A state committee charged with developing ways for Connecticut to adapt to a warming climate held a public meeting today in Hartford.
The committee includes people from the Departments of Agriculture, Environmental Protection and Public Health. They looked at the impact of warming air temperatures, increased precipitation, rising sea levels, and other extreme events. They found that sewage treatment plants located on the water could be at risk, as well as dams and other structures designed to control coastal floods. Cold water streams and the fish they support are particularly vulnerable. 75 species including the least shrew, Atlantic salmon and the American lobster could experience a decline in their native habitat. The extreme heat could also increase human diseases associated with ticks, mosquitoes and rodents. Warmer summers could stress dairy cows and lower the production of milk. Agricultural commissioner Phil Prelli says the timing and intensity of storms could make it difficult for farmers to get into the fields to plant:
“...Or it’s the perfect time to harvest your crop, but you got rain now which we never used to get. We can’t go in and harvest those crops. You’ll lose those crops. Or we get the hail storm that hits the early buds or hurts the early bloom for the apples and destroys that whole crop which we had this year. So that’s where the concerns are.”
Prelli also said if winter temperatures drop maple syrup production could decline. The committee will hold a second public meeting in New Haven in January. Later next year it will develop strategies for adapting to a changing climate.
For WNPR, I'm Nancy Cohen.