In this week’s Climate Dispatch, VNRC’s Johanna Miller and VCV’s Lauren Hierl are joined by Addison County Senator Christopher Bray, chair of the Senate Natural Resources and Energy Committee (SNRE) to discuss several key climate-action initiatives advancing in the final weeks of the legislative session, including the Clean Heat Standard (H.715).
SNRE has been deep in testimony on the Clean Heat Standard, which is a performance-based measure intended to deliver stepped, equitable, pollution-cutting progress in the fossil fuel heating sector. For VNRC and VCV, we know that no policy will make all the climate progress we need and that there are no perfect, easy energy solutions. We also know that the design of a policy matters tremendously to ensure it delivers on its core goal with integrity, which is why we will support a Clean Heat Standard if it actually:
- Requires fossil fuel companies to cut climate pollution in the heating sector in line with Vermont’s legal emissions reduction requirements, as outlined in the Global Warming Solutions Act.
- Achieves emissions reductions using a transparent, lifecycle approach; taking into account the full emissions created with, and the sustainability impacts of, options like biofuel.
- Centers equity and requires that a significant portion of clean heat benefits go to low- and moderate-income Vermonters and those who have disproportionately borne the high cost of polluting fossil fuels.
This has the potential to be a necessarily disruptive and transformative policy that drives long-overdue progress towards reducing our reliance on polluting and price volatile fossil fuels. It’s beyond time to untether Vermonters from high-cost, 100% imported fossil fuels and implement a suite of strategies to help Vermonters use less energy, stay warm and get where they need to go with cleaner, more cost effective and renewable resources. The Clean Heat Standard and other commitments this year – in the FY 23 budget (H.740) and beyond – are critical to take our state a significant step forward to a cleaner, more affordable and equitable energy economy.
Call to Action
Please call or email your Senators this weekend or early next week and thank them in advance for supporting H.715 – the Clean Heat Standard – and the equitable, climate-accountable progress it can and must deliver.
As the world’s leading climate scientists have made abundantly clear recently: It is now or never when it comes to climate action.