350CT Monthly Meeting (Dec 9th in New Haven) will be discussing the Green New Deal and other legislative proposals to curb the causes of climate change. If you would like more info here are some resources:
Governor-Elect Ned Lamont State Capitol 210 Capitol Avenue Hartford, CT 06106
All State Legislators Legislative Office Building 300 Capital Ave Hartford, CT 06106
Dear Governor-Elect and Legislators:
As a resident of the State of Connecticut and a concerned citizen, I urge you to follow through on your statement regarding climate change: that it is “an urgent threat that must be tackled immediately.” I couldn’t agree more. We have precious few years to address this issue and we have certainly seen the enormous threats that loom: drought, wildfires, flooding, stronger hurricanes, sea level rise, and more. Some key points:
The latest report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) says carbon emissions must fall by 45% from 2010 levels by 2030 – a mere 12 years. The term of your governorship will likely encompass most of this time.
The report notes: “limiting global warming to 1.5°C would require ‘rapid and far-reaching’ transitions in land, energy, industry, buildings, transport, and cities.” In other words, an emergency mobilization.
The earth has already warmed by 1.8° Fahrenheit (1° Celsius).
The report is based on old data. The nature of science is that the reports go through rigorous evaluation and peer review before they are published. Hence, the data contained in them is already somewhat out of date by publication. Even now there are concerns about accelerating feedback loops, such as methane leaks from the thawing permafrost in the arctic. These tipping points threaten to lock in even more global warming, possibly pushing the earth past our ability to survive on it.
The Paris Climate Accord, while a good step, did not actually set up the global community to limit warming to 2° Celsius. It was assumed that more aggressive steps would be taken later. However, even with the watered down obligations from the Paris accord, these obligations are not currently being met.
The data is bleak. And as the IPCC report indicates, we have the ability to make substantial changes in business-as-usual that will have real, significant impacts on these trends. One very bright light in this effort is Mark Jacobson, a professor at Stanford University in California. He and his team have spent years modeling ways for each state and country to move to 100% clean, renewable energy. His Solutions Project is highly recommended reading (thesolutionsproject.org). As he noted in a recent talk in Hartford, we must move to 100% electricity-based energy systems powered primarily by solar and wind. That means: all vehicles, all mass transit, all industrial and residential heating, and all industrial and residential cooling must be powered by renewable electricity. A massive undertaking, yes, and we have the technology right now to make this happen. All we need is the political will.
The current political situation provides the best chance we have to lead in implementing policies to transition us away from fossil fuels and to an ecologically sustainable and just society. The Democratic Party has campaigned on addressing climate change and now that they have majorities in CT and all our neighboring states it is time to back the talk with action. A “Green New Deal” to create clean energy jobs, improve the health of CT residents, and reduce our cost of living would include (but not be limited to):
Restoring electric rate equality (net metering) harmed by 2018 legislation in CT;
Retiring polluting power plants like Millstone Nuclear Power Station & Bridgeport Harbor Station (Gas & Coal);
Enacting a prohibition on gas infrastructure development;
Restoring rate payer funds designated for energy efficiency and renewable energy;
Requiring government buildings to be powered by renewable energy such as solar, wind or geothermal;
Requiring all new construction in CT to incorporate renewable energy;
Expanding and electrifying mass transit systems to serve the most people and eliminate emissions;
Expanding the renewable portfolio standard to 100% by 2030 or earlier.
I cannot think of a more meaningful and significant legacy for you to leave to the state of Connecticut than to say you’ve thoroughly addressed this existential threat. It affects every current and future citizen of Connecticut, and truly, the world. Please show us that you’ve been serious about addressing this issue. Addressing it can bring thousands of jobs to the state, retain our younger generation, improve health outcomes, address environmental racism, and reduce energy costs for all citizens. It can be positioned as transformational, as it certainly is. Please move forward on this quickly. Our lives literally depend on it.
At 350 CT , we hope that everyone who cares about the climate crisis will share this letter with their representatives at the state capital. It would be most effective if you can do this in person, at their office or a public event but please spread this to as many people in the state government as possible.
Due to a scheduling conflict with a few candidates the forum date has been changed from Thursday July 12th to Monday July 16th
Climate Change and Connecticut Governor Candidate Forum As we have seen in the last few years, the governor of CT has a large influence on the climate policy of our state. They will appoint the head of the Dept. of Energy & Environmental Protection and Transportation , as well as several members of the GC3 (Governors Council on Climate Change) and can even submit legislation directly to craft policy. In fact the main climate bills to be passed in 2018 were initiated by Gov. Malloy. Well we get to choose a new governor this November. Because of this, it is important that we find out what the candidates’ policies would be, pressure them to act on the accepted science and implement the radical solutions we need. Join 350 CT, John Dankowski(moderator) and several other organizations at a Climate Change and CT Candidates Forum on July 16th at Trinity College in Hartford.
Please RSVP Here : https://www.meetup.com/350CT-org/events/250709066/ or on Facebook : https://www.facebook.com/events/966062240223264/
Also we need these candidates to know that this is an important issue to the voters. Please call, write or tweet their campaigns and demand that they come to this forum and come with solutions to the climate crisis: Ned Lamont 203-859-5896 203-387-7990
Sample Phone Script : Hello, I am a member of 350 CT and will be voting for CT this November. The next governor needs to help our state be a leader in addressing climate change and deal with its effects. If you would like my vote please attend the Climate Change and Connnecticut forum at Trinity College on July 16th. Thank you.
Sample Tweet : <Twitter Handle> Climate Change is happening now and CT needs to address it. If you would like to lead the state, we need to hear your plan. Join the Climate Change & CT Forum to reach climate voters. #climatevoter #ctgovernor
“Climate Change & Connecticut” Governor’s Candidate Forum
Monday, Jul 16, 2018, 6:00 PM
Trinity College Mather Hall 300 Summit Street Hartford, CT
10 Earth Savers Attending
CT Climate groups are organizing a forum for gubernatorial candidates in CT focusing on issues around climate change and environmental justice. Please plan to join us at Trinity College (300 Summit St, Hartford) Washington Room in Mather Hall on July 16th at 6:00 PM Jon Dankosky,host of NEXT & the Wheelhouse on WNPR ,will be moderating a forum on c…
350 CT stands with immigrants. In fact we welcome them. This nation was made by immigrants and is made better, stronger and more valuable by people migrating here every year. Climate change will increase migration to North America in the coming years and who know how many of these new residents will be key to the solutions we need to reach 100% renewable energy and a clean non-polluting economy? We encourage our members to attend rallies this weekend and especially the Free Our Future Rally at the Immigration Office in Hartford ( 450 Main St ) on Monday July 2nd.
In 2018 the CT legislature once again fell short in recognizing the emergency of the climate crisis and missed the opportunity to make our state a leader in clean energy. We are fortunate in the state that vocal climate deniers are rare but inaction in policy is just as dangerous to our ecosystem as the proverbial hot air coming from those who reject the scientific consensus. The legislative calendar began with some hope for progress on clean energy, mass transit, and climate justice. There were more than a dozen bills proposed and submitted to different committees. These potential laws and regulations ranged from carbon fee/dividend and penalties for gas pipeline leaks to expanding community solar(to everyone) and emission reduction goals. While there were benefits and drawbacks to these pieces of legislation and worthy conversations to be had on the best way to implement them, this is not what happened. After the committee process and the legislative leaders decided on what would and would not be voted on we only saw 3 significant climate related bills that could be approved : S.B. No. 7 : An Act Concerning Climate Change Planning & Resiliency S.B. No. 9 : AN ACT CONCERNING CONNECTICUT’S ENERGY FUTURE S.B. 336 : AN ACT CONCERNING COMMUNITY SHARED SOLAR. The multiple provisions of these bills contained some positive aspects : raising the Renewable Portfolio Standard (the amount of clean energy utilities must procure) to 40% by 203, expanding solar access to more CT residents, eliminating procurement of energy from fracked methane gas, and setting a better interim target of 45% pollution emission reduction by 2030. However these positive steps did not signify the CT government shifting away from using fossil fuels and embracing the life saving, job creating, cost lowering society that would result from an all out focus on a pollution free society. Furthermore, these minimum reforms to our energy system were too radical for some legislators unwilling to imagine a future society different from the past and present. These bills were endlessly resisted and amended to weaken them and delay the necessary and inevitable transition to solar, wind and other emission free energy sources. The community shared solar bill was completely erased and replaced with legislation dealing with broadband internet. SB 7 was saddled with a Eversource, United Illuminating and industry backed gutting of Net Metering(or Electric Price Equality) so that they don’t have to pay solar power produces a fair price for the service they provide all of the state’s residents. In a time when the solar industry is expanding in CT , providing good safe jobs for the people that cannot be outsourced and reducing our need for expensive, volatile , imported fossil fuels WHY would our representatives seek to slow that growth and make it harder to switch to solar? It is clear that, while there are climate champions in CT, the majority of our legislators are ignorant or willfully blind to the escalating danger of climate disruption to our state, our country and it’s people. Have they forgotten SuperStorm Sandy that ravaged our coast and caused damage that is still being repaired? Have they not noticed the rising temperatures that caused May 2018 to be the fourth hottest on record according to The Weather Channel? How can they avoid seeing the devastation in Puerto Rico and the hundreds of CT families affected by the ongoing tragedy on that American island? Will they only realize the massive cost in money, property and people’s lives when it happens to them? Because it is happening to all of us and none of us will be spared from a climate that is no longer hospitable to our species. The CT government needs to wake up and realize that change around the edges will not be enough to deal with the climate crisis. We need to reshape our state to depend on clean energy for power and transportation and we need to start now. We have the technology to do it, we have the union workers to build it and we have the opportunity to lead. We just need the leaders to realize we’re all in the together and when we take mass action we can become those leaders. 350 CT continues to demand an end to the fossil fuel era and a just transition to 100% clean renewable energy with a powerful march and rally the weekend of Sept 9th in addition to joining with other environmental groups to pressure candidates for CT governor to enact this transition at a forum on July 12th.(Update: Forum date has been changed to July 16th.)
This week our organization, 350 CT is co-sponsoring a Clean Energy Lobby Day on May 5 at noon in Hartford. We are joining the Connecticut Fund for the Environment, the League of Conservation Voters, CT Sierra Club and many other groups across the state in this effort because its time for our state’s leaders to put an end to the days of subsidizing dirty fossil fuels and to instead invest in clean, renewable energy.
While our neighboring states move forward with clean renewable programs like shared solar and wind energy, Connecticut continues to subsidize dirty fossil fuel infrastructure. One key example of our state’s backward policy of subsidizing fossil fuels is Public Act 15-107 which was passed in 2015 immediatley after an election here in Connectcut that utility companies and their executives contributed hundreds of thousands of dollars to.
The act contained a provision that authorized these electric utilities to recover the costs of infrastructure projects such as the construction of new Fracked Gas Pipelines through a surcharge on customers’ electric bills. This was part of a larger strategy to finance and develop additional gas infrastructure capacity across Connecticut and New England. This includes the construction of five new gas-fired power plants, hundreds of miles of gas pipeline connections, compressor stations, and other related infrastructure projects.
What’s worse? We don’t even need the additional natural gas and the cost of one new pipeline along is estimated at $6.6 billion! According to a recent report by Synapse Energy Economics, the total cost to ratepayers for the proposed infrastructure projects could be as high as $6.6 billion. Additionally, Synapse concluded that additional pipeline capacity is not warranted, as New England’s use of natural gas is expected to decrease by 41% from 2015 levels by 2030, due to state requirements for energy efficiency, renewable energy, and emissions caps.
This is why 8,380 Connecticut residents from across the state signed a petition and another 4,430 wrote hand written letters to their legislators this week to show their support to invest in clean, renewable energy and to stop the Pipeline Tax.
The public has expressed a strong desire to see Connecticut transition away from dirty fossil fuel infrastructure. State residents want to embrace clean, renewable solutions to meet our future energy needs. We respectfully urge Connecticut lawmakers to enact these important clean energy policies, which enjoy broad public support, this year.
We hope that you will join us in Hartford on May 5th to help send a message to our lawmakers that the time for clean energy is now!
Diane Lentakis is an Environmental Activist who serves on the steering committee of 350 Connecticut and as manager of the CT Sierra Club’s Ready for 100% Clean Energy campaign.
Join us at the Capitol for CLIMATE LOBBY DAY Saturday, May 5—12 PM
CT Legislative Office Building 300 Capital Avenue · Hartford, CT
Come talk to your legislators in person! We’ll connect you with your legislator and teach you how to get your message across so they understand how important clean energy is.
Stay tuned for more details and registration. If you would like to join us or have any questions, email Melissa at [email protected].
Some Climate Legislation currently being considered: Shared Solar SB 336 Shared Solar is not only a necessary part of getting CT to 100% renewable energy but it also allows those who can’t install solar at home more control of how their energy is produced. We must keep up the pressure to pass Shared Solar this year! Click here to send a Twitter message asking leaders to pass Shared Solar.
Good & Bad in Energy Bill SB 9 SB 9 increases renewable energy targets and energy efficiency standards because the public demanded it. However there are also changes to net metering which would make it less attractive to install renewable energy systems and slow down solar growth in Connecticut. The bill needs to amended to improve or at least not harm our net metering rules.
Climate Bill SB 7 SB 7’s climate targets & sea level rise measures are positive steps to meet the states climate commitments, and to plan better for climate change along our coast. The bill has broad support, but it isn’t moving. We need to hold legislative leaders accountable for getting this bill passed.
Last week, academics in partnership with the Environmental Defense Fund released a paper suggesting that Eversource and Avangrid, two of the region’s biggest utilities, artificially constrained pipeline capacity over the past three years. The result? Prices spiked, costing ratepayers in Massachusetts and Connecticut an additional $3.6 billion. Read here : http://tinyurl.com/ybwqatmd
In light of this scandal, the argument for a new pipelines and gas-fired power plants—that we don’t have enough capacity to meet our need—is questionable at best. We won’t stand by while these utilities steal our money and further damage our climate.
350 CT, Sierra Club and other CT groups fighting fracked gas infrastructure will call out Eversource at their Hartford office on October 24th at 4:30 PM. If you want to show them they can’t hike our energy rates for their own gain and get away with it, JOIN US!!
On August 13th at 11:00 AM , 350 CT hosted a General Assembly at the Charter Oak Cultural Center to decide upon our organizing orientation & priorities. We invited everyone to provide feedback for proposals below on policy, specific campaigns or actions, and the ideals for everyday organizational life in the group.