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Elicker hires New Haven's first climate sustainability chief

Ebong Udoma

New Haven Mayor Justin Elicker launched the city’s first Office of Climate and Sustainability with plans to transition the city to use renewable energy sources rather than fossil fuels.

“One of the goals of my administration was to create a climate office. As many across our globe acknowledge, confronting climate change is a [question] of our time,” Elicker said. “It reflects on our ability to work collaboratively as a global community. Now we’re going to see that action globally and at the national level but also at the municipal level.”

The office’s goal is to begin having the city transition a majority of its buildings and vehicles from being powered by fossil fuels to electricity.

It plans on working with property owners to retrofit their homes to cheaper, cleaner forms of energy while working with departments and nonprofits to produce green infrastructure in the city such as bike lanes.

Elicker appointed Steve Winter as the first executive director of the new climate office to oversee this energy transition. Winter is a former Alderman and a long time advocate for green alternatives.

“This has been a lifelong passion of mine and to join that together with addressing climate change in a way that directly serves the pressing challenges facing our residents everyday is a wonderful way to marry the public service I have been involved with as an alder with my lifelong interest in climate and sustainability,” Winter said. “Climate crisis is real, it’s here now. The city has acknowledged that by declaring climate emergency.”

Eric Warner is a news fellow at WSHU.