by Kimberly Stoner, Director of Advocacy, CT NOFA
On Friday, Feb. 2, about 200 people from over 20 organizations marched in Hartford to demand immediate action on climate change by the state legislature, the Lamont administration, and utility and insurance companies in the state. The theme of the march was “Keep CT’s Climate Promise.”
There’s a lot to do. In the Global Warming Solutions Act, Connecticut promised by 2050 to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to 80% below levels in 2001. We would have to make some dramatic reductions in the next 26 years to meet that goal — and given the rate of climate change, that goal may not be enough. Indeed, one of the demands of the march was to set a more difficult target of reaching net zero greenhouse gases by 2050.
The CT Environmental Rights Amendment was one of the key demands. This amendment to the state constitution would include a safe and stable climate among the human rights of the people of Connecticut, along with clean and healthy air, water, soil, ecosystems, and environment, and would safeguard those rights for present and future generations. Right now, we are calling on the co-chairs of a key committee of the state legislature to bring this amendment forward in the coming legislative session. You can sign a petition at https://actionnetwork.org/petitions/we-want-our-right-to-a-healthy-environment-in-the-ct-constitution.
A great opportunity is coming up to learn more about the CT Environmental Rights Amendment, and to hear about how similar provisions in state constitutions in other states have asserted the human right to a livable environment! Maya van Rossum, the national leader of the movement to put environmental rights into state constitutions, will be the keynote speaker at the winter conference of CT NOFA coming up in March.
There was a broad range of other demands to the CT General Assembly in addition to the CT Environmental Rights Amendment:
- Setting a target of net zero greenhouse gases by 2050, along with subtargets for electricity generation, transportation, and other uses,
- Increasing funding for energy efficiency,
- Rapidly increasing solar energy, battery storage, and clean heat through heat pumps, and
- Rapidly reducing greenhouse gases from transportation by adopting advanced standards for clean cars and trucks.
When we arrived at the Capitol, state legislators, including State Rep. Joe Gresko from Stratford, co-chair of the Environment Committee, pledged to include many of these demands in a bill they are developing, to be numbered House Bill 5004. It has not yet been introduced, but when it is, all of our organizations will be watching closely to see if the state legislators are ready to meet the urgency of the moment.