While global cooperation is required to address global warming, national governments are so far failing to adopt the necessary agreements and policies. Therefore people and governments have had to take the initiative for protecting the climate by reducing greenhouse gas emissions locally and regionally.
Connecticut illustrates a common pattern: periods of intense concern about climate change interspersed with periods of neglect. Connecticut began trying to help protect the climate almost as soon as scientists first established the facts about global warming; its 1990 Act Concerning Global Warming was America’s first state global warming law to require specific actions for reducing carbon emissions. But little was done to implement that law. A dozen years later concern about climate change revived and the state established the Governor’s Steering Committee on Climate Change; developed a detailed and ambitious Climate Change Action Plan based on a year-long process with input from governmental and nongovernmental stakeholders; and passed a Global Warming Solutions Act with targets and timetable for greenhouse gas emission reductions in line with the scientific standards laid out by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
But the Climate Change Action Plan lays out no actions past the fast-approaching interim target year of 2020. As a result, Connecticut is flying blind in attempting to reach its post-2020 climate targets. This discussion paper examines Connecticut’s efforts to meet its initial targets; describes its inadequate preparation to meet future goals; and lays out steps for “rebooting” the state’s climate protection by creating a new Climate Change Action Plan. This approach may be of interest in other locations where once-vibrant climate action has faded and needs to be revived. Read it here.