HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH)– The future of Connecticut’s environment and climate change are among the priorities Governor Ned Lamont outlined in his budget address last week. On Wednesday, he discussed plans for moving those initiatives forward.
“The science is clear, climate change is real, it is. People caused it and it has already impacted Connecticut’s climate,” said Katie Dykes.
DEEP Commissioner Katie Dykes making it plain, Connecticut’s environmental future is in jeopardy.
It’s why Governor Lamont is introducing three new bills this 2021 legislative session to address climate change, clean energy and prioritizing vulnerable communities disproportionately impacted.
“I’ve been struck as governor and as a citizen just extreme weather affect and what that means to our state and its citizens,” said Lamont.
The rise of the sea level over the course of the next 30 years is a real concern.
“We expect that means sea level rise in the Long Island Sound, could be up to 20 inches by 2050, and that will increase frequency of flooding in coastal areas,” said Dykes.
It’s part of Lamont’s plan — to equip coastal communities with the resources they need to respond to natural disasters like Superstorm Sandy.
“Equipping our municipalities to plan ahead to prevent against the kind of flooding that can be devastating to communities,” said Lamont.
As noted in Governor Lamont’s budget address, it is still unclear how the pandemic has impacted changes to the environment but a priority is to address the impacts of pollution on urban communities often hardest hit by airborne pollution impacts.
“The impacts of climate change will be felt unequally across many of our populations in the state. It’s really important that we center the needs on vulnerable communities in our response to climate change,” said Dykes.
Governor Lamont says Connecticut can be a leader in this push for clean energy and a smaller carbon footprint — it’s the center of his agenda.
Lamont is hoping the state can join the multi-state transportation climate initiative along with neighboring states Rhode Island and Massachusetts, which can reduce carbon emissions and raise over 80 million dollars for climate change and public transportation investments in Connecticut.
“If we don’t take action to dramatically reduce carbon emissions, sea level rise can continue beyond 2050,” said Dykes.