NJ To Require All-Electric Cars, 100% Clean Energy By 2035
Gov. Phil Murphy made the announcement during a speech at Rutgers University, moving up the state's goal by a lofty 15 years.
Megan VerHelst,Patch Staff
Posted Wed, Feb 15, 2023 at 1:59 pm ET|Updated Wed, Feb 15, 2023 at 2:26 pm ET
Gov. Phil Murphy on Wednesday announced the state will move up its goal to reach 100 percent clean energy by 15 years and require all new cars sold in the state to be electric by 2035. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)
NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ — Gov. Phil Murphy on Wednesday announced the state will move up its goal to reach 100 percent clean energy by 15 years — an initiative that will also require new cars sold in the state to be all-electric by 2035.
Murphy made the announcement during a speech at Rutgers University. The decision to move the state's 100 percent clean energy goal from 2050 to 2035 was among six environmental actions Murphy plans to enact to achieve the "Next New Jersey," he said.
"These bold targets and carefully crafted initiatives signal our unequivocal commitment to swift and concrete climate action today," Murphy said in a statement. "We've turned our vision for a greener tomorrow into a responsible and actionable roadmap to guide us, and it's through that pragmatic, evidence-based approach that we will ultimately arrive at our destination."
Murphy signed three executive orders Wednesday aimed at combatting climate change. Among the state's goal to reach 100 percent clean energy by 2035, one order calls for the installation of zero-emission heating and cooling systems in 10 percent of all low-to-moderate income residential properties by 2030.
Another order calls for the state Board of Public Utilities to research the possibility of a natural gas utility in New Jersey.
Find out what's happening in Morris Township-Morris Plainswith free, real-time updates from Patch.
The move to require all-electric cars by 2035 is among some of the most aggressive actions taken to tackle climate change in the nation.
In August, California Gov. Gavin Newsom officially banned the sale of new gasoline-powered cars in the Golden State by 2035. The mandate requires all new vehicles to have zero emissions and be free of fossil fuel emissions.
The California Air Resources Board will require 35 percent of new passenger vehicles sold in the state by 2026 to produce zero emissions. By 2030, that number will climb to 68 percent.
"The climate crisis is solvable if we focus on the big, bold steps necessary to stem the tide of carbon pollution," Newsom said in a statement.
Murphy's announcement comes a month after he lost the title of "America's Greenest Governor" in a progress report card released by the New Jersey League of Conservation Voters.
In its report, the group said that while Murphy has made "significant progress in the clean energy space," his work is overshadowed by other states.
Since Murphy earned the title, Maryland’s new governor Wes Moore pledged to achieve a 100 percent clean energy transition by 2035, and Illinois Gov. J.B Pritzker signed into law the Climate and Equitable Jobs Act, which sets a target of 2045.
"With other states adopting clean energy goals that outpace New Jersey, we urge Governor Murphy to ensure that our state fully transitions to 100% clean energy by 2035," Tom Gilbert, co-executive director of the New Jersey Conservation Foundation, said in January.
Murphy's announcement also comes the same week a group of 20 lawmakers threw their support behind an effort to put the brakes on a proposed natural gas power plant in Newark.
Newark Mayor Ras Baraka was among those to sign a letter to Gov. Phil Murphy this week, expressing their “strong opposition” to the Passaic Valley Sewerage Commission’s proposed methane gas-fired power plant.
Get more local news delivered straight to your inbox. Sign up for free Patch newsletters and alerts.