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.
What do the Great Depression and climate change have in common? The former transformed individual lives and geopolitics for generations. Its effects are still felt today. The decade-long catastrophe was arguably the most consequential episode of the 20th Century. Our warming planet will have a similar, likely larger impact on us and on our descendants. It already has started transforming how we live. In 2099, Global Warming (let’s call a spade a spade) will be viewed as the single most significant occurrence of this century—if not of all time.
Gov. Dannel Malloy and the legislature in a bipartisan fashion created the Connecticut Green Bank as part of a stated policy to make energy in Connecticut less expensive, more reliable and sustainable. Let’s not squander the significant progress we have made in pursuit of all three of those goals. The Connecticut Green Bank should not be used as a cash machine to fund general government programs, but as an engine of our future economy.
The on-going state budget challenge is forcing the legislature to grapple with tough challenges. It’s in many ways a no-win situation, but let’s not make it worse by returning to old spending habits instead of investing in new ideas that provide much better returns. Continuing investments in energy efficiency pay off and funding for DEEP is fundamental to keeping Connecticut a clean, healthy, beautiful place to live. But as a member of the Board of Directors of the Connecticut Green Bank (CGB), I can’t help but weigh in to remind the legislature that on the side of the spending ledger representing the future, the CGB is an idea that works.
How many economists does it take to change a light bulb? None. The market will take care of it. The Connecticut gubernatorial campaign is gearing up with candidates offering “big ideas.” Sadly, these seem more like the old cereal commercial, “taste Frosted Flakes again, for the very first time.” What is missing from the current political debates is an honest discussion of the values we want to shape our future world.
Our president is presently ensconced in his natural habitat, an exclusive golf course resort in New Jersey. This is truly sad, not merely Twitter-sad.
With this whole glorious country spread before him —from the mountains, to the prairies, to the oceans white with foam— our leader has chosen to embrace a fake landscape that only the well-to-do can frequent. He won’t be bumping into many wild things, or coal miners, on this trip.
As the state’s budget battle continues, debate over cutting costs and raising revenue has not focused on a promising strategy – ramping up clean energy efforts to grow our way out of the budget problem. Deploying solar and increasing building energy efficiency cuts air pollution, reduces energy costs, creates jobs, and stimulates the state’s economy – all while putting more tax revenue in state coffers. We can help plug the budget gap by strengthening our clean energy economy. The two work together. What we absolutely should not do is raid clean energy funds.
What is there to say about a civilization that ignores the quickening pace of climate chaos? When the margin available for preventing vast damage across a hundred generations is already gone, what is there to say about a people who again and again embrace habits and systems and ideologies that deepen the damage?
As the Malloy administration and state legislators negotiate a new FY18-FY19 biennial budget, many residents will directly be affected by the cuts made to public programs they depend on. There is, however, one decision that can still be made that would not increase the deficit, and be greatly appreciated by Connecticut residents—enactment of the bipartisan Passport to Parks.