Damaged trees in Stonington in the wake of a significant storm, which is happening more often resulting from climate change
Damaged trees in Stonington in the wake of a serious storm, which is happening more often resulting from climate change

Save the Sound, a nonprofit focused on fighting climate change, released their new climate action plan in order to show Connecticut legislators the importance of passing climate initiatives this session. 

The action plan, written in partnership with The Yale Center on Climate Change and Health, says that Connecticut is falling behind in its efforts to meet the greenhouse gas emission, or GHG, goals the legislature set in 2008 through the Global Warming Solutions Act.

“As we backslide, very real climate impacts continue to hammer our residents: more extreme heat days and accompanying respiratory issues, more frequent and severe storms, rising sea levels and increased floor events” the action plan says.

Charles Rothenberger, Save the Sound’s in-house Climate Energy attorney, said that the ultimate goal of the submitted action plan is to underscore the need for acceleration in the actions the legislation is taking in order to address climate change.

“We adopted the Global Warming Solutions Act in 2008, we need to update the plan. We need to accelerate the reductions in GHG emissions. Other jurisdictions have updated their plans and it’s time we do the same.” he said.

Save the Sound is based in New Haven and provides legislative advocacy, environmental monitoring, and hands-on volunteer efforts in order to protect Connecticut’s environment for people and animals alike.

“We fight climate change, save endangered lands, protect the Sound and its rivers, and work with nature to restore ecosystems.” the Save the Sound website says.

According to the document, the plan looks at the best practices and action steps around transportation, buildings, and electricity in order to “provide a short list of critical policies that our legislature should pass to ensure the state meets its GHG reduction targets in an equitable way.” 

Rothenberger said that the plan provides a “menu of options” for long-term and short-term goals legislators can choose from in order to reduce Connecticut’s carbon footprint.

There are a few bills currently being reviewed that include some key elements of the plan.

H.B. 5039 is a transportation bill that authorizes Connecticut to limit the emissions for medium and heavy duty vehicles. 

S.B. 10 would require the state to reach 100% net zero carbon emissions for electricity by 2040. 

“We will do as much as we can do today in order to get these things done, and will work during this session, between sessions and during the next session to ensure that climate change is a top priority for the Connecticut legislator,” Rothenberger said. 

Both bills have made it through committee and one is on the Senate calendar, while the other is receiving a fiscal note.