OLR Bill Analysis

sHB 5579

AN ACT CONCERNING THE GOVERNOR'S COUNCIL ON CLIMATE CHANGE.

SUMMARY:

This bill requires the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) commissioner to consult with the Governor's Council on Climate Change (“Council”) (see BACKGROUND) when determining the state's level of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Current law requires him alone to determine these levels. By law, the state must reduce its GHG emission levels to at least (1) 10% below 1990 levels by January 1, 2020 and (2) 80% below 2001 levels by January 1, 2050.

The bill also changes certain related reporting requirements. Under current law, state agencies that are members of the Governor's Steering Committee on Climate Change (“Steering Committee”) must report certain information to the Office of Policy Management (OPM) secretary and DEEP commissioner twice a year. The bill instead requires state agencies that are members of the Council to report the same information to the secretary and commissioner every two years, beginning January 1, 2018. (The governor disbanded the Steering Committee when he established the Council.)

By law, the DEEP commissioner must report every three years to the Environment, Energy and Technology, and Transportation committees on the quantifiable GHG emissions reductions the state achieved. He must do this in consultation with the OPM secretary and, under the bill, the Council instead of the Steering Committee. (The next report is due by January 1, 2018.) The bill expands the report content (see below).

Lastly, the bill repeals an obsolete statute requiring the Steering Committee to establish a subcommittee on climate change impacts.

EFFECTIVE DATE: October 1, 2016

REPORTING REQUIREMENTS

State Agency Reports

Under the bill, the agencies represented on the Council must report to OPM and DEEP by January 1, 2018 and biennially thereafter. By law, the report must identify:

1. existing and proposed activities designed to meet state agency energy-savings goals, as set by the governor;

2. improvements to the agencies' facilities designed to meet these goals; and

3. policies and recommendations the agencies may adopt in the near future to reduce the state's GHG emissions.

DEEP Commissioner Reports

The bill requires the DEEP commissioner's reports to the specified legislative committees to include (1) an estimate of state agencies' GHG emissions and explanation of any change in them since the last report and (2) a description of state actions taken in furtherance of the Global Climate Leadership Memorandum of Understanding (MOU). (Parties to this 2015 MOU support international activities to respond to climate change.)

By law, the reports must already include:

1. a schedule of proposed regulations, policies, and strategies to achieve the state's GHG emissions targets;

2. an assessment of the latest scientific information and relevant data on global climate change; and

3. the status of GHG emission reduction efforts in other states and countries.

BACKGROUND

Governor's Council on Climate Change

The governor established the Council in Executive Order No. 46, issued April 22, 2015. The Council must examine the efficacy of existing policies and regulations designed to reduce GHG emissions and identify new strategies to meet the state's GHG emissions reduction goals.

The Council must establish interim goals to ensure the state meets its 2050 target; monitor the state's GHG emission levels; and recommend legislation, regulations, or policies to help the state meet the goals. It must report to the governor and OPM by January 1, 2016 and twice a year thereafter.

The 15-member Council is comprised of the administrative services, DEEP, economic and community development, housing, insurance, and transportation commissioners, or their designees; the OPM secretary or his designee; a Public Utilities Regulatory Authority commissioner; the Connecticut Green Bank's chief executive officer; the Connecticut Institute for Resilience and Climate Adaptation's executive director; and five gubernatorial appointees representing business and industry, non-government organizations, or local government.

COMMITTEE ACTION

Environment Committee

Joint Favorable Substitute

Yea

27

Nay

2

(03/16/2016)