This week, the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection announced that it had awarded a total of $24.3 million in Natural Climate Solutions Grants to local governments and nonprofit organisations across the state to create, restore, and enhance green spaces and tree canopies in urban areas, salt marshes, and forests.
Governor Murphy recently announced the creation of the 2024 Energy Master Plan, accelerating New Jersey’s climate goals to achieve a 100 percent clean energy economy by 2050.
The projects supported by this $24.3 million investment are anticipated to sequester 32,710 metric tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (MTCO2e) by 2050.
Carbon sequestration refers to the process by which plants absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere through photosynthesis and store it in woody biomass and plant-derived soil organic carbon.
While carbon sequestration is a naturally occurring process on land and in aquatic ecosystems, humans may help preserve and increase carbon sequestration capacity to lessen the consequences of climate change further.
Improved land management practises, such as reforestation (planting trees to support forest regeneration), urban community forestry (street tree planting), afforestation (planting trees on land that has been used for other purposes), and protecting tidal marshes from erosion, are prime examples of ways to promote carbon sequestration. As tidal marshes and seagrass meadows store more carbon per unit area than terrestrial forests, the protection of coastal ecosystems is of utmost importance.
The projects announced this week are supported by the state’s participation in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, a multi-state market-based initiative that sets a regional cap on carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuel power facilities.