The effects of climate change are already being felt in Connecticut. By the year 2050, experts say further impacts are unavoidable.
“It is going to be warmer, the water is going to be higher, it is going to cause flooding more frequently along the shoreline,” explained James O’Donnell, the executive director of the Connecticut Institute for Resilience and Climate Adaption. “And it is going to create a lot of costs.”
The state of Connecticut is trying to plan for those costs. Tuesday morning Gov. Ned Lamont signed into law an act concerning climate change adaptation.
The bill focuses on how Connecticut is investing in climate change resilience projects as the state prepares to address the impacts of climate change.
“We have to have resilient infrastructure and that is what this act enables throughout this great state,” said Andrew Mais, CT’s insurance commissioner.
According to Mais, coastal properties make up 66% of Connecticut’s total insurance value.
“That’s all at risk unless we pay attention to what we have to do,” said Lamont.
The bill has several components that provide communities with more options for resilience planning.
The law authorizes municipalities create stormwater authorities. The authority can work to reduce stormwater pollution and flooding. The authority can also be a source of additional revenue.
New London is the only city in the state that already has a stormwater authority, developed under a pilot program in 2018. They treat stormwater like a utility.
“The amount of stormwater that your property creates, that is how your fee is based,” said Mayor Michael Passero, D-New London.
The program brings in $1.3 million annually. It allows the city to invest those dollars in improving infrastructure.
“We really believe that we are a step ahead of the game,” said Passero.
Under the law, the Connecticut Green Bank’s scope is expanded. The Green Bank funds clean energy. Now the Green Bank can invest in any environmental infrastructure- everything from waste projects to elevating roads.
“Climate change is here today. We need to enable more private investment in the things that need to happen to confront climate,” said Bryan Garcia, CEO of the CT Green Bank.
The state says the bill should eventually help set Connecticut up for federal investment in projects as well.