Jan 29, 2014
Climate Change Institute at UConn in Groton to be 'World-Class'
The new University of Connecticut-affiliated climate change institute “will be a world-class, cutting-edge center that harnesses the research and outreach capabilities of UConn” and converts it “into concrete local actions ... to better adapt to the changing climate,” Gov. Dannel P. Malloy said.
The Institute for Community Resiliency and Climate Adaptation at UConn’s Avery Point campus in Groton will strengthen efforts to help residents, business and their communities better prepare for the impacts of more severe weather and rising sea levels, Malloy said in a news release announcing its creation.
While the General Assembly anticipated creation of the institute in a special act it passed last year, the project moved forward as a result of $2.5 million in seed money earmarked for it as a result of a plea agreement approved by the U.S. attorney’s office.
The plea agreement settled a lawsuit the state brought against Unilever Home & Personal Care USA for clean water violations related to wastewater treatment.
Additional money for the institute includes $610,000 from the Connecticut Sea Grant Coastal Storm Awareness program and a $425,000 federal grant to enhance coastal resilience in Connecticut, among others.
“Over the past couple of years, our state has witnessed severe weather events that have threatened lives, destroyed property, damaged our infrastructure and inflicted billions of dollars in harm to our state’s economy,” Malloy said. “We must find ways to reduce the risks posed by the extreme weather that climate change is bringing to Connecticut and beyond.”
The multi-disciplinary institute will focus on a variety of areas, including improving scientific understanding of climate change and encourage strategies to reduce the loss of life, property, natural resources, and limit social disruption from future high-impact weather events as well as from sea level rise, flooding, erosion and other hazards.
It also will study ways to harden the electric grid and shoreline infrastructure such as roads, bridges, train tracks and wastewater-treatment plants; design innovative financial options for property owners seeking to make their homes and businesses more resilient and increase public understanding of climate issues.