April 22, 2019

Mayor Bhalla signs Executive Order adopting Hoboken's Climate Action Plan

On Earth Day, Mayor Ravi S. Bhalla signed an Executive Order adopting Hoboken’s Climate Action Plan, which commits the City to achieving carbon neutrality by 2050. Mayor Bhalla outlined several steps Hoboken will take to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and combat climate change as recommended by the Climate Action Plan, many of which will result in cost savings to residents. Mayor Bhalla also reaffirmed Hoboken’s commitment to exceeding the goals of the Paris Agreement.

“Hoboken knows first-hand the devastation caused by storms like Superstorm Sandy, which will only become more frequent due to rising sea levels,” said Mayor Bhalla. “Now, more than ever, it is up to local governments to take the lead in combatting climate change. Our Climate Action Plan demonstrates that we are ready, willing and able to reduce emissions, minimize our carbon footprint, and take forward thinking steps to sustain coastal communities like Hoboken for future generations.”

The Executive Order signing took place at Black Rail Coffee in Hoboken, a recognized Hoboken Green Business that was one of the first to adopt the free composting option introduced by the City. Black Rail Coffee was also enthusiastically behind Hoboken’s ban on single-use plastic bags, and is styrofoam free.

Hoboken’s Climate Action Plan, which can be viewed in full by clicking here, calls for achieving net zero as a City by 2030 and carbon neutrality by 2050, both exceeding the goals set by the Paris Agreement.  The plan, which includes methods both the City and residents can achieve cost savings, establishes achievable goals and targets for greenhouse gas emission reduction for government operations and as a City overall. The City’s progress will be evaluated through benchmarks every five years.

The adopted Climate Action Plan calls for the following priorities to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050:

• Introducing an affordable renewable energy purchasing program for homeowners to utilize wind and/or solar electricity
• Implementing electric vehicle charging stations across the City (Hoboken recently was awarded funding through the State for up to 14 EV charging stations)
• Creating Hoboken’s own community solar program, allowing low-moderate income residents to utilize solar energy from other parts of the State even if they can not install solar panels on their homes
• Replacing street and traffic lights with LED energy efficient lighting
• Phasing in hybrid and electric vehicles for municipal fleet

Hoboken has already implemented some recommendations of the Climate Action Plan, including:

• Purchasing 100% renewable electricity for municipal facilities (went into effect April, 2019)
• Installing energy efficient upgrades in 11 municipal buildings, resulting in cost savings of over $100,000 per year
• Making the local HOP Bus service free of charge

Under Mayor Bhalla and former Mayor Dawn Zimmer, the City has also taken a number of steps to combat climate change and benefit the local environment.

• Expanded composting to include free pickup for schools and businesses, and free drop off for residents
• Introduced alternative transportation options to reduce dependencies on traditional vehicles that produce emissions, including bike share, car share, and scooter share (to launch next month, pending state legislation), along with a complete streets program that emphasizes safe accommodation for pedestrians, bicyclists, and transit riders
• Introduced Green Business recognition program, to encourage businesses to implement environmentally friendly practices including composting
• Launched single-use plastic bag ban, reducing pollution and dependency on environmentally unfriendly and non-biodegradable plastic bags
• Increased open space by 11 acres of new City parks, many with infrastructure to help reduce localized flooding, including New Jersey’s first resiliency park at the Southwest Park. Hoboken will break ground on the 5 acre Northwest Park by the end of this year.
• Initiated microgrid project, with installation on Washington Street, for backup power to critical and community facilities in case of emergencies

Additionally, at the executive order signing, Mayor Bhalla pledged to introduce policies to encourage alternative transportation, including the implementation of additional bike lane striping and protected bike lanes, and expanding free Hop bus service. Mayor Bhalla also pledged to implement a full ban on all carry-out plastic bags, as well as explore a ban on syrofoam at local businesses in Hoboken.  

The City of Hoboken also continues to move forward on the $230 million Rebuild by Design project to comprehensively protect the City from storms like Superstorm Sandy, which will become more frequent due to rising sea levels.

“The City’s Climate Action Plan, with its two-pronged emphasis on adaptation and mitigation, puts Hoboken at the forefront of what cities can do to combat climate change,” said Councilman and Hoboken Green Team member Jim Doyle. “Our goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions with an aggressive window through becoming a net zero city and achieving carbon neutrality is the progressive path forward toward achieving that goal.”

“It is critical for cities like Hoboken to lead when it comes to climate change because they are on the front lines in the fight to combat the impact of storm surges and sea level rise,” said Jeff Tittel, Director of the New Jersey Sierra Club. “They have set an important goal towards working to achieve 100% renewable and 0 carbon. With this Climate Action Plan, Hoboken is one of the leaders on a national level to fight climate change. The city is not only mitigating climate impacts but protecting their beautiful parks fighting to create a waterfront greenway against special interests. They are also leading the state in banning single use plastics. We thank Mayor Bhalla and the City Council for adopting such a progressive Climate Action Plan and moving forward on a cleaner and greener city. They are model for other cities in New Jersey and across the country.”

“We're thrilled to have worked alongside the Hoboken government to spearhead this climate action plan, and we're ready to keep fighting to make it even more ambitious going forward,” said Michael Watson from the Climate Mobilization.