Union County, NJ – The Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders has approved a resolution signing the County on to the “We Are Still In” campaign in support of the Paris Agreement on climate change. The unanimous vote, which took place during the June 22 regular public meeting of the Freeholder Board, makes Union County the first county in New Jersey to join the campaign and one of only a handful nationwide.
“Many municipal governments and leading corporate citizens in Union County have adopted policies that help transition our economy to a more sustainable and healthful model,” said Chairman Bergen. “By joining the We Are Still In campaign the Freeholder Board affirms that County government supports their efforts. The Freeholder Board will also continue seeking ways to reduce carbon emissions and promote sustainability programs at the County level.”
The Paris Agreement is a voluntary international pact aimed at limiting global warming to less than two degrees Centigrade above pre-industrial levels, with the goal of preventing the catastrophic effects of climate change. Each nation determines its own strategy for attaining that goal.
“The Freeholder Board is proud to stand with the more than 1,200 governments, businesses and academic institutions that have formally pledged to continue supporting the Paris Agreement by signing on to the We Are Still In campaign,” said Vice Chairman Sergio Granados. “Taking action on climate change is a civic responsibility and a moral imperative in terms of the quality of life we bequeath to the next generation of County residents.”
The Paris Agreement launched in 2015 with the participation of every nation except Syria and Nicaragua. On June 1, 2017, President Trump announced that the United States would withdraw its participation.
The We Are Still In campaign was initiated by former New York City Mayor and business leader Michael Bloomberg to provide local and state governments, businesses and other non-federal entities with a platform for supporting the Paris Agreement.
“Union County has an incalculable stake in the success of the Paris Agreement,” explained Bergen. “As vividly demonstrated by hurricanes Sandy and Irene, we are especially vulnerable to the impacts of global warming due to our location in a coastal state, our role as a transportation hub and major seaport, and our history of inland flood issues.”
Supporting the Agreement is the latest in a series of proactive steps that Union County has taken to help preserve and protect the environment.
Examples over the past 20 years include expanded recycling programs, new education and public outreach initiatives, tree canopy enhancement including financial assistance for municipal treescapes, green purchasing policies that include cleaner vehicles, solar installations, LEED building standards, energy efficiency upgrades and new community and school garden initiatives that promote an appreciation for the health of the environment.
“Almost 100 years ago, Union County placed itself in the vanguard of counties working to preserve land for nature conservation and public recreation, and we established one of the first county-based public park systems in the nation,” said Bergen. “We honor that legacy by stepping up to lead the way on county-based engagement with climate action.”
For quick links to Union County environmental programs and activities for the public visit The Green Connection, ucnj.org/green-connection.
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