Gov. Lamont’s executive order on climate & resiliency

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

September 3, 2019

Contact: Laura McMillan – lmcmillan@ctenvironment.org – 203-787-0646

CFE/Save the Sound applauds Lamont order on climate

NEW HAVEN, CONN.—At a midday climate forum in Hartford, Governor Ned Lamont issued an executive order re-establishing the Governor’s Council on Climate Change and expanding its membership and scope. It also directs the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection to recommend strategies for eliminating carbon emissions from the electric sector by 2040. This is the third of Lamont’s executive orders, two of which have dealt with climate issues.

“Connecticut’s shoreline and inland communities cannot afford a ‘set it and forget it’ mentality on the state’s climate targets; this order recognizes that combating climate change requires ongoing planning and innovation,” said Charles Rothenberger, climate and energy attorney for Connecticut Fund for the Environment/Save the Sound. “Re-convening the Governor’s Council on Climate Change, and adding agencies and stakeholders who provide vital input, will help ensure that the state implements the policies needed to achieve its 2030 and 2050 climate mandates while guiding Connecticut towards a more resilient future. Analyzing how to get to a zero carbon electric sector by 2040 will spur increased innovation and investment in renewable energy and efficiency.”

“While we continue to fight off the worst impacts of climate change by shifting from dirty fossil fuels to renewable energy and from pollution-spewing cars and trucks to cleaner electric vehicles, it’s equally important to prepare for the impacts that our state is already feeling and those we know are coming,” said Bill Lucey, Soundkeeper for Connecticut Fund for the Environment/Save the Sound. “Developing, funding, and implementing resiliency techniques like living shorelines, green infrastructure, data-driven urban planning, and protecting natural landscapes will help our state cope with climate change impacts. This order brings to the fore the latest research from economists, scientists, and engineers, and acknowledges that resiliency planning is not a luxury, it is an urgent necessity.”

The order re-forms the Council, originally established by Governor Dan Malloy in 2015, and asks it to track implementation progress of the Council’s 2018 greenhouse gas reduction strategies report, to issue new recommendations as needed to meet Connecticut climate targets, and to produce an updated Adaptation and Resilience Plan for the state. It directs state agencies to inventory vulnerable assets and operations—for instance, infrastructure that could be damaged by strong storms—and directs the Council to report on how climate adaptation strategies align with other Connecticut state strategy documents on energy sourcing, water management, and land conservation.

Toward this end, Lamont’s order encourages the formation of subcommittees on Climate Mitigation (i.e., avoiding the worst impacts) and Climate Adaptation and Resiliency (adjusting to changes and preparing for storms and sea level rise), and makes Connecticut’s SAFR Council (a partnership of agencies and organizations fostering coastal resilience in targeted communities) a subcommittee. It also adds representatives from the Departments of Public Health, Agriculture, and Emergency Services and Public Protection; state legislators and municipal leaders; and representatives from health, equity, affordability, and/or environmental justice organizations.

“We must take stock and start planning how our communities will restore overbuilt shorelines to naturally wave-buffering dune, marsh, and reef, invest in wastewater and stormwater management projects to prevent flooding and sewage releases, and establish resilient electric grids that will keep the lights on. Without this preparation, our regional economy and public health will be at risk—as will our most vulnerable neighbors,” said Lucey.

“We look forward to continuing to work with the Governor’s Council on Climate Change—both in developing and advocating for the critical climate policies Connecticut needs, and assisting in implementation that will prepare our communities for the future,” said Rothenberger.

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