Hartford, CT – In a press conference this morning, Governor Ned Lamont announced an executive order putting forward the 23 recommendations made by the Governor’s Council on Climate Change in their January 2021 report, Taking Action on Climate Change and Building a More Resilient Connecticut for All.
The recommendations are designed to decrease greenhouse gas emissions and make our state more resilient to the impacts of climate change.
The 23 actions address climate change in the areas of buildings and infrastructure; clean transportation; community climate resilience; health, equity and environmental justice; jobs and the economy; and natural and working lands. Save the Sound strongly endorses this call.
Charles Rothenberger, Save the Sound climate and energy attorney, said: “We are pleased that Governor Lamont’s Executive Order addresses many of the actions that the state itself can be doing to address climate change. Adopting vehicle miles traveled reduction targets by DOT, making greenhouse gas reductions a core consideration in State Building Code updates, and establishing new administrative entities to focus on environmental justice will be instrumental in meeting Connecticut’s economy-wide greenhouse reduction obligations in an equitable manner that accelerates the clean energy economy and reduces climate-related public health impacts.”
“However, the devil will be in the details of how this suite of proposed actions is implemented. We look forward to working with the administration to ensure that the directives result in robust, real-world emissions reductions. For example, while we applaud the adoption of a 100% electric bus fleet by 2035, a 100% EV mandate for the state’s light-duty vehicle fleet is equally essential to our continued progress in reducing transportation sector greenhouse gas emissions. The state has an excellent opportunity to lead by example in the regard. We see similar opportunities in the inclusion of EV make-ready standards and the elimination of fossil fuel equipment in new construction as part of necessary updates to the state building code–standards which, while not included in the Order, should be the natural consequence of reducing greenhouse gas emissions through the building code.
“Additionally, we must not lose sight of the continued need for strong action on climate by the legislature, and we urge the General Assembly to make addressing the climate crisis a central focus of the upcoming legislative session.”
Anthony Allen, Save the Sound assistant director of ecological restoration, said: “We know that when we invest time, attention, and funds in the protection and restoration of natural systems, we are also investing in the health and resilience of our communities and local economies. Assuming that state agencies (particularly DEEP), community groups, and vulnerable municipalities will be funded and staffed appropriately to make the work outlined in this executive order possible, our Ecological Restoration team recognizes it as a significant step in the right direction. Nature-based solutions are a powerful tool for advancing resilience and environmental justice in the face of climate change, and we look forward to working with our many community partners, as well as those at DEEP, DOT, and other agencies, to make them our first and favorite tool for everything from culvert replacement to living shoreline construction.”
Bill Lucey, Save the Sound Long Island Soundkeeper, said: “This powerful Order is a comprehensive set of guidelines to rapidly enhance Connecticut’s resiliency in the face of the intensifying effects of climate change, recognizing the socioeconomic threats as well as fortifying our natural environment.”