to the plan. NJHEPS is a coalition of 15 New Jersey campuses promoting sustainability. It has established ties to faculty, students, administrators and campus facilities operators around the state. NJHEPS is funded by the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation of Morristown, NJ.
56 Presidents* of New Jersey Higher Education Institutions
Having Signed the New Jersey Sustainability Greenhouse Gas Initiative
Dr. J. Michael Adams Fairleigh Dickinson University
Mr. William F. Anderson Gloucester County College
Dr. Ronald L. Applbaum Kean University
Dr. W. Sherrill Babb Philadelphia Biblical University, NJ Campus
Dr. John J. Bakum Middlesex County College
Dr. Peter F. Burnham Brookdale Community College
Mr. Robert M. Bocchino DeVry Institute
Dr. Stephanie M. Bennett-Smith Centenary College
Dr. Thomas H. Brown Union County College
Dr. Alice Chandler Ramapo College of New Jersey
Dr. Susan A. Cole Montclair State University
Dr. Peter B. Contini Salem Community College
Dr. Stuart D. Cook University of Medicine and Dentistry of N.J.
Dr. Phyllis DellaVecchia Camden County College
Dr. Vincent DeSanctis Warren County Community College
Dr. Kenneth L. Ender Cumberland County College
Dr. Vera King Farris The Richard Stockton College of New Jersey
Dr. Donald J. Farrish Rowan University
Dr. Saul K. Fenster New Jersey Institute of Technology
Dr. Glen E. Gabert Hudson County Community College
Dr. Thomas W. Gillespie Princeton Theological Seminary
Dr. R. Barbara Gitenstein The College of New Jersey
Dr. Bradley M. Gottfried Sussex County Community College
Mrs. Mary Jo Greco Gibbs College
Rabbi Moshe Herson Rabbinical College of America
Sr. Julitta Heinen Assumption College for Sisters
Dr. Carlos Hernandez New Jersey City University
Rev. Dr. Norman J. Kansfield New Brunswick Theological Seminary
Rabbi Aaron Kotler* Beth Medrash Govoha
Hon. Thomas H. Kean Drew University
Dr. Jon H. Larson Ocean County College
Dr. Francis L. Lawrence Rutgers University
Fr. James N. Loughran, S.J. St. Peters College
Dr. J. Barton Luedeke Rider University
Mr. Kevin Luing Berkeley College
Sr. Theresa Mary Martin Felician College
Dr. John T. May Atlantic Cape Community College
Dr. Robert C. Messina, Jr. Burlington County College
Dr. John F. Noonan Bloomfield College
Mr. Eric M. Perkins Mercer County Community College
Dr. George A. Pruitt Thomas Edison State College
Sr. Francis Raftery, S.C. College of St. Elizabeth
Dr. Harold J. Raveche Stevens Institute of Technology
Dr. Steven M. Rose Passaic County Community College
Dr. G. Jeremiah Ryan Raritan Valley Community College
Rabbi Yeruchim Shain Talmudical Academy
Dr. Harold T. Shapiro Princeton University
Msgr. Robert T. Sheeran Seton Hall University
Dr. Arnold Speert William Paterson University
Dr. Rebecca Stafford Monmouth University
Dr. Louis C. Vaccaro Georgian Court College
Rabbi Yitzchok Weintraub Rabbi Jacob Joseph School
Sr. Patrice Werner, OP Caldwell College
Dr. Judith K. Winn Bergen Community College
Dr. A. Zachery Yamba Essex County College
Dr. Edward J. Yaw County College of Morris
* Rabbi Hersons title is "Dean"; Rabbi Kotlers title is "Chief Executive Officer"; Rabbi Shains title is "Dean"; and Rabbi Weintraubs title is "Executive Director"
"New Jerseys campuses have made significant advances in energy efficiency," stated Dr. Saul Fenster, President of the New Jersey Institute of Technology, and Vice Chair of the Council. "Those efficiency gains translate into emissions reductions which are not only good for the environment, but make sense economically."
"The states greenhouse gas reduction goal can only be achieved through implementation of cost-effective strategies and technologies through a public and private sector partnership," said DEP Commissioner Bob Shinn. "I commend all of the institutions represented here today, especially those which have already taken steps to address this global problem and are helping to prove that this is indeed a realistic plan with achievable goals. The commitment of New Jersey colleges and universities to this goal is even more significant due to their role in the education of future generations. I am delighted to see this initiative will be used to train the next generation of architects and engineers in sustainable building design."
"Its good to see this initiative take root," stated former Governor and now Drew University President Tom Kean. "I whole heartedly support the current administrations efforts in this area and believe they can have a lasting impact."
"Per unit energy consumption has decreased on the campuses, in some cases dramatically," said Dr. Jim Quigley, NJHEPS Executive Director. He pointed to examples of cogeneration plants that have been constructed at Rutgers and Princeton Universities, and at The College of New Jersey.
Other examples of energy conservation are a set of fuel cells at Ramapo College and a substantial geothermal installation at Richard Stockton College. Most New Jersey campuses have made improvements in lighting efficiency and heating, ventilation, and air conditioning equipment.
"These are major developments that can be credited with having avoided tens of thousands of tons of carbon dioxide emissions," said Quigley. "But, we know theres a long way to go."
New Jerseys action plan calls for reducing greenhouse gas emissions by about 20 million tons (from the projected 151 million tons in 2005 to the goal of 131 million tons by that date) through initiatives in five areas: energy conservation, pollution prevention, innovative technologies, recycling and solid waste management and natural resource protection. If nothing is done, emissions are projected to rise 6 percent annually.
Specifically, the plan would achieve a 6.2 million ton reduction through energy conservation initiatives in residential, commercial and industrial buildings, another 6.3 million ton reduction through innovative technologies in residential, commercial and industrial buildings, a 2.2 million ton reduction through energy conservation and innovative technologies in the transportation sector, a 4.5 million ton reduction through waste management improvements, and a half million ton reduction through natural resource conservation.
Examples include: proper car maintenance to improve fuel efficiency, greater use of mass transit and alternate fueled vehicles, use of more energy efficient appliances in the home, use of more efficient commercial and residential heating and cooling systems, lighting system upgrades in commercial establishments, use of fuel cells in industrial and commercial settings, greater recycling to reduce waste generation, tree planting to reduce carbon dioxide levels, and reducing or using energy lost through inefficient industrial processes. One study showed that in New Jersey, 21 percent of energy designated for use in industrial activities is wasted due to inefficient processes.
New Jersey produces about 2 percent of the nations greenhouse gases, approximately 130 million tons a year. It is the first to sign an agreement with a foreign nation the Netherlands to work jointly on climate change issues to reduce sea-level rise.