Union County News

Union County Freeholders Opt in to Paris Climate Agreement

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A heron in Lake Surprise, located in Watchung Reservation. Credits: Courtesy of Union County Office of Public Information
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UNION COUNTY, NJ — President Donald Trump may have opted out of the Paris Agreement, a global response to climate change, but the Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders has opted in.

The county is the first in the state to join the We Are Still In campaign, a collection of mayors, governors, colleges, businesses and investors, who have committed to adhering to the climate initiative.

“By joining the We Are Still In campaign the Freeholder Board affirms that County government supports their efforts,” Union County Freeholders Chairman Bruce Bergen said in a statement. “The Freeholder Board will also continue seeking ways to reduce carbon emissions and promote sustainability programs at the County level.”

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The freeholders unanimously voted to participate in the campaign at its June 22 meeting, making Union County one of only a handful of counties to opt in nationwide.

The Paris Agreement is a voluntary international pact aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions and limiting global warming to less than two degrees Celsius. Each nation determines its own strategy to help curtail the effects of climate change.

Only two nations opted out of the Paris Agreement, Syria and Nicaragua. The initiative was created in December 2015.

“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 Union County Freeholder Vice Chairman Sergio Granados in a statement. “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 freeholders said Union County has provided financial assistance for municipal treescapes, green purchasing policies for cleaner vehicles, solar installations, LEED building standards, energy efficiency upgrades and more. Recycling programs have also been expanded, the freeholders said.

A number of college and universities in New Jersey recently took the We Are Still In pledge, including Kean University, which is also in Union County.

The We Are Still In campaign was started by former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg to provide non-federal groups with a platform for supporting the Paris Agreement.

For more information about Union County environmental programs and activities for the public, visit The Green Connection website.

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