Connecticut Governor Leads on Climate Action in the State

Connecticut Governor Leads on Climate Action in the State

This Tuesday, Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont signed two bills that will take action against climate change and increase the use of clean energy in the state. The first bill will enforce previous legislation made by Connecticut lawmakers to create a carbon-free electricity supply by 2040. The second bill will expand renewable energy programs that are already in place, which will prioritize disadvantaged communities most affected by skyrocketing energy prices and air pollution.

Governor Ned Lamont: Governor Lamont Signs Key Climate Change and Energy Legislation, May 17, 2022.

Why This Matters

With many environmental protections rolled back by the Trump Administration and repeated failures by Congress and the federal government to institute any meaningful climate policy, state and local governments have started to take it upon themselves to enact legislation that will cut emissions. Individual states are becoming leaders in climate policy, transitioning their economies toward a cleaner, more sustainable future and mitigating the worst effects of climate change in their areas.

Connecticut is one state that has pioneered the fight against climate change, despite federal policy gridlock. So far the governor has signed three executive orders and created a climate council for exploring solutions to climate change. In addition, the state has built a vast network of partnerships and alliances that bind the state to climate targets and facilitate the transition to renewable energy.

CBS: California ahead of clean energy goals, March 11, 2022.

Climate Policy Differs Significantly Between States

When former President Donald Trump pulled out of the Paris Agreement in 2017, several state governors created the US Climate Alliance to signify their state’s commitment to emissions targets set by the Paris Agreement. Twenty-five states are now part of the alliance with tangible plans to reduce regional carbon emissions, but that leaves half of the country unbound to any real climate action. Without policy on a federal level, some states are doing more than others to address climate change -- benefitting the country as a whole, but lacking balance and America’s full potential. Still, without federal leadership, these states have stepped up to the plate and pioneered current US climate policy.

“No state is an island,” Leah Stokes, an associate professor at the UC Santa Barbara and senior policy adviser at Evergreen Action, said to US News. “When one state acts, whether that is bringing down the cost of technology through deployment or coming up with new policy ideas, that can spill over into other states’ actions too.”

WW0: Heather Zichal and Amanda Little Facebook Live conversation, February 18, 2021.