Click Here to read the Brief:
Natural Gas Policy and Public Health in Connecticut: A Yale Center on Climate Change and Health Issue Brief.
Natural gas is a fossil fuel that contributes to climate change; in 2018, over 40% of Connecticut’s total energy-related climate warming emissions were attributable to natural gas. Throughout its life cycle, natural gas causes adverse health effects by contributing to climate impacts, including heat waves, extreme weather events, shifting ecosystems, and reduced agricultural productivity. Additionally, toxic pollutants are released into the environment throughout the natural gas life cycle, leading to adverse health effects such as premature mortality, increased cancer risk, respiratory diseases, and cardiovascular effects.
In spite of Connecticut’s greenhouse gas reduction targets aimed at tackling climate change, statewide consumption of natural gas has increased in recent years, in part due to policies specifically designed to encourage the expansion of natural gas use, to the detriment of clean energy alternatives.
Given the negative public health impacts of natural gas and the statewide emissions reduction requirements, public policy in Connecticut should drive the elimination of natural gas use as quickly as possible. The same communities that are hit first and worst by climate-exacerbated events – low-income households and communities of color – also experience disproportionate exposure to pollution from the fossil fuel system. Therefore, environmental justice must be a top priority of Connecticut’s energy policy changes, to ensure health equity and equal access to clean alternatives to fossil fuels. We recommend the following actions to achieve these goals:
We invite you to read the issue brief to learn more about the connection between natural gas consumption, climate change, and health in Connecticut and what policies can be enacted to address this important issue. Natural Gas Policy and Public Health in Connecticut: A Yale Center on Climate Change and Health Issue Brief is available on the Yale Center on Climate Change and Health (YCCCH) website.
- Under the next Conservation and Load Management Plan, expand equitable incentives and funding for building retrofits to achieve electrification of end uses
- Establish a sunset date for natural gas hookups in new construction
- Eliminate the utility rate mechanisms that support the natural gas expansion program, and end the program by the end of its 10-year period, if not sooner
- Advocate for the reform of ISO-New England’s administration of wholesale electricity markets to enable grid-scale procurement of clean energy resources
- Enact a statute requiring 100% zero carbon electric supply and generation by 2035
- Enact a statute banning the construction of new fossil fuel electric power plants, including natural gas power plants