It seems that these days, we don’t need meteors from outer space any more to erase the dinosaurs. We concoct our own earth-history-disrupting event, with more and more species already extinct or in great danger. And I’m not only talking plants and animals, this time it’s about us. Millions of people, cities and entire regions are at risk of losing their lives, their livelihood, or at least their home. More frequent and more severe storms, floods, mudslides, fires, droughts, loss of habitat and wars for resources — lucky those who are not dinosaurs, who are smaller and more adaptable, or have the option to move somewhere else.
State lawmakers are gearing up to promote a bear hunt in Connecticut, which would be the first in the state since 1840. The legislation for the hunt is being spearheaded by Environment Committee Co-Chair State Sen. Craig Miner who is seeking approval for a bear hunt in his own backyard – Litchfield County.
Stoked by exaggerated bear sightings, supporters are manipulating the public by marketing fear, so hunters, who represent just one percent of the state’s population, can rally support for what really amounts to nothing more than a trophy hunt to slaughter bears for mounts and rugs.
Gov. Dannel Malloy and other New England governors showed foresight in 2013 when they called for upgrading and modernizing natural gas infrastructure throughout the region, in part to complement the growing use of intermittent solar and wind energy. Unfortunately, inconsistent policies and litigation have so far blocked needed expansion. Now, the region is seeing the consequences of inaction, with Bloomberg reporting Dec. 27 – even as the full impact of an extreme and prolonged cold spell had not yet hit — that “spot prices more than tripled…and turned the region into the world’s priciest gas market.”
The article published in the Connecticut Mirror on Jan. 18, “Sandy + 5; Irene +6: Coastal resilience still elusive and expensive,” highlighted the need for Connecticut’s coastal towns to develop plans to become more resilient to hurricanes and rising sea level, yet it made no mention of the need to address climate change, the consequences of which include coastal flooding and more extreme weather events.
The wrong-way Republicans are on the dark side of history again, proposing tax cuts for their wealthy donors and oil companies while gutting programs that have helped to fuel the rise of America’s alternative energy industry. Solar and wind power, two of the fastest growing (and cleanest) sources of power in this country, provided nearly 7 percent of the nation’s electricity in 2016 (the same as hydropower). More Americans work in solar power today than in the coal industry. But various Republican proposals in House and Senate tax bills have targeted the incentives that have helped alternative energy surge, while providing tax and other benefits to fossil fuel and nuclear power purveyors — including opening up the National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska to oil drilling.
When you think of national parks, you probably think about vast stretches of green spaces where the daily routines of nature play out unaltered by human activities. But America also has “blue parks” to protect very special areas of our ocean, and the newest is off the coast of New England. The Northeast Canyons and Seamounts Marine National Monument —the first monument of its kind off the east coast of the U.S.— has canyons deeper than the Grand Canyon and mountains higher than anything east of the Rockies that rise from the deep ocean floor
Last week, without comment, the White House published a study officially titled the Climate Science Special Report. Contrary to many statements and positions articulated by President Trump, members of his Cabinet, his surrogates and his supporters, the report clearly states that Earth’s climate is changing, and “it is extremely likely that human influence has been the dominant cause of the observed warming since the mid-20th century.”
The state agency in charge of environmental protection here in Connecticut is proposing changes that will restrict its citizens’ ability to contribute to a cleaner energy future. This may sound crazy, but it makes perfect sense to our local utility companies, which are lobbying hard in Hartford for such restrictions, as are power companies in other state capitals.
The Millstone Power Station supplies more than 90 percent of the carbon-free electricity generated in Connecticut, and in fact is the largest carbon-free generator in all of New England. That’s just one reason why allowing Millstone to close prematurely would be a mistake. As a native New Englander who ran the U.S. Department of Energy’s nuclear energy program under President Obama, I’ve followed this issue closely. Let me offer some perspective on the important issues at hand.
The state budget is still an open book. It is not hard to see that Connecticut has serious unresolved fiscal challenges, but it is also apparent that our state has fundamental advantages and strong economic development tools at its disposal to promote job creation and infrastructure investment. One such tool is the Connecticut Green Bank.
As the five-year anniversary of Sandy approaches near the end of what has seemed like a relentless hurricane season, no one should become complacent. Connecticut escaped the punishing onslaught of Harvey, Irma, Jose and Maria this year, but that luck won’t hold out forever.
Has the experience of Sandy left the state in better shape to deal with hurricanes and superstorms to come? Five experts shared their insights…
The world’s climate, and Connecticut’s, is heating up rapidly. Superstorm Sandy in 2012 and the destructive tropical hurricanes this summer are just the start of more extreme storms we can expect from our warming of the oceans. Global warming has increased the probability and severity of extremely hot and wet weather worldwide. While the political shouting in Washington continues, there is a broad scientific consensus that these climatic changes are driven by the heating of Earth’s atmosphere from carbon dioxide released by the burning of fossil fuels. If we are going to limit extreme climate change, we need to make every effort to utilize every non-fossil energy source we have. And timing matters.