|Henry Dynia, NHS of New Haven|
Statements below were shared in a press release. Contact: Sarah Ganong (203) 787-0646 x. 128
On the steps of City Hall today, more than 30 organizations called on the administration of Mayor Toni Harp to continue addressing climate change by updating the city's 2004 climate action plan with new goals and targets. The organizations are asking the city to implement strategies to reduce climate-warming greenhouse gas emissions and adapt to the unavoidable impacts of climate change.
There are many benefits to addressing climate change on the local level, including job creation for New Haven residents, improved health for city residents, and local investment in sustainable energy infrastructure.
The organizations are particularly interested in local climate action after the outcome of the Paris Agreement last December, where over 195 countries agreed to address climate change on both the international and national levels. Commitments from all levels of government are crucial to help the United States meet its targets in the Paris Agreement.
"Neighborhood Housing Services of New Haven builds green because it is better for the planet we live on, better for our city and its neighborhoods, and much better for our resident homebuyers, whose energy costs will be as low as half of what it typically costs to heat, cool, and light an unimproved house of comparable age, size, and style. Other benefits include better indoor air quality and durability," said Henry P. Dynia, Jr., Director of Design & Construction.
Below is the letter to Mayor Harp:
January 13, 2016
Mayor Toni Harp
New Haven City Hall
165 Church Street
New Haven, CT 06510
Re: A New Climate Action Plan for New Haven
Dear Mayor Harp:
Connecticut's Global Warming Solutions Act requires the state to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions at least eighty percent from 2001 levels by 2050. Governor Malloy created the Governor's Council on Climate Change on Earth Day of 2015 and charged the Council with the task of determining what strategies will enable the state to achieve the 2050 emissions target. The Council's initial report and recommendations will be completed by February 2016.
It is essential for Connecticut municipalities to do their part in helping the state achieve these necessary emission reductions. Cities like New Haven are responsible for a significant portion of emissions in Connecticut and should take a proactive role in implementing aggressive emissions reduction strategies. In addition, Connecticut municipalities must develop plans to adapt to the present and future impacts of climate change, including more heat waves, increased flooding, heavier downpours, and more severe weather events. As a coastal city, New Haven is particularly vulnerable to sea level rising and flooding.
The undersigned organizations are deeply concerned that New Haven has not updated its climate action plan since 2004. The past eleven years have brought significant technological, scientific, and policy changes, which the city's climate action plan must reflect. The state's ability to meet its 2050 emissions reduction target depends on cities like New Haven reducing emissions, and the citizens of New Haven deserve to know how the city will reduce its emissions and adapt to the impacts of climate change that cannot be avoided. Moreover, there are co-benefits associated with reducing GHG emissions, such as creating green jobs, reducing air pollution, improving active transportation, and reducing energy costs for New Haven families.
For the reasons articulated above, we respectfully ask the City of New Haven to fully update its climate action plan as expeditiously as possible. The climate action plan should clearly explain how the city plans to reduce GHG emissions and adapt to climate change impacts. New Haven should also establish GHG reduction targets and interim goals (which should be consistent with state goals) so the city can monitor its progress. We urge the City of New Haven to finalize a climate action plan by July 1, 2016 and begin implementing mitigation and adaptation strategies immediately.