Governor Lamont Signs Executive Order Directing Connecticut State Agency to Take Actions to Reduce Carbon Emissions and Adapt To Climate Crisis
(HARTFORD, CT) – Governor Ned Lamont today announced that he has signed an executive order (Executive Order No. 21-3) directing Connecticut executive branch state agencies to take significant actions within their authority to reduce carbon emissions and prepare for the impacts of the climate crisis.
Connecticut is now more vulnerable to the changing climate and it is becoming increasingly difficult to act now to mitigate the future consequences. The state’s Greenhouse Gas Inventory ReportThe state is not meeting its interim 2030 target due to rising emissions from the transport and building sectors. Governor Lamont stated that the state must act aggressively within the existing authority to reduce carbon emissions. That is why he is directing a whole government approach in EO 21-3 and asking the Connecticut General Assembly for authorization to expand investment and decarbonization programs.
“Climate change is here, and it’s only going to get worse if we don’t take meaningful action,” Governor Lamont. “In September, a bad progress report showed that we’re in danger of missing our statutory greenhouse gas reduction goals, so we need to roll up our sleeves and do the necessary work to improve. That work starts with us in the executive branch, and that’s why I’m directing our state agencies to take these actions for our environment, our public health and safety, and the incredible opportunity before us to develop our green workforce. This executive order not only protects the planet, but also protects vulnerable communities, preserves families’ budgets, and prepares our state to make the most of federal funding for sustainable, resilient infrastructure. I’m grateful to the many experts and advocates who proposed these measures.”
Executive Order No. 21-3 calls for 23 actions, proposed by the Governor’s Council on Climate Change (GC3) in its January 2021 Report, which cut across state agencies in the following areas.
- Buildings and infrastructure
- Clean transportation
- Climate resilience in the community
- Health, equity and environmental justice
- The economy and jobs
- Natural and work lands
The executive order requires 23 actions: affordable heating and cooling for Connecticut residents, businesses, building codes, a statewide fleet of battery electric buses; shovel-ready resilience programs; regulation of emissions from medium- and heavy-duty vehicles; and increasing resilience in forests and agriculture. It also establishes Connecticut’s first Office of Climate and Public Health, the first Connecticut Equity and Environmental Justice Advisory Council, the first Connecticut Clean Economy Council, and continues the work of the Governor’s Council on Climate Change.
“From our built environment to our natural environment and everything in between, the impacts of the climate crisis are informed by every decision we make, and felt in every aspect of our lives,” Katie Dykes, Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection Commissioner. “I commend Governor Lamont for taking this action, and thank my colleagues at our sister agencies and all who participated in the Governor’s Council on Climate Change for helping to move these actions forward. These actions, combined with the historic federal infrastructure funding coming to Connecticut, provide us with an extraordinary opportunity to advance equity and environmental justice, clean air, healthier communities, affordable energy, and expanded jobs and economic opportunity, all while reducing planet-warming emissions and making communities more resilient to a changing climate.”
“Transportation is the largest source of greenhouse gas emissions in Connecticut, and the Connecticut Department of Transportation can be the biggest driver to reduce air pollutants,” Joseph Giulietti, Connecticut Department of Transportation Commissioner, said. “Connecticut families and communities, especially the ones most vulnerable and historically underserved, deserve clean transportation. I commend Governor Lamont on the climate executive orders. The DOT will do our part, while listening to and working with our partners in health, and equity and environmental justice, to ensure our efforts have a positive impact on all people.”
“Buildings are a significant source of greenhouse gas emissions in Connecticut,” Josh Geballe, Commissioner of Connecticut Department of Administrative Services, said. “Updating the state building code to account for recent advances in cost-effective, energy-efficient construction techniques and to withstand increased wind and water hazards will save families and businesses money on repairs and on their monthly heating, cooling, and other energy bills. The administration will practice what we preach by making state buildings greener and more resilient.”
“Addressing the effects of climate change and the impacts it has on our working lands and soils in Connecticut is critically important to sustaining our vibrant agricultural industry,” Bryan P. Hurlburt, Connecticut Department of Agriculture Commissioner, said. “We appreciate the support from across the administration, including Governor Lamont and Commissioner Dykes, as well as the members of the Ag Soils working group on the Governor’s Council on Climate Change who put forward the recommendations to streamline the protection of working lands, enhance renewable energy and energy efficiency programs available to farms and build a sustainable and equitable food system.”
“I am proud to join Governor Lamont and fellow agency heads for today’s announcement,” David Lehman, Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development Commissioner. “This executive order displays the State of Connecticut’s full commitment to a clean energy economy that will benefit our state residents for generations to come. The Council on Clean Energy and Economy will bring state leaders to the table to ensure our economy is not only thriving, but doing so with a focus on clean energy, sustainability, and equitable opportunity.”
“Climate change is one of my areas of special interest and a strategic initiative that the Department of Public Health will be focusing on,” Dr. Manisha Juthani, Connecticut Department of Public Health Commissioner, said. “Thanks to a grant from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Department of Public Health is forming a new Office of Climate and Public Health that will include relationships with several partners throughout the state, including the Yale Center on Climate Change and Health. We will implement actions to improve health equity and resilience and ensure that Connecticut communities are ready for the effects of climate change on their health. This office also will focus on those populations most vulnerable to the health effects of climate crisis and address the social determinants of health in the context of climate change.”
“The Connecticut Insurance Department has been focused on the need to address climate change, including through modifying and enhancing building codes to make structures more resilient to damage from storms, wind, fire and floods,” Connecticut Insurance Department Commissioner Andrew N. Mais said. “Mitigation of storm-related risk through investments in damage resilient products and using modern building standards to better withstand a catastrophic event is money well spent.”
“We’re happy to continue as a member of the Governor’s Council on Climate Change and begin a new tenure on the Connecticut Equity and Environmental Justice Advisory Council,” Seila Moquera-Bruno, Connecticut Department of Housing Commissioner, said. “As always, we will provide input on how to make housing more energy-efficient and able to withstand the effects that may come along with the natural elements.”
“This executive order is a tremendous step for our state to address climate change and the incredible damage it is doing to our planet,” Melissa McCaw, Office of Policy and Management Secretary. “This is an opportunity for state government to take the lead on this issue that will have generational impact and OPM is honored to take part in these efforts and apply our expertise as needed. Through these initiatives and the hard-work and dedication of staff, we can potentially achieve the real and tangible progress necessary to combat this crisis.”
Summary of Governor Lamont’s Executive Order No. 21-3
Infrastructure and buildings
Climate resilience within the community
Health, equity, justice and the environment
Economy and jobs
Both natural and industrial lands
Governor’s Council on Climate Change (GC3)
The actions taken in the executive order build on the extensive steps the Lamont administration has taken to date to address the climate crisis, starting with Governor Lamont’s first executive order – Executive Order No. 1 – which directs executive branch state agencies to recommit to and expand the state’s Lead by Example program to reduce energy use, water, waste, and greenhouse gas emissions while lowering operating costs in state government facilities and operations. According to the 2021 GreenerGov Progress ReportThese agencies implemented over 90 sustainability projects, policy modifications, and initiatives between 2020-2021, despite having to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic. These projects are expected decrease greenhouse gas emissions in the region of 10,236 metric tonnes and reduce annual utility costs by $1.7 million.
Governor Lamont continued to take actions through Executive Order No. 3The GC3 was expanded to include oversight of climate change adaptation and resilience as well as monitoring carbon emissions. Identifying pathways to a 100% carbon-free electric sectorBy 2040
The Lamont administration also directed The largest purchase of renewable energy in the state’s historyWith the 804 MW Park City Wind farm.