Climate change is the greatest challenge of our generation. As citizens of this planet, we cannot sit idly by while it goes up in flames. In order to cut down emissions, preserve our environment and ensure public health for all, we need a bold solution.
The Transportation and Climate Initiative is that bold solution. The transportation sector accounts for a whopping 38% of Connecticut’s greenhouse gas emissions, more than any other source. This disproportionate rate of emissions is largely due continued sprawling land use, car-centric zoning codes and a stubborn reliance on low-occupancy motor vehicles.
The Transportation and Climate Initiative is a collaboration of 12 Northeastern states and the District of Columbia that is looking at regional approaches to improving transportation that will lower carbon emissions.
What are we waiting for? Planners, economists, and activists agree that expanding public transit and rewriting municipal zoning codes are some of the most equitable, efficient and economically stimulating methods of reducing transportation emissions. Updating the zoning regulations of cities and towns is critical because existing land use and zoning codes may not support sustainable development. Good land use results in fewer car trips, more transit riders and more walking and biking in and around our cities and town centers.
Opponents of sustainable transportation and land use will soon wake to the extra costs they will have to bear as the impacts of climate change amplify over the next decade — whether they be medical bills due to air pollution or heat stroke, remodeling costs from basement flooding, or over-the-top electric bills from poorly insulated homes and searing summer heat. These costs will add up to be much greater than the investments we must all make now to reduce pollution and tackle climate change.
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