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Climate Change

Is it real? It’s a question for Earth Day... and every day.

Wide swaths of bayside and inland river systems in Cumberland County are susceptible to flooding.
by Mickey Brandt
Photography by Mickey Brandt

No doubt about it: Climate change is a controversial issue. In recognition of Earth Day, SNJ Today has assembled widespread viewpoints about climate change, from local interviews as well as published material on the topic.

What do you think about climate change?
“There’s no snow, nothing but rain and all the flooding is so bad for the farmers. It will never get back to normal, it’s just like taxes, it just goes up.”  —Linda, Pittsgrove
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“I don’t believe in it; people are the ones creating this interest. Don’t they realize the world rotates and the world takes care of itself?” —Edgar, Vineland
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“This was supposed to happen a hundred years in the future. I’m (mad) that it’s happening now instead; I hate the flooding. I live on the river; it was supposed to be relaxing. —Davide, Bridgeton
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Elliot Lewis, Laurel Lake
Elliot Lewis, Laurel Lake

“I think it’s a big hoax. I can’t believe people … buy into this nonsense. It’s really just about control and another way to get money out of people’s pockets…. I think Mother Nature and God know more about this than man is ever going to know.”   —Elliot Lewis, Laurel Lake

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“Somebody’s not doing the job they are supposed to do. Too much stuff goes up in the air. We have no snow. In the past, we’d have snow up to the windowsills. I guess it is what it is—people can’t control anything.” —Ruthie, Bridgeton
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“The world is tired—it’s trying to correct itself; it’s a living organism. This is a natural thing that’s happening. I think we’re coming to the end (time).”
—Jim, Cape May County
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“I believe global warming is real, but we are adapting. They have science on it, all about living in a changed world. There was a NOVA show on a few weeks ago. Scientists drilled in the Arctic (ice)and learned about previous periods of warming and how we were able to survive them. We shouldn’t set our hair on fire about this. We can’t control the future but we can learn to live with climate change. There are plants being planned that operate better in hot weather, for example.
I’m an optimist and feel hopeful. We don’t give people enough credit, most of us are upbeat and hopeful, despite what you hear.” —Rose B., Cape May County
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John Wallace, Oswego, NY
John Wallace, Oswego, NY

“I live in upper New York state. We used to get 20 inches of snow, now it’s five. Kids today don’t even know what it’s like to shovel in a real snowstorm. …government action on climate change has utterly failed.”  —John Wallace, Oswego, NY

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“We failed our children by letting them learn that man-made global warming is settled science. The U.S. has massive debt now without verifying that man-made global warming really exists. Biden claims that they’re following the science but they’re not—if there was any science to support man-made global warming, Biden wouldn’t have disguised the new green deal by calling it the Inflation Reduction Act. —Robert V.
What Some Influencers and Organization Leaders Are Stating:
“Is there global warming? Of course. There is also global cooling. It happens in nature in cycles. I can remember in the 1970s these same types of ‘scientists’ were predicting us going into a ‘mini Ice Age.’
We can see how absurd this issue has become. As I have said before, mankind is a mere tiny pimple on the vast glorious body of this universe that God created. Yet he thinks he can change or even affect the climate. What arrogance! Man wants to be the “Big Cheese” and thinks he is in control. He does not want to bow down to the God of creation who in fact is in total control.”
—Andrew Borisuk, in a letter to the NJ Herald
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“The continuing impacts of climate change mean our state is experiencing more severe weather conditions, storms, wind and drought that can result in a longer wildfire season, which is why it is more important than ever that the public exercise caution and take steps to help protect their homes and property.”
—Shawn M. LaTourette, NJ Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner
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“Anyone who dares to disagree with the so-called ‘scientific consensus’ on climate change is branded a ‘denier,’ just as if he or she were a religious heretic…
Why are modern liberals so eager to shut off scientific debate about climate change? Is climate change just a liberal religion that Democrats preach to guilt people into voting for them? Millions of Americans are now asking themselves those same questions. The science is not settled. Climate change really could be a hoax after all.”
—Chris Kaufman, critic of NJ Climate Change Resource Center
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“There is no conclusive evidence that climate change is happening.  The changes in measured temperatures are part of the natural cycle. Climate change and CO2 are good. The scale of climate change is not sufficiently large to take action beyond sensible least-cost measures. The economic impact of making substantial cuts in greenhouse gas emissions on the scale suggested by the IPCC and other groups is too large.”
—Institute for Energy Research
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“New Jersey is in a climate emergency, caused and exacerbated by use of fossil fuels.  Emissions from those fuels are responsible for the suffering of New Jersey residents with pulmonary diseases and cancer. For a decade, scientists and engineers have been testing the feasibility of wind farms and assessing the possible impacts on wildlife. For the sake of our state, it is time to stop the misrepresentations. The development of offshore wind energy must move ahead.”
—Anne Poole, president, New Jersey Environmental Lobby

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“I fish a lot. Some of the fish we used to catch around here are gone, they’ve left for cooler water. We now get fish that used to be in the Carolinas, even Florida. Look at Maine: The lobsters are going north; it’s ruining the harvests.”
—Glenn Barsotti, Pittsgrove

“I definitely think there’s a shift. The seasons don’t feel the same.
—Susan Lyons, Marlton

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New Jersey Ranks 24th Greenest State

Source: WalletHub

With Earth Day around the corner and the U.S. having experienced $92.9 billion in damage from weather and climate disasters during 2023, the personal-finance website WalletHub released its report on 2024’s Greenest States (, as well as some expert commentary.

WalletHub posed these two questions to an expert in our region—Jordan P. Howell, Ph.D., MBA; associate professor; director, Rowan Center for Responsible Leadership, Rowan University.

Is there an inherent tradeoff between protecting the environment and promoting economic growth?

“I argue no, in my classes and my research. We already know what we need to do regarding most of the environmental problems we face, we just have to implement the solutions. You do not have to try that hard to see that transitioning towards a ‘greener’ economy is a major growth opportunity for businesses, estimated in the trillions of dollars by some estimates. So that alone should inspire confidence in businesses, government, and the public alike. One major consideration is recognizing that most green solutions do not necessarily require immediate and radical changes. These types of things—banning gas vehicles, gas stoves, etc.—make people nervous and opposed to finding solutions to environmental issues. Incremental progress is still progress and if we continually improve our environmental performance, eventually the ‘green’ option will become the default….with lots of economic growth along the way.”

What is the single most impactful thing an individual can do to reduce their effect on the environment?

“First, I want to say that I think there has been way too much pressure on the individual consumer to ‘fix’ environmental problems. Many of the biggest issues we face are systemic, but people are made to feel as though they as individuals are responsible for a given problem and they must fix the problem. Having said that, clearly, we are not powerless as individuals. I think the biggest thing any one person can do is to be a more ‘conscious consumer’—do you really need to buy that new thing? Can you buy it used (maybe saving money and environmental resources)? What if you paid a little bit more for a higher quality ‘thing’ that will last longer and perform better? Would it really be that bad if you ate less meat, or committed to a vegetarian diet for a few days a week (along with all the other health benefits)? Perhaps if we all make these types of incremental changes, collectively we improve lots of areas of environment, social impact, and economic growth too.”’

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Governor Murphy on Climate Change

Excerpted from the preamble to one of the governor’s recent executive orders on climate change and fossil fuels:

WHEREAS, global atmospheric warming, driven largely by human activities that emit greenhouse gases and other climate pollutants, is leading to significant changes in climate patterns here in New Jersey and around the world, presenting an existential threat to residents of New Jersey and their health, communities, businesses, environment, and way of life; and

WHEREAS, traditional methods of energy production that rely on the burning of fossil fuels release harmful emissions of greenhouse gases, which contribute to global climate change; and

WHEREAS, New Jersey’s overburdened communities disproportionately bear the burdens of climate change; and

WHEREAS, it is the policy of this State that, as a key part of its efforts to curtail the serious impacts of global climate change caused by greenhouse gas emissions, New Jersey must pursue an equitable and smooth transition to clean and renewable energy sources while building a stronger and fairer economy.

—Gov. Phil Murphy, excerpted from the climate change bill presented to, and recently passed by, the legislature