Connecticut on track to meet 2020 target, but needs a detailed plan for 2050
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, June 6, 2014
Laura McMillan: 203-787-0646 x137
Sarah Ganong: 203-787-0646 x128
New Haven, Ct. – Connecticut Fund for the Environment welcomed a long-awaited report released today by the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection that describes Connecticut’s progress on meeting its climate goals. The report, titled “Taking Action on Climate Change: 2014 Progress Report,” is one of a series of publications required by the state’s 2008 greenhouse gas reduction law.
“Today’s report has encouraging findings about Connecticut’s progress thus far on reducing greenhouse gas emissions, but it also shows just how far we have to go,” said Lauren Savidge, staff attorney and energy specialist at CFE. “We commend the governor and Commissioner Klee on taking major steps on a key provision of our climate law, and look forward to working closely with DEEP, our state legislators, and partners in the private sector to ensure the state stays on track to reach its 2020 targets on time.”
“Going forward, we hope to see a plan to meet our 2050 goals, with innovative strategies, projections and detailed quantifications of the reductions they’re expected to produce, and a plan for public input,” Savidge said.
Public Act 08-98, known as the Global Warming Solutions Act (GWSA), was passed in 2008 with strong support from CFE and fellow members of the Stop Global Warming CT Coalition. It requires the state to reduce its total emissions of greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide and methane to at least 10 percent below 1990 emission levels by 2020, and to at least 80 percent below 2001 levels by 2050. At the time, Connecticut was one of only a handful of states that had committed to concrete carbon dioxide reductions in a specific time frame. The others were California, Hawaii, Maryland, Massachusetts, and New Jersey.
The bill also requires DEEP to issue a series of reports on Connecticut’s progress toward the goals. The first report, issued in January 2010, was an inventory of Connecticut’s greenhouse gas emissions that set the baseline for future reductions. Other reports were to collect modeling scenarios for emissions reductions and evaluate their economic and environmental benefits, and to analyze and recommend various reduction strategies. Every three years beginning in 2012, the state was to issue an updated schedule of recommended actions to meet the reduction targets and to accept public comment on that schedule.
The report released today includes some aspects of those reports. It summarizes steps taken so far, including:
- The greenhouse gas inventory;
- The Comprehensive Energy Strategy issued in 2013 and updates to the state’s Renewable Portfolio Standard;
- Positive impacts on power plant emissions and funding created by the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative; and
- Improvements in transportation, including promotion of electric and zero-emission vehicles and the construction of CTfastrak.
The report does not include estimates of how much of Connecticut’s emissions reductions thus far are attributable to those activities and does not make projections about how much greenhouse gases will be avoided by continuing them.
The report quantifies the emissions targets for 2010 (achieved), 2020, and 2050, and states that DEEP will explore developing interim targets. Breakdowns of emissions trends by sector show where Connecticut is making good progress and where it will need to direct stronger efforts. It also highlights some specific deliverables over the next few years around climate preparedness and resiliency, a positive measure not covered by the GWSA.
“Connecticut needs a firm plan to reach our legally-mandated 2050 target. A detailed plan with short- and long-term goals will create exciting opportunities for innovation and economic growth while cleaning our air and mitigating climate damage. With commitment from lawmakers, policy implementers, and private enterprise, we can cut emissions, grow our clean energy sector, save money for ratepayers, and keep Connecticut a national leader on climate,” Savidge said.