Connecticut connection to Paris Climate deal

Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Gina McCarthy. (AP Photo/Susan Montoya Bryan)

HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — President Obama’s EPA administrator came back to Connecticut Friday to tout the Paris Global Climate agreement and the elements of it that began here in Connecticut when she was head of the DEP.

Gina McCarthy was Connecticut’s Environment Commissioner for five years in the last decade before going to Washington.

McCarthy made a victory lap here in Connecticut today, touting some of the environmental firsts she pioneered here. Connecticut firsts that now are a part of the Global Climate agreement she helped negotiate in Paris last week.

She says she did it by convincing world leaders that going green is an economic opportunity, “An opportunity for more inclusive society for a more sustainable society for jobs and economic growth and I could say that with confidence because of the work done in this state.”

It was Connecticut, under McCarthy, that pioneered power plants trading carbon credits to reduce emissions. The cash from those trades allowed the state to start the first in the nation Green Bank.

It helped to bankroll several large solar farms that are producing large amounts of power and in Somers providing reliable income to preserve a family farm.

“Between 1990 and 2012 emissions from the power sector in Connecticut declined by 34 percent,” said Gov. Malloy. The Governor also noting today that over 15,000 Connecticut homeowners have gone solar.

Cash from the power company carbon trades also funds an up to $3,000 cash rebate on electric cars.  Several dealers said today that despite low gas prices the electrics are still bringing people into show rooms.

“They don’t have as much fervor as they had initially when gas was getting up around four or five bucks a gallon but they’re not nieve enough to think that isn’t going to return one day,” said well known auto dealer Ken Crowley.

Connecticut is also the first state in the country to become ‘range confident’ for electric vehicles. That means that with over 425 publicly available electric car chargers scattered throughout the state you can drive from border to border without worrying about running out of juice.

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