HARTFORD, Conn. – A new report reveals Connecticut is not on track to meet either of its 2030 or 2050 greenhouse gas emissions goals, and advocates say cutting transportation-related pollution is the way forward.
The Connecticut Greenhouse Gas Emissions Inventory, which reviewed air quality trends from 1990 to 2018, shows that the transportation sector is the state’s largest source of pollution, mostly from fossil fuel combustion in vehicles.
Samantha Dynowski, state director of Sierra Club Connecticut, said it’s time for the state to act swiftly to reduce greenhouse gases.
“We need the administration to really change that policy, to plan to reduce vehicle miles traveled” said Dynowski. “And that can include things like really prioritizing transit, rail and bus because when you build for more vehicle emissions, you get more vehicle emissions.”
Connecticut’s Global Warming Solutions Act created a target to reduce emissions by 45% below 2001 levels by 2030. The 2018 Governor’s Council on Climate Change report unveiled that a 29% reduction in transportation emissions from 2014 is needed to meet the 2030 target.
Lori Brown, executive director of the Connecticut League of Conservation Voters, said one important step the state could take would be joining the Transportation Climate Initiative, or TCI. It’s a multi-state agreement that uses a cap-and-invest system to reduce pollution from gasoline and diesel fuel.
Proceeds from the initiative would be used to invest in clean infrastructure. Brown said TCI is crucial for a healthy future in Connecticut.
“We know it’s going to generate around $100 million dollars a year for things like converting dirty diesel school buses into electric school buses,” said Brown. “That cuts across urban, suburban, rural. It can do all kinds of things that local municipalities want to do like improving intersections and sidewalks and rail and transit options.”
TCI requires the Connecticut General Assembly’s approval to start the program. Brown said advocates are calling on the state legislature to pass TCI during a Special Session this fall.
TCI would also ensure that half of the program’s revenue would go to communities overburdened by air pollution.