This page provides an overview of the steps Connecticut is taking to prepare for the impacts of climate change.

Connecticut established a Governor’s Steering Committee on Climate Change in 2002. On June 2, 2008, the Connecticut legislature set greenhouse gas emissions reductions goals for the state (An Act Concerning Connecticut Global Warming Solutions; Public Act No. 08-98) and also called for the development of an Adaptation Subcommittee to identify climate impacts anticipated for the state and recommend actions to adapt to those impacts. In July 2013, the state finalized its adaptation plan, the Connecticut Climate Preparedness Plan. The state also periodically issues progress reports highlighting actions taken to implement the 2008 Global Warming Solutions Act and the last progress report — Taking Action on Climate Change 2014 Progress Report — was released in June 2014.

Adaptation After Extreme Weather Events

Connecticut’s focus on climate impacts was further catalyzed by impacts caused by two major storms: Tropical Storm Irene in August 2011 and a major snowstorm in October 2011. In response, Governor Dannel Malloy convened a Two Storm Panel. In January 2012, the Panel released the Report of the Two Storm Panel detailing recommendations to reduce the state’s vulnerability to extreme weather events. In addition, the Connecticut legislature convened a Shoreline Preservation Task Force to study the effects of sea-level rise, coastal flooding, and extreme weather events on the state’s shoreline. That Task Force released The Report of the Shoreline Preservation Task Force in January 2013 including recommendations for enhancing resilience during disaster recovery and rebuilding and to prepare for future storms. By Executive Order, Governor Malloy established a permanent working group called the State Agency Fostering Resilience Council (SAFR Council) to strengthen the state’s resilience to extreme weather and sea-level rise.

Other Legislative and Executive Actions

The state has also taken actions specially to address impacts from sea-level rise and coastal erosion. In May 2012, the Connecticut legislature passed Public Act 12-101, amending the state’s Coastal Management Act to include sea-level rise as a consideration in regulations affecting activities in the state’s coastal zone. The amendments also require landowners to consider nature-based approaches for managing coastal erosion before seeking a permit for shoreline armoring. Finally, the Act required state agencies to take sea-level rise and future erosion into consideration when updating the state’s Conservation and Development Plan, which include the state’s official policies for managing conservation of land and water resources with development. A draft plan for 2018-2023 was released in April 2018 and includes policies related to climate change and sea-level rise adaptation, but the plan has not yet been formally adopted by the legislature.

Then in June 2018, the state legislature passed Public Act 18-82 requiring local governments and state agencies to consider the most recent sea-level rise projections in various plans, including plans for local and state hazard mitigation/preparedness, conservation and development, starting on October 1, 2019. The law also increases flood-proofing standards for development requiring a minimum of two feet of elevation above the 100-year base flood and any additional elevation needed to account for the most recent sea-level rise projections of the state. The Marine Sciences Division of the University of Connecticut is tasked with updating sea-level rise projections for the state every 10 years.

In 2016, Governor Malloy directed state agencies to develop new building code standards to better protect residential and commercial structures from damage caused by flooding and high winds that accompany extreme weather through Executive Order 50.

 

These pages highlight the progress Connecticut is making to implement its statewide adaptation plan. Other resources from the Adaptation Clearinghouse, which have been developed and adopted to help Connecticut prepare for the impacts of climate change, are featured in the chart below.

The Georgetown Climate Center’s State Adaptation Progress Tracker, which tracks the progress states are making in implementing adaptation plans, was supported by the MacArthur Foundation.

(Research last updated: June 25, 2018).

 
State Agency Action Overview
Local Support Overview
 
 

State Law and Policy

Resource Name Resource Type Date
Connecticut Executive Order No. 66: State Water Plan (and State Water supply as Public Trust) Law and Governance June 14, 2018
Connecticut Executive Order No. 53 - Building code standards for extreme weather Law and Governance April 22, 2016
Connecticut Executive Order No. 50 - State Agencies Fostering Resilience Council Law and Governance October 26,2015
Connecticut Public Act 14-163: An Act Concerning the Responsibilities of the Water Planning Council Law and Governance July 1, 2014
Shore Up Connecticut Loan Program Funding October 29, 2013
Connecticut Public Act 13-179: An Act Concerning the Permitting of Certain Coastal Structures by the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection Law and Governance October 1, 2013
Connecticut SB 1010 - An Act Concerning Sea Level Rise and the Funding of Projects by the Clean Water Fund (Public Act No. 13-15) Law and Governance October 1, 2013
Connecticut Special Act 13-9: An Act Concerning Climate Change Adaptation and Data Collection Law and Governance June 6, 2013
Connecticut Public Act 12-148: An Act Enhancing Emergency Preparedness and Response Law and Governance July 1, 2012
Connecticut Coastal Omnibus Bill - An Act Concerning the Coastal Management Act and Shoreline Flood and Erosion Control Structures (SB 376, Public Act 12-101) Law and Governance 2012
Connecticut Public Act No. 08-98, Substitute House Bill No 5600 Law and Governance June 2, 2008

State Agency Plans

Resource Name Sector(s) Covered Date
Connecticut State Water Plan Water resources January 2018
Comprehensive Open Space Acquisition Strategy 2016-2020 Green Plan For Connecticut Land management and conservation, Land use and built environment 2017
Taking Action on Climate Change: Connecticut DEEP 2014 Progress Report Biodiversity and ecosystems, Coastal, Energy, Land management and conservation June 6, 2014
Connecticut Climate Change Preparedness Plan Agriculture and food, Biodiversity and ecosystems, Cultural resources, Land use and built environment, Public health, Transportation, Water resources 2013
Conservation and Development Policies: The Plan for Connecticut 2013-2018 Land management and conservation, Land use and built environment, Transportation June 5, 2013
Connecticut Shoreline Preservation Task Force Report Coastal, Land use and built environment Janaury 14, 2013
Connecticut's 2010 Natural Hazard Mitigation Plan Update Coastal, Emergency preparedness, Land use and built environment, Public health, Transportation December 2010
Facing Our Future - Adapting to Connecticut's Changing Climate Biodiversity and ecosystems, Coastal, Fish and fisheries, Forestry, Land use and built environment, Tourism and recreation, Water resources, Wildlife March 2009
State of Connecticut Natural Hazards Mitigation Plan 2007-2010 Coastal, Emergency preparedness, Forestry, Land management and conservation, Land use and built environment, Public health, Transportation, Water resources December 2007

Local and Regional Plans

Resource Name Date
Town of Guilford, Connecticut Community Coastal Resilience Plan May 30, 2014
Bridgeport, Connecticut Climate Preparedness Workshops - Summary of Findings August 2012
Preparing for Climate Change in Groton, Connecticut: A Model Process for Communities in the Northeast April 2011

More Featured Resources

Resource Name Resource Category Date
Southeastern Connecticut Regional Resilience Guidebook Planning 2017
SAFR Connecticut Connections: Building-up a resilient development and transportation network to support vulnerable communities Solutions May 1, 2015
Application of the Sea-Level Affecting Marsh Model to Coastal Connecticut Data and tools February 2015
Coastal Management in the Face of Rising Seas: Legal Strategies for Connecticut Solutions August 2, 2012
Connecticut Adaptation Resource Toolkit (CART) Adaptation Websites 2012
The Impacts of Climate Change on Connecticut Agriculture, Infrastructure, Natural Resources and Public Health Assessments April 2010
Connecticut Coastal Hazards Viewer Data and tools
 

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