News from CT Roundtable on Climate and Jobs

by John Humphries, Organizer, CT Roundtable

We had a successful first round of Governor’s Council on Climate Change (GC3) stakeholder events and we are now preparing for our spring Roundtable gathering.

GC3 Stakeholder Events – Round 1

On May 5, more than 175 people participated in simultaneous stakeholder events organized by the Governor’s Council on Climate Change at seven locations across the state. You can access the handouts, presentation slides, a video of the event, and some great photos on our website, http://www.ctclimateandjobs.org.

The second round will happen in late July and will provide an opportunity to evaluate some preliminary scenarios for achieving the state’s climate goals.  More details coming soon!

June 7 – Roundtable Gathering

Join us for our statewide gathering on June 7 when we will explore the intersection between the GC3 climate action planning and the state’s Comprehensive Energy Strategy  (being updated this year). We seek to develop points of agreement and shared strategies for influencing these two state processes to ensure an aggressive approach to climate protection that creates local jobs and addresses the needs for climate justice.

A Just Climate Strategy for CT: Creating Jobs and Increasing Equity – Tuesday, June 7, 7 p.m.
North Haven Congregational Church, 28 Church St., North Haven. (food available at 6:30 p.m.) Information: http://www.ctclimateandjobs.org.

Get on the Bus to March for a Clean Energy Revolution Sunday, July 24, in Philly

by 350CT.org

  • Ban Fracking Now!
  • Stop Dirty Energy!
  • Justly Transition to 100% Renewable Energy!

https://www.facebook.com/events/1567763956854719

New Haven Departure: 8:15 a.m. – 6 p.m. Ikea Parking Lot, 450 Sargent Dr.
Hartford Departure:  7:30 a.m – 6 p.m. 1 Union Place, Hartford.
Contacts: Chris (860) 967-9836, christopher.hutch@gmail.com or
Diane (203) 922-2151, dlentakis@sbcglobal.net.

Clean-energy-revolution-CERLogo_FINAL-resizedThe nation’s spotlight will shine on Philadelphia during the Democratic National Convention in July 2016. We have a valuable opportunity to use that spotlight to open a broader discussion on fracking and climate change. Over the past decade, Pennsylvania and many states including Connecticut have suffered negative impacts from fracking, pipelines, and power plants. Many residents especially those in the poorest and most oppressed communities have been sickened; water, air and land have been polluted and poisoned.

Climate change presents the United States and the world with an unprecedented challenge and poses a threat to future of life on this planet. Get on the bus with 350CT and other climate activists as we head to Philadelphia to demand a just transition to 100% renewable energy.

We need your participation and voice in the movement for climate justice. Can you help build the July 24 march in Connecticut? Contact us today!

To learn more about 350 CT email organizers@350CT.org, or call (203) 350-3508.

We continue to work toward our 4 demands:

  • 100% Renewable Energy,
  • Stop Fracked Gas Expansion,
  • Green Jobs for Fossil Fuel Workers,
  • An End to Environmental Racism.

If you can help us out with outreach supply costs, please DONATE.

350 Connecticut is a community of people working to move Connecticut beyond fossil fuels through grassroots organizing. Our meetings are open to the public, and we operate using consensus-based decision-making.  We do our work in working groups, and meet all together once a month in a public meeting. We are an organization committed to anti-oppression in all our work and relationships.

Victories on Earth Day

by Terry Eichel, Inter-Religious Eco-Justice Network (IREJN)

April 22 was Earth Day and the celebrations for our planet will be going on all week!

*Kinder Morgan announced on Wednesday that it was abandoning plans to build a natural gas pipeline that would have cut through Western Massachusetts, Southern New Hampshire, and Merrimack Valley. A day later, the New York Department of Environmental Conservation denied a permit to Kinder Morgan to bring natural gas through New York. As a result, Kinder Morgan has cancelled the Northeast Energy Direct Pipeline from New York to Connecticut!

*SB422 won in the Senate on April 19 – now it needs to win in the House! This legislation will protect us from corporate raids on our water. It creates state oversight for the acquisition of large amount of water for bottling plants, protects us in a drought, and adds the issue of large volume discounts to the state water plan. Please urge your representative today to support the bill.

70 People Rally for Environmental Justice in Bridgeport

Dan Fischer, Capitalism vs. the Climate and Gabriella Rodriguez, Moral Monday CT

On Sunday, April 3, about 70 people attended a rally at Bridgeport’s McLevy Green to raise awareness about environmental justice. The rally was hosted by Healthy CT Alliance, a Bridgeport-based health advocacy group, Capitalism vs. the Climate, a statewide climate justice group, and Moral Monday CT, a faith-based affiliate of the #BlackLivesMatter movement.

bridgeport-pseg-harbor-coalSpeakers included Bishop John Selders, founder of Moral Monday CT, and Reverend Sekou, an author and theologian active in the #BlackLivesMatter movement. They declared it unjust that low income communities and communities of color are consistently exposed to higher levels of pollution.

Selders said, “Environmental racism is bound up with Connecticut’s industrial past and continues to feed health disparities and economic injustice. Natural resources and marginalized peoples have been relegated as dumping grounds in our urban areas – five cities are home to 71% of Connecticut’s people of color and at least 20% of pollution sources. Yet, large majorities of people of color support environmental justice. That’s why Moral Monday CT supports clean power – to the people! Green is for all of us. Black loves Green!”

Toxic facilities in Bridgeport include wastewater treatment facilities, a trash incinerator, a coal-fired power plant, and a fracked-gas plant. PSEG plans to begin building a new fracked-gas plant next year, locking in decades more of pollution in the South End. Forbes Magazine has ranked Bridgeport the country’s fourth dirtiest city. Meanwhile, Spectra Energy’s fracked-gas pipeline construction near New York’s Indian Point nuclear power plant endangers Bridgeport residents and others in the New York metropolitan area, since there is a small but real chance that a pipeline rupture could trigger a meltdown at Indian Point. A recent headline in The Nation warned, “A High-Pressure Pipeline Next to a Nuclear Power Plant… What Could Possibly Go Wrong?” For photos and videos from the rally, visit http://capitalismvsclimate.org.

Ultimate Net Zero Energy House Tour May 21

by Judi Friedman, People’s Action for Clean Energy

The ultimate net zero energy house will be open to the public on Saturday, May 21. With a rating of -23, this South Glastonbury, Connecticut, home is the most energy-efficient house in North America. It was the 2014 CT Zero Energy Challenge winner; the RESNET 2015 Cross Border Challenge winner; and the 2015 Housing Innovations Award winner.

Tours and seminars will be held at noon and 2:30 p.m. The 2,755 square-foot house has a geothermal heating and cooling system; a rotating photovoltaic steel pole array that powers all appliances, LED lights and the hot water heater. The PV is connected to the grid but is able to get power when the grid goes down.

Other energy saving features in this home for four people include a centrally heated foundation; aluminum roofing shingles with a 70-year lifespan; an energy recovery ventilator; triple glazed windows and Energy Star appliances. The tour is sponsored by Peoples Action for Clean Energy (PACE), the only all-volunteer nonprofit public health organization in Connecticut devoted solely to clean energy education.

Reservations are accepted in order of receipt for the tour, which will be held rain or shine. The non-refundable tickets are $15.00 per person. To order tickets, go online to http://www.pace-cleanenergy.org and click on Events, indicating the choice of time for the tours and seminar. Tickets may also be ordered by sending $15.00 per person to PACE c/o Donna Grant, 128 Melrose Road, Broad Brook, CT 06016. Include the ticket holder’s name, phone number, address, email address and choice of time. For ticket information, call Judi Friedman, (860) 623-5487. For tour information, call (860) 693-4813.

Governor’s Council on Climate Change (GC3) Stakeholder Events in New Haven May 5

During 2016, the Governor’s Council on Climate Change (GC3) will be gathering input from stakeholders across the state, as part of its charge to develop a strategy/plan to meet the state’s mandated goal of an 80% reduction in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions below 2001 levels by the year 2050.

The current plan involves three rounds of stakeholder events (May, July and October) to engage stakeholders at different points in the process. For the first round — scheduled for 5:30-7:30 the evening of May 5 — the primary/central location will be in Hartford, with six satellite locations around the state. Participants at the satellite locations will view the presentation(s) via video link and then engage in facilitated dialogue at the local level.

The May 5 gatherings will provide stakeholders the opportunity to learn about and provide feedback on the technologies and measures that will be modeled in the Long range Energy Alternatives Planning System (LEAP). This widely-used software tool for energy policy analysis and climate change mitigation assessment will help us understand the GHG reduction potential of various measures and technologies (and combinations thereof).

The CT Roundtable on Climate and Jobs is helping to coordinate logistics for these gatherings.

Register for May 5! Please register at http://bit.ly/GC3_May5 in order to receive updated info and background materials prior to the gatherings.

May 5 Site—Yale University, Sage Hall, 205 Prospect St., New Haven. Refreshments available at 5 p.m.; program begins at 5:30 p.m. (Other sites are available; see http://bit.ly/1UC3pUb) Registration is not necessary, but it allows us to send you preparatory materials and help us ensure adequate food and proper room set-up.

Info: John Humphries, john.humphries1664@gmail.com, 860-216-7972.

Get Ready for Rock to Rock!

by Chris Schweitzer, New Haven-León Sister City Project

Only in its eighth year, the Rock to Rock Earth Day Ride has quickly grown into one of the region’s largest environmental events and fundraisers. Starting at 9 a.m., the event itself — on Saturday, April 30 — is a day-long celebration of Earth Day and New Haven’s rich environmental and cultural resources.

1,500 cyclists will travel between West Rock and East Rock, with celebrations on both sides of the city. Along the way, they will eat tasty food, hear great music, take on environmental challenges and service projects, and explore the city’s parks. They will travel along the Farmington Canal Trail and official city bike lanes, pass through many of the city’s beautiful neighborhoods, and make stops in Edgewood and Beaver Pond Parks on their way between the Rocks. In 2016 there will be five rides: the 8-mile family-friendly ride; a 12 mile adult ride; the 20-mile ride; the 40-mile ride; and a metric century (60+ miles), all traveling through scenic and park filled routes in the New Haven region. Music at various stops and at the end at East Rock will be provided by CT Folk and with include performances by local musicians.

The goals for 2016 are $200,000 raised and 1,500 riders. In 2015, the Ride attracted 1,307 registered riders – the largest number ever; 2,958 donations made to local environmental work; $186,802 raised – up from our previous $152,158 record; 40 sponsors, contributing $60,912 and critical in-kind support; 100+ volunteers; 20-plus high-impact environmental organizations whose work is fueled by this event. Creating a city full of healthy food, street trees, community gardens, green jobs, outdoor adventures, clean and accessible parks, bike trails, educational opportunities and much more. Register at http://www.rocktorock.org or for more info call (203) 285-6147.

‘Fracked Gas is Environmental Racism’: Balloon Banner Released at Bridgeport City Hall

by Dan Fischer, Capitalism vs. the Climate

On February 1, Bridgeport residents flooded a public hearing with opposition to PSEG’s proposed fracked gas power plant, which would replace its coal plant in 2021. As 10 year-old Jaysa Mellers urged, “No coal, no gas, go green!”, a Bridgeport-based member of Capitalism vs. the Climate released a banner tied to a bundle of balloons. The banner floated to the high ceiling, and city councillors and residents read its message: “Fracked gas is environmental racism! No coal, no gas!”

gracked-gas-enviro-racism-300x283“Environmental racism is when an unfair share of pollution is placed on communities of color and low-income neighborhoods. That’s what is happening in Bridgeport. PSEG is making it worse by trying to open a new gas plant, which would continue to release pollution in the air for decades,” said Gabriela Rodriguez, a nineteen year-old Bridgeport resident and a member of Capitalism vs. the Climate.

PSEG reports that its new gas plant would release into the air nitrogen oxides, particulate matter, carbon monoxide, sulfur dioxide, volatile organic compounds, lead, and other pollutants, causing emphysema, bronchitis, learning deficits, heart disease, cancer, and asthma triggers. Moreover, fracked gas is highly flammable and known to frequently leak. The result can be deadly. From 1995 to 2014, there were 371 deaths and 1,395 injuries due to reported pipeline incidents.

PSEG wants to put the gas plant where the coal plant currently stands, locking in decades of fossil fuel infra-structure in an area where 30 percent of residents are black and 30 percent are Latino. To add insult to injury, PSEG’s proposed gas plant, like its existing coal plant, would stand adjacent to the Mary and Eliza Freeman houses, the oldest houses in Connecticut built and owned by African Americans. From 1821 until the Civil War, the neighbor-hood had been a prosperous community of free people of color including African Americans and indigenous Paugussets. Historians say it may have been a stop on the Underground Railroad.

“By putting a gas plant here, PSEG is basically saying that black lives do not matter to them,” declared Tiffany Mellers, a Bridgeport resident, mother of Jaysa. Visit http://capitalismvsclimate.org for more information.

20th Annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s Legacy of Environmental and Social Justice Jan. 16 & 170

by Josue Irizarry, Events Coordinator

The Yale Peabody Museum will open its doors for a FREE, two-day festival in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and his efforts to ensure environmental and social justice among all people. The Yale Peabody Museum, 170 Whitney Ave., will host its 20th annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s Legacy of Environmental and Social Justice on Sunday, Jan. 17, noon to 4 p.m., and Monday, Jan. 18, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

In his tireless efforts to work toward equality for, and harmony between, all people, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. strove to raise awareness about public health concerns and urban environmental issues that disproportionately affect communities. In recognition of the progress that has been achieved in these areas, and with optimism for the future, we will celebrate with music, dance, children’s storytelling, teen summit, a community open mic and our annual poetry slams.

On Sunday, Jan. 17, from noon to 2:30 p.m., join us for our 7th annual Teen Summit event celebrating the legacy of Dr. King. In this interactive workshop, teens from all over Connecticut will come together to participate with the dynamic motivational speaker, Hashim Garrett of Breaking the Cycle of Violence Through Forgiveness in an effort to promote social and environmental justice.

On Sunday, Jan. 17, from 3 to 4 p.m., Mayor Toni Harp will address some of the challenges to our community on issues of education, racism, violence, gun control, and will share with us her vision for New Haven.

An important component of this celebration is our Zannette Lewis Environmental and Social Justice Community Open Mic and Poetry Slam, on Monday, Jan. 18, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. The Community Open Mic is an exciting aspect of our festival that gives people a unique opportunity to honor the spoken word legacy of Dr. King by sharing original poetry. The Poetry Slam includes well-known poets from around the United States.

For more information visit http://www.peabody.yale.edu/events.

We’ll Always Have Paris: Reflections from COP21

By Sarah Ganong, a New Haven-based climate activist

sarah-ganongBy the time you’re reading this, I’ll have been home from the COP21 climate talks in Paris for about six weeks. I attended the conference as an NGO observer, spending long days in the former-airport-turned-conference space running between meetings, negotiation sessions, press conferences, and approved “actions.” The 40,000+ attendees from nation-states, non-profits, universities, and, yes, the fossil fuel industry, came together for two intense weeks with the same goal—to leave with a global agreement to fight climate change, helped along by the four tons of free trade chocolate one environmental group distributed throughout the venue.

But Paris produced what 20 previous conferences did not—a global agreement which seems set up for success. The major takeaway from COP21 is the coalescing around 1.5 degrees C of warming, rather than 2 degrees, providing climate finance to vulnerable countries, and a process to evaluate and ratchet up emissions reduction pledges.

The theme of ending the reign of fossil fuels was central, from divestment actions to the planning for a global shutdown of fossil fuel infrastructure in May 2016. Keeping 80% of current fossil fuel reserves in the ground is essential if we’re going to come anywhere near meeting COP21 targets. In Connecticut, the battle is over the build-out of natural gas infrastructure, which will lock us into a fossil-dependent future for years to come. And on the national scale, ending fossil fuel subsidies must be a major priority—coal, in particular, wouldn’t be a viable choice without taxpayer dollars propping it up.

So we leave Paris with a lot of work left to do, but with knowledge of what lies before us. For me, the biggest victory from COP21 are the relationships I formed with activists from Brazil to Switzerland. President Obama called the Paris Agreement the “best chance we have” to save the planet. I disagree. The international process has been happening nearly as long as I’ve been alive, and in that time we’ve seen global emissions rise by 60%. We can’t wait on our governments anymore. The true hope lies with the people. We’re ready.

New Haven Energy Task Force News

by Paula Panzarella, ETF

The push for affordable solar energy in the New Haven area has gotten the attention from various companies and organizations. PosiGen, Grid Alternatives and SolarizeCT all offer programs that will help people get solar panels and greatly lower their electric bills.

PosiGen, a solar installation company that specifically includes low- to medium-income homeowners in their target group, will be running a campaign in New Haven starting mid-January. PosiGen’s service includes a free energy audit. PosiGen recently started a campaign in Bridgeport, and has signed up close to 170 homes there, 50 percent of them low- to medium-income. The press conference announcing the beginning of its campaign in New Haven is scheduled for Tuesday, Jan. 12 at Neighborhood Housing Services in Building #3 of 333 Sherman Ave., New Haven. Please call Kathy Fay for details at (475) 227-0540.

Grid Alternatives has met with the New Haven Energy Task Force and plans to come here in the spring. The City of New Haven is currently reviewing the Solarize New Haven proposal and, once approved, its campaign will also take off in our city.

The New Haven Energy Task Force supports these campaigns and will help with their outreach efforts. These are exciting opportunities to bring solar power to New Haven residents, particularly those who may think that solar is out of their reach due to financial constraints.

We do not specifically endorse any one company’s services compared to the services of any other installer. Interested residents should get quotes from alternative installers to compare service and prices. Before you sign any contract make sure the company answers your questions and explains the process so you know what to expect. Members of the Energy Task Force are available to answer questions about solar that residents may have. Please call me at (203) 562-2798 if you are interested in the process we went through when our solar panels were installed.

Other news: The City of New Haven has officially re-instituted the Environmental Advisory Council. Its first meeting will be in January, the date has yet to be announced. Stay tuned on our Facebook page for more information or sign up for free email updates on this page.

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