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Environmental activists implore CT governor to call special session to tackle climate change

FILE: July 17th, 2023, Governor Ned Lamont speaks with Department of Agriculture Commissioner, Bryan Hurlburt and Farmers, Billy Collins and Kate Ahearn of Fairweather Acres at Killam and Bassette Farmstead in South Glastonbury to discuss the impact of flooding on Connecticut agriculture.
Tyler Russell
/
Connecticut Public
FILE: July 17th, 2023, Gov. Ned Lamont speaks with Department of Agriculture Commissioner, Bryan Hurlburt and farmers Billy Collins and Kate Ahearn, of Fairweather Acres, at Killam and Bassette Farmstead in South Glastonbury to discuss the impact of flooding on Connecticut agriculture.

A coalition of climate advocacy groups in Connecticut are publicly asking state officials to take action on climate change, after legislation addressing the crisis didn’t pass in the 2024 regular session.

The Connecticut Coalition for Climate Action’s joint statement decried the legislature’s inaction on the warming climate, and called on Gov. Ned Lamont to call a special legislative session to address it.

This comes as weather extremes, tied to climate change, are also expected to continue in the Northeast this summer. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is predicting a more intense Atlantic hurricane season and “likely above normal” than average summer temperatures.

David Bednarz, Lamont’s press secretary, said in an emailed statement that the governor was disappointed lawmakers didn’t pass bills to address climate change. Among them was Lamont’s own proposal to improve the state’s infrastructure and resiliency in the face of climate impacts.

“The administration is in discussions with legislative leaders to assess whether there is a willingness among lawmakers to consider a bill on this topic during the coming months,” Bednarz said.

The Coalition in its statement also pointed to the House-approved omnibus bill geared toward reducing greenhouse gases in the state, which the Senate didn’t call for a vote before the session’s required end time.

“As the impacts of climate change grow every year, so must Connecticut’s response,” Samantha Dynowski, state director of Sierra Club Connecticut said. “Inaction on climate is too costly and dangerous for Connecticut residents, businesses, and communities.”

This comes on the heels of a recent Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) report that showed the state's greenhouse gas emissions, which fuel global warming, are on the rise again. The omnibus bill that died during the regular session outlined what would have been new state goals and incentives to reduce emissions.

“Connecticut’s law is showing its age and it's time that it was updated to reflect the times,” said Charles Rothenberger, climate and energy attorney with Save the Sound. “As other jurisdictions have already done, we must update our emissions goals and establish a framework of accountability, authority, and enforceability to ensure we move from aspiration to success.”

As Connecticut Public's state government reporter, Michayla focuses on how policy decisions directly impact the state’s communities and livelihoods. She has been with Connecticut Public since February 2022, and before that was a producer and host for audio news outlets around New York state. When not on deadline, Michayla is probably outside with her rescue dog, Elphie. Thoughts? Jokes? Tips? Email msavitt@ctpublic.org.