Climate change is happening faster, and more intensely than previously predicted. To cut pollution and create the clean energy jobs of the future, Connecticut needs clear plans backed up by concrete action. Unfortunately the state is falling behind its legal obligations for 2020, but Save the Sound is working hard to ensure Connecticut protects the air you breathe, the communities you live in, and the climate that sustains us all.
With your help, Connecticut can once again become a leader in driving clean energy, the key tool to combating climate change.
Here are the key legal frameworks and processes that help keep the state on track—and how you can help.
The laws and plans:
Global Warming Solutions Act
The Global Warming Solutions Act, passed in 2008 through Save the Sound’s and allies’ advocacy, is Connecticut’s central climate commitment. It requires the state to reduce its total greenhouse gas emissions to at least 10 percent below 1990 levels by 2020, and to at least 80 percent below 2001 levels by 2050.
But the gap between these targets is far too long. We’re working to strengthen accountability by fighting for interim targets that will drive emissions down in stages. The state cannot afford to wait until 2049 to discover it’s not on track for 2050.
Comprehensive Energy Strategy
Every three years, the Department of Energy & Environmental Protection (DEEP) issues a Comprehensive Energy Strategy to assess and plan for all of the state’s energy needs, including the electric, transportation, and building sectors.
The last update in 2018 extended the Renewable Portfolio Standard past 2020 and strengthened the proposed increase in how much electricity distribution companies must get from renewable sources, from 30 percent to 40 percent by 2030. It also allowed shared solar to compete in a proposed auction structure, acknowledged the worthwhile goal of using shared solar to help reducing the energy burden of low-income customers and small businesses, and reduced reliance on natural gas and other fossil fuels.
Renewable Portfolio Standard
Connecticut’s Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) requires electric providers to obtain a certain percentage of the energy they generate or sell from renewable sources. The framework needs to be updated and extended beyond 2020 to meet the state’s climate goals and drive investment in renewable energy.
Connecticut is a member of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, a cap-and-trade agreement among the Northeast states which sets a cap climate-damaging emissions from power plants. For the last decade, RGGI has been auctioning emissions allowances and dividing the proceeds among member states. Connecticut reinvests much of its share in energy efficiency and clean energy programs. RGGI investments have saved the state millions in energy costs, saved lives by cutting air pollution, and created thousands of jobs in building efficiency.
Where state decisions are made:
Governor’s Council on Climate Change
On Earth Day 2015, Governor Dannel Malloy created the Governor’s Council on Climate Change, charged with developing mid-term targets and specific policy recommendations to ensure Connecticut meets its climate commitments on time. Save the Sound is honored to be a member of the council, advocating for bold action and concrete plans.
The Public Utilities Regulatory Authority presides over critical energy proceedings such as electric rate structures (including compensating people for solar energy they produce), electric grid modernization, and ensuring utility business models are fair.
The Connecticut General Assembly’s Energy & Technology Committee has jurisdiction over energy planning. Save the Sound partners with legislative champions and fellow organizations to advance key bills that move the state towards a brighter clean energy future. Our members and activists play a critical role by showing legislators that their constituents demand climate action.
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