UPDATED Kramer: Township To Host Climate Summit In October

Mayor Phillip Kramer announced that the township will host a climate change summit for elected officials in October. (File photo.)

Update: The Mayor’s Summit has been postponed to either late January or early February, Mayor Phil Kramer said Sept. 26.

Kramer said many of the people he was inviting to the event, originally scheduled for Oct. 7, said they could not attend because they would be campaigning, and that they wished it could be held another day.

In light of that, Kramer said, the event was postponed.

Kramer said the Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy at Rutgers University will probably host the event.

“Having the school involved will be a great asset,” he said.

Original Story: The township will host a Mayor’s Summit on Climate Change on Oct. 7.

Mayor Phil Kramer is organizing the event along with Ed Potosnak, executive director of the township-based New Jersey League of Conservation Voters and president of the Board of Education.

Kramer announced the summit at the Aug. 8 Township Council meeting.

Kramer said the impetus for the summit was the decision by Pres. Donald Trump to remove the United States from the 2016 Paris Climate Accord designed to mitigate greenhouse gas emission, which is seen as a contributor to climate change.

Kramer said the initial plan is to hold the summit in the Municipal Building, but the auditorium at Franklin High School has been reserved in case registration warrants it.

“All elected officials are invited,” he said at the meeting. Topics to be discussed will include “the current state of the planet, also things we can do locally. Things that we might do to lower the carbon footprint of the town. I’m very excited about that,” he said.

Kramer said that while the original idea was to have the summit attended only by elected officials, if space allows, “we could have the public in as spectators.”

“The idea is to get elected officials together to try to come up with ideas,” he said.

In a separate interview, Kramer said that he hoped officials leaving the summit would have ideas of things they cold do in their communities.

“One idea is, if you’re putting up solar, you automatically get an expedited permitting process” rather than the current policy of paying for the expedited service, he said.

“We’re also looking into the battery systems in police cars, so that when they’re sitting on the side of roads, they don’t have to have their engines idling,” Kramer said.

Kramer said he’s also looking into whether a solar farm could be constructed on available land.

“I just want to get mayors together to get some ideas out,” he said. “If this happens around the country, then the U.S. stepping out of the Paris Accords might wind up being an overall positive if towns work on their own to get those things accomplished, as opposed to sitting back and letting the country do it.”

Kramer said that although the summit was his idea, Potosnak “gets a huge credit for it. “With his organization, he has the machinery to make this work.”

Potosnak said with the federal government stepping away from the climate agreement, “municipalities are now at the forefront to confront this significant challenge.”

“Mayors, members of council, administrators and others interested in making meaningful progress towards combating climate change and reducing air pollution will come together in an unprecedented gathering to share actionable steps they can take to have a meaningful impact,” he said. “As a resident of Franklin, as well as environmentalist, I could not be more proud. Mayor Kramer has taken this bold step to inviting every mayor in the Garden State to unite in the face of the serious threat climate change poses to our families and businesses.”

Potosnak said Sustainable New Jersey and other environmental organizations are also partnering for the summit.


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