DEEP: Governor Malloy and DEEP Commissioner Klee Comment on Findings of National Climate Assessment

May 6, 2014
 
Governor Malloy and DEEP Commissioner Klee Comment on Findings of National Climate Assessment
 
Detailed Report Shows Impacts of Climate Change are Being Felt Across the Nation
 
Governor Dannel P. Malloy and Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) Commissioner Robert Klee issued the following comments on the findings of the latest National Climate Assessment, which was released today by the White House.
 
The National Climate Assessment was prepared by climate experts in academia and government to guide U.S. policy.  It concluded that:
  • Climate change is already happening across the United States and within each of the nation’s major regions
  • Climate change is affecting people and natural resources across the country
  • Climate change in recent decades has been primarily caused by human activities, especially the burning of fossil fuels
Governor Malloy said, “It’s clear from the National Climate Assessment that we must strengthen our efforts to reduce the volume of harmful carbon emissions into the atmosphere while putting strategies in place to adapt to changes we are going to see as a result of existing levels.  In Connecticut, we are taking actions to limit carbon emissions which serve as a model for the nation.  We are a charter member of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, a multi-state program that has reduced carbon emissions from plants that generate electricity by 40% since 2005.  Our Comprehensive Energy Strategy will also drive down emissions, with its emphasis on energy efficiency, renewable power, and the use of alternative vehicles in the transportation sector.
 
“When it comes to climate adaption, Connecticut is also a leader,” the Governor continued.  “We have adopted a Climate Preparedness Plan, taken steps to assist shoreline property owners, put plans in place to protect our shoreline in an environmentally sound manner, and launched the Connecticut Institute for Resiliency and Climate Adaptation (CIRCA) at the University of Connecticut’s Avery Point Campus.  CIRCA will develop strategies and programs to help Connecticut’s residents and communities reduce the loss of life, property, and natural resources from future high impact weather events as well as from sea level rise and  flooding.”
 
Commissioner Klee said, “Climate change is not a distant or future phenomena – it is happening right here in Connecticut right now.  In Long Island Sound, water levels are rising, water temperatures are increasing, and we are seeing a decline in cold water fish species and a marked increase in warm water species.
 
“In addition, our recent Climate Preparedness Plan shows that across our state, 75 species characterized as at-risk or endangered will experience a large population decline due to projected changes in climate.  At the same time, 10 invasive or potentially invasive species were identified as likely to experience a significant increase in abundance here due to climate.  These unwelcome invasives – including Asian clams, mile-a-minute vine, and new species of mosquitoes that can spread diseases – will put new stresses on our environment and public health.
 
“Changing temperatures and weather conditions will also impact our agriculture products, plant life, and even the variety of trees in our forests, with warmer weather threatening, for instance,  to drive sugar maple trees out of our state.”