Connecticut is vulnerable to increasing temperatures, floods and droughts, and coastal flooding
Connecticut’s climate has already warmed by two to three degrees Fahrenheit in the last century. Increasing temperatures are causing spring to arrive earlier, bringing more precipitation and more frequent storms as well as drier and hotter summers. Rising sea levels threaten the stability of housing and infrastructure projects, as well as increasing the likelihood for flooding which can harm ecosystems, disrupt farming, and pose an increasing risk to human health.
- Increasing temperatures: Extreme heat will increase in the Northeast region. Currently a temperate region in the summer, the region can expect to see an increase of “extremely hot” days. On average, there are only 2.6 days a year over 95 degrees Fahrenheit now, but that number could increase to by 5-16 additional days by midcentury and jump to 15-57 additional days by the end of the century. Increasingly hot summers will have negative impacts on health, mortality, and labor productivity. Warmer temperatures could reduce the productivity of CT’s $70 million dairy industry, which accounts for 13% of the state’s farm revenue.
- Floods and droughts: Annual precipitation in the Northeast has increased about 10 percent from 1895 to 2011, and precipitation from extremely heavy storms has increased 70 percent since 1958. Increasing variability in precipitation will likely cause more flooding in the winter and spring, and more drought in the summer and fall.
- Rising sea level: Since the 1800s about one-third of wetlands and other coastal ecosystems in New England have been destroyed by human activity, reducing an effective and important line of defense against coastal flooding.
- Adaptation: Connecticut established a Governor’s Steering Committee on Climate Change in 2002. The Adaptation Subcommittee completed their initial report in 2010 and finalized the Connecticut Climate Preparedness Plan in 2013.
Connecticut residents support clean energy and climate regulations
- According to the Yale Map Project on Climate Change Communication 72% of Connecticut residents recognize that global warming is happening. The study finds that 77% of residents support regulating carbon dioxide as a pollutant and 84% support funding research into renewable energy sources.
Solar industry is growing in Connecticut
- Connecticut ranks 39rd in the US for installed wind capacity, with 5 MW installed or enough to power 1,300 homes.
- Connecticut ranks 17th in the country in installed solar capacity with 327 MW installed, enough to power 45,000 homes. There are currently 159 solar companies working throughout the value chain in the state, employing 2,170 people.
- More than one-third of CT households used natural gas for home heating in 2014.
- In 2015, 46% of Connecticut’s net electricity generation came from the 2 MW Millstone nuclear power station.
- Connecticut established a renewable portfolio standard (RPS) in 1998, which requires electric suppliers to derive 23% of their sales from renewable energy sources by 2020, plus another 4% from conservation and energy from industrial heat. In 2015, Connecticut derived 2.9% of their electricity from renewable sources.