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CT Losing Ground on Greenhouse Gas Emissions

Expanding existing energy efficiency and renewables policies would help Connecticut reach target reductions in greenhouse gases. (SayCheeeeeese/Wikimedia Commons)
Expanding existing energy efficiency and renewables policies would help Connecticut reach target reductions in greenhouse gases. (SayCheeeeeese/Wikimedia Commons)
May 24, 2016

HARTFORD, Conn. - Greenhouse gas emissions are increasing in Connecticut, putting state-mandated reduction targets at risk.

The state is legally required to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to 10 percent below 1990 levels by the year 2020. But new analysis by the Acadia Center shows the state's total greenhouse gas pollution has increased almost 4.5 percent since 2012.

Jamie Howland, director of Acadia's Climate and Energy Analysis Center, says that follows what had been an eight-year trend of overall reductions.

"2012 was the lowest year for emissions and so, in 2013 and 2014, emissions are now above that - and I think clearly above the 2020 target as well," he says.

The analysis shows 2014 carbon dioxide emissions exceeded the target level by almost 1.5 million metric tons. And according to Howland, preliminary data indicate emissions may have been even higher last year.

Howland points out that expanding policies already in place, including investing in energy efficiency and renewable energy sources, could get the state back on track.

"Massachusetts and Vermont are doing more of those things and, since those are proven mechanisms, we know that we can get more emission reductions from them," says Howland.

And he cautions against locking Connecticut into long-term increases in emissions through new projects that rely on fossil fuels.

"If we're going to be reducing emissions substantially in the next 10 or 15 years, we need to not invest in projects that need to be in the ground 20 or 30 years before we've paid for them," he says.

Howland points out that Connecticut has only 3.5 years to achieve the emissions reduction goals by 2020, so it's crucial to establish clear policies to meet them now.

Andrea Sears, Public News Service - CT