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.
On September 3, 2019, Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont signed Executive Order No. 3 that includes climate change mitigation and adaptation provisions. The excecutive order expanded the responsibilities of the existing Governor's Council on Climate Change to both implement Connecticut’s 2013 Plan, and prepare an updated plan by 2021. The updated adaptation plan includes recommendations for helping vulnerable communities, and for supporting regional and municipal adaptation efforts. Additionally, the governor directed the council to establish a framework for state agencies to compile and maintain an inventory of vulnerable assets to inform future vulnerability assessments.
In September 2020, the Connecticut legislature passed the Microgrid and Resilience Grant and Loan Pilot Program (Conn. Gen. Stat. § 16-243y). After Hurricane Isaias hit Connecticut in September 2020, the Connecticut legislature held a special session to pass the act. The act expands the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection’s authority to fund resilience projects, in addition to microgrids. The act also requires the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection “to prioritize funding proposals that benefit vulnerable communities.” The act defines “vulnerable communities” as “populations that may be disproportionately impacted by the effects of climate change.”
In January 2021, the Governor's Council on Climate Change released a "phase one" report called Taking Action on Climate Change and Building a More Resilient Connecticut for All. The report contains near-term mitigation and adaptation actions the state can take to guide its climate change response. The council divided the original requirements called for in Executive Order No. 3 into two phases in order to accommodate challenges brought on by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. It is anticipated that the state will release a "phase two" report describing longer-term mitigation and adaptation actions by the end of 2021.
Despite the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, on July 6, 2021, Connecticut Governor Lamont signed into law Public Law 21–115: An Act Concerning Climate Change Adaptation to increase local resilience planning options, legal authorities, and financing for adaptation and resilience projects. The main components of this law authorize the creation of municipal stormwater authorities; and increase the authority of municipal flood prevention and climate resilience boards and their ability to collect and raise funds for climate resilience projects. In addition, the law expands the scope of the state’s "green bank," the Connecticut Green Bank, beyond clean energy to adaptation- and resilience-related projects, with an emphasis on prioritizing financing for frontline communities.
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: September 16, 2021).
|Resource Name||Resource Type||Date|
|Connecticut Public Law 21–115: An Act Concerning Climate Change Adaptation||Law and Governance||July 6, 2021|
|Connecticut Microgrid and Resilience Grant and Loan Pilot Program||Law and Governance||September 2020|
|Connecticut Executive Order No. 3 - Governor's Council on Climate Change, adaptation planning||Law and Governance||September 3, 2019|
|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|
|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|
|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|
|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|