The Vermont Climate Council is developing an initial Climate Action Plan that will outline how the state will meet our required greenhouse gas emission reductions. The plan is due on December 1st. The Climate Action Plan must include the following priorities to drive down climate pollution and meet our Global Warming Solutions Act targets, help Vermonters and Vermont communities adapt and thrive in a warming world, and pave the path for an equitable energy transition.
The Climate Council’s public engagement team is currently seeking public input from Vermonters. This is a critical moment—and your voice is needed. (See public engagement schedule below.) RSVP for the public engagement events here.
While there are many small and large steps Vermont must take to tackle the climate crisis, and should be included in the plan, we believe the following are five fundamental priorities that must be included in the 2021 Climate Action Plan.
- Transforming transportation: Join and implement the Transportation & Climate Initiative program (TCI-P), a multi-state program that aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and invest approximately $20 million per year in cleaner transportation solutions. Simultaneously while adopting the TCI-P, Vermont must ensure enhanced equity through complementary state implementation policies, particularly in how investment decisions are made.
- Environmental Justice: Adopt an Environmental Justice policy that requires State agencies to incorporate environmental justice into their work, establishes an Advisory Council on Environmental Justice within the Agency of Natural Resources, and requires the creation and use of an environmental justice mapping tool so that all environmental and climate work can better advance justice moving forward.
- Heating and cooling our buildings: Weatherizing an additional 120,000 homes by 2030, dramatically accelerating the pace at which Vermonters are installing efficient electric heating options, and prioritizing programs that benefit low to moderate-income and underserved communities—all made possible with a long-term, sustainable funding source.
- Expanding a renewable, resilient, local energy system: Implement an updated 100% Renewable Energy Standard, requiring far more new renewable energy to be built—especially right here in Vermont. Build grid resilience by pairing the updated Renewable Energy Standard with programs that enable distributed, affordable, locally produced electricity and energy storage at a variety of scales.
- Implementing a suite of smart growth policies: Implement policies to encourage development in compact community centers combined with policies to protect Vermont’s forests and agricultural soils to reduce climate pollution and enhance community resilience.
We are working to make sure the Climate Action Plan incorporates these five key priorities so we can meet our climate goals equitably while building resilience here in Vermont. Make your voice heard by attending public engagement event or submitting public comment at this link.
We also signed onto a letter from a broad coalition to the Climate Council to highlight necessary principles that must be incorporated into the Climate Action Plan in order for it to succeed. See that letter here.
Public Engagement Schedule:
The following events are important opportunities for you to provide input and feedback on the development and focus of the Climate Action Plan, which will be adopted on December 1, 2021.
- Thursday, September 30, 6:00-7:30pm: Virtual event via Zoom
- Tuesday, October 5, 6:00-7:30pm: Virtual event via Zoom for BIPOC communities
- Wednesday, October 6, 6:00-7:30pm: Virtual event via Zoom
Find more information about these events, the Climate Council, and Climate Action Plan at https://climatechange.vermont.gov/getinvolved,
VNRC’s Energy and Climate Program Director, Johanna Miller, holds a seat on the Climate Council. Please reach out to her with any questions at her Climate Council email: Johanna.Miller@partner.vermont.gov.