The State of Connecticut

Population: 3,644,545 (2015)

GDP: 253.04 Billion (2014)

Country: United States

Total GHG emissions (year): 39.5 MMT CO2e (2012)

GHG emissions/capita/year: 10.99 MT/Year (2012)

Connecticut is located in southern New England, and is bordered by the states of New York, Rhode Island, and Massachusetts. 

Connecticut has long been a leader in addressing climate change. The State’s commitment began as early as 1990 when it passed its Public Act:  An Act Concerning Global Warming, which required the state to implement a wide range of measures to reduce energy consumption and associated greenhouse gas emissions. 

Working with the New England Governors/Eastern Canadian Premiers (NEG/ECP), in 2001 Connecticut helped to develop the first ever international, multi-jurisdictional climate change action plan. This plan established an agreement on regional greenhouse gas reduction goals designed to achieve climate stability. These targets include: reducing greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by 2010; reducing emissions to 10% below 1990 levels by 2020; and to 75-80% below 2001 levels by 2050. 

In 2005 the state strengthened its efforts by issuing the Connecticut Climate Action Plan (CCAP).  The strategies outlined in the CCAP set Connecticut on a strong path toward meeting the emissions reductions requirements of the states 2008 Global Warming Solutions Act,  this act requires a 10% reduction from 1990 emissions by 2020 and an 80% reduction from 2001 emissions by 2050. 

Connecticut has made significant progress in the implementation of policies and programs, many of which were included in the Comprehensive Energy Strategy released in 2013, which allow the state to continue to achieve its greenhouse gas reduction goals.

Governor Malloy, on Earth Day 2015, issued an executive order creating the Governor’s Council on Climate Change. The Council is charged to examine the efficacy of existing policies and regulations designed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and identify new strategies to meet the state’s greenhouse gas emissions reduction targets. It will do so, in part, by developing interim state-wide greenhouse gas reduction targets for years between 2020 and 2050 and by identifying short- and long-term state-wide strategies to achieve the necessary reductions.

  • Key Targets / Successes

    Climate policy and GHG emissions reduction targets:

    In 2008 the state passed Public Act No. 08-98: An Act Concerning Connecticut Global Warming Solutions. 

    The act set forth the following GHG emissions reductions targets: 

    1.  A 10% reduction from 1990 greenhouse gas emissions by 2020 
    2.  An 80% reduction from 2001 greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 

    Emissions reduction successes:

    In 2012, greenhouse gas emissions fell to 39.5 MMTCO2e. The overall decline in greenhouse gas emissions between 1990 and 2012 was 10.5%. This marked the first time emissions fell below the 10% reduction by 2020 target set in the Global Warming Solutions Act.   Having reached this target eight years ahead of schedule, the state aims to maintain progress in reducing greenhouse gas emissions in order to meet the 2050 goal.  

    Most innovative climate actions: 

    Connecticut participates in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), in partnership with the other New England states, Delaware, Maryland and New York. RGGI is the nation’s first market-based, regulatory cap-and-trade program to reduce GHG emissions from large fossil fuel power plants in the region. The RGGI CO2 cap represents a regional budget for CO2 emissions from the power sector.  The cap is scheduled to decline by 2.5% each year from 2015-2020. Collectively RGGI states have cut carbon pollution by 40% even as their economies grew.  In Connecticut carbon emissions from the electric power sector have declined by 34% from 1990 to 2012. 

    The RGGI program has generated $137 million for Connecticut in proceeds from the sale of allow­ances. Connecticut reinvests 92.5% of the proceeds in energy efficiency and renewable energy programs that help customers lower their energy bills and further reduce the state’s carbon emissions.  

  • Current activities

    Renewable Energy:

    Connecticut’s renewable portfolio standard (RPS) requires all retail electricity suppliers to obtain at least 20% of their supply from class I renewable sources by 2020. Recently, Connecticut has launched new initiatives to increase the supply of low-cost, in-state renewable energy sources. Small-scale renewable distributed generation projects can compete for long-term power purchase agree­ments that Connecticut’s electric distribution companies are required to offer through reverse auctions. These projects support local economic development and also reduce local electricity consumption.  In 2013, Connecticut’s electric companies signed long-term power purchase agreements that will bring more grid-scale solar and wind to the regional wholesale power market.

    Financing from Connecticut’s Green Bank has also led to significant growth in solar capacity within the state. As a result of these programs, the state has increased in-state renewables by more than ten-fold since 2010.

    Energy efficiency:

    Energize Connecticut is a resource dedicated to empowering Connecticut citizens to make smart energy choices.  A joint partnership of the Connecticut Energy Efficiency Fund, the Connecticut Green Bank, the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, and local electric and gas utilities, this initiative provides Connecticut consumers, businesses and communities the resources and information needed to make it easy to save energy and advance towards a clean energy future. 

    Connecticut’s energy-saving programs play a key role in reducing emis­sions and increasing economic activity. For every $1 spent on utility-administered energy efficiency programs, Connecticut receives electric, gas, fuel oil, and propane system benefits valued at nearly $2.408. The Connecticut Energy Efficiency Fund supports varieties of programs that provide financial incentives to help Connecticut consumers reduce the amount of energy used in their homes and businesses and have proven to be a strong economic catalyst:  they reduce costs to consumers, generate new jobs, and make business more competitive. 

    Clean transportation:

    In 2013, Connecticut’s Governor, along with the Governors of 7 other states (CA, MD, MA, NY, OR, RI and VT), have agreed, in a ZEV Memorandum of Understanding, to share research and coordination on an education/outreach campaign to highlight the benefits of ZEVs to the public and put 3.3 million ZEVs on these states’ roads by 2025.  In 2015, Connecticut joined 10 European and North American governments as partners in an international alliance to accelerate the global adoption of ZEVs. 

    EVConnecticut, a partnership between the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection and the Connecticut Department of Transportation, is working to introduce more electric vehicles into Connecticut. EVConnecticut provides incentives which make electric vehicles and charging stations more affordable than ever.  These incentives include:  The Connecticut Hydrogen & Electric Automobile Purchase Rebate, The Public Fleet EV and Public Workplace EV Charging Station Incentive, The Hydrogen Fuelling Stations Grant, The Electric Vehicle Charger Incentive Program, and the DOT Clean Fuel Program. 

    Urban environment/smart cities:

    There are several initiatives underway in Connecticut’s cities.  The City of Bridgeport launched the BGreen 2020 initiative, a public-private partnership between the City of Bridgeport and the Bridgeport Regional Business Council.  The BGreen initiative aims to create an Energy Improvement District to support energy efficiency, adopt a “Transit First” policy, develop a plan for open space use and maintenance, expand recycling, and enhance storm water management to protect the region’s waterways. 

    The City of New Haven currently has an active transportation program which encourages cleaner travel in the Greater New Haven area.  This program brings together organizations and individuals to use active transportation and to promote alternative forms of transit. 

    Through its Stamford 2030 District program, the City of Stamford, CT is working to create a high performance building district in their downtown area.  The program aims to dramatically reduce energy and water consumption and reduce emissions from transportation, while increasing competitiveness in the business environment and owners’ returns on investment.  

    Waste management:

    Based on a 2010 state-wide study conducted on solid waste disposal in CT, The Department of Energy and Environmental Protection estimates that 13.5% of the waste stream consists of food, nearly 322,000 tons of food being thrown away per year. If other compostable items were to be accounted for, such as yard trimmings, the state would not have sufficient capacity in its landfills to accommodate the volume. In order to fill the gap in capacity, landmark legislation was passed. The new legislation requires entities that generate a projected annual volume of 104 or more tons per year of source separated organic material, and are located within 20 miles of a permitted recycling facility that can accept the material, then they must insure that those materials are recycled. Entities include:  commercial food wholesalers or distributors, industrial food manufacturers or processers, supermarkets, and resorts or conference centers. 

    Sustainable land use:

    Connecticut currently has a goal of preserving 21% of its land as open space by the year 2023. The goal is currently being achieved through the direct purchase of open space by the State and through State support of local acquisitions. 

    Innovative financing:

    On July 1, 2011 Connecticut established the nation’s first state “green bank”.  The Connecticut Green Bank leverages public and private funds to promote the growth of green energy in Connecticut. The Connecticut Green Bank offers a variety of programs and funding to communities interested in learning about and using sources of clean energy.  Programs and funding are also available to homeowners, businesses and institutions, and owners of multifamily residential properties interested in transitioning to cleaner more cost-effective sources of energy.  

    Adaptation:

    The Connecticut Institute for Resilience and Climate Adaption (CIRCA) is a partnership between the University of Connecticut and the Connecticut Department of Energy & Environmental Protection. CIRCA’s goal is to increase the resilience and sustainability of communities along Connecticut’s coast and inland waterways to the impacts of climate change on the environment. CIRCA brings together experts in various fields to provide solutions to problems that arise as the result of climate change.

  • More info

    GHG breakdown by sector (%)

    2012

    Power

    18.2

    Transport

    39.9

    Residential

    17.1

    Commercial

    8.3

    Industry

    10.2

    Agriculture/forestry

    .7

    Waste

    5.7

    Source: CT 2012 GHG inventory

     

    Current power sector mix (%)

    2012

    Coal

    2

    Gas

    45

    Nuclear

    47

    Renewables

    3

    Petroleum

    1

    Other

    2

    Source: 2013 Comprehensive Energy Strategy 

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