VNRC Urges Action in Wake of Solid Climate Report

VNRC Urges Action in Wake of Solid Climate Report

October 29, 2007

Boosting efficiency and renewable energy, protecting Vermont’s “green bank” of farms and forests, and investing in public transportation are among the recommendations in the long-awaited Governor’s Commission on Climate Change report, issued October 26.

“This report is our roadmap to a green economy, and our recommendations are built on solid information,” said Elizabeth Courtney, one of six members of the commission and VNRC’s executive director. “Now, it’s more clear than ever just how Vermont can most quickly and effectively reduce its contribution to global warming. Vermonters are counting on the governor and the Legislature to move forward in addressing the challenge before us.”

Courtney noted that much of the climate change report focuses on solutions, like land use planning changes and protection of natural resources, that VNRC has championed for years.

“There’s a real opportunity for the state of Vermont to turn the problem of climate change into opportunity,” said Courtney. “Vermont must embrace this report not only as key to tackling this monumental issue, but also as the first step to building a green economy through innovation and entrepreneurship. But to do that, the state must actually implement the recommendations of the Climate Change Commission.”

(Read more about VNRC’s call for implementation of the climate commission’s recommendations in our recent editorial.)

The commission recommended 38 strategies to fight climate change. The number one overarching strategy the commission put forward is the expansion of the state’s energy efficiency program, a proposal lawmakers brought to the governor last year, only to have the governor veto it amid controversy.

The current efficiency program known as Efficiency Vermont allows homeowners and businesses to get advice and financial incentives to cut their electricity bills. The enhanced program, suggested in the report, would offer state help to people who want to cut heating oil and natural gas bills. Under that expanded program, Vermonters could get advice, as well as financial incentives, to do things like install efficient furnaces, replace leaky windows, and bulk up the insulation in their homes. The recommendation also calls for more incentives for developing renewable power.

The six members of the commission were chosen by the governor and worked for 18-months to come up with the recommendations. A plenary group of 31 members met seven times to look at the hard facts, and come up with base recommendations.

“The report is the result of a rigorous, broad-based effort,” Courtney said. “Let’s make sure this report is actually implemented.”

Read the Governor’s Commission on Climate Change report here.