12/1/2021 – The Vermont Climate Council adopted the initial Vermont Climate Action Plan today. The plan will help Vermont meet the emissions reductions requirements outlined in the Global Warming Solutions Act and prepare for the impacts of climate change.
“A talented, passionate, and highly motivated group of Vermonters came together late last year to form Vermont’s Climate Council and draft this initial Climate Action Plan,” said Julie Moore, Secretary of Vermont Agency of Natural Resources. “The recommendations put forward in the Vermont Climate Action Plan reflect the collective work of the Vermont Climate Council, its five subcommittees, and ideas and feedback from the public.”
The Global Warming Solutions Act, adopted by the General Assembly in September 2020, created the Vermont Climate Council, and required the Council to adopt a Climate Action Plan by December 1, 2021. This initial Climate Action Plan includes 26 pathways for action, including a dramatic increase in efforts to weatherize Vermont homes and spur the adoption of electric vehicles, recommendations for investments to help Vermont homeowners and businesses relocate from harms’ way in the face of a changing climate, and steps to ensure the resilience and viability of Vermont’s farms, forests and natural lands, among others. These pathways outline work needed to accomplish the greenhouse gas emission reduction requirements established in the Global Warming Solutions Act. In addition, the plan lays out 64 strategies and more than 230 specific steps that spell out the framework needed to realize the transformative change required by the Global Warming Solutions Act.
This initial comprehensive, four-year plan includes recommendations to:
- Expand weatherization and clean, energy-efficient heating options, such as improved insulation and heat pumps for Vermonters.
- Shift away from fossil fuels and fossil fuel-dependent equipment.
- Build more charging stations for electric vehicles.
- Provide incentives to help Vermonters purchase electric vehicles.
- Incentivize village and downtown development in a way that preserves more open space, such as town forests, and uses land more efficiently.
- Create infrastructure that supports more walking, biking, public transit options and electric vehicle use in Vermont communities.
- Invest in agricultural and working lands management practices that cut emissions.
- Prioritize planning practices and investments that help Vermont communities prepare for climate impacts.
- Launch comprehensive climate education programs for schools and sectors.
The impact, cost, feasibility, equity, and benefits were assessed to shape the priorities in the plan. “Priorities in the Vermont Climate Action Plan have been assessed based on ‘Just Transition’ Principles that were developed by a diverse range of Vermonters engaged in the Council’s work. While there is much more work to be done to equitably engage Vermonters in shaping climate action moving forward, applying these principles will ensure those most affected by climate change and an energy transition are being considered,” said Councilor Sue Minter and Co-Chair of the Just Transitions Subcommittee.
This is an initial plan, and the Council will continue its work by identifying funding opportunities, engaging the public in the recommendations within the plan, and measuring and assessing progress, in addition to other activities. The Vermont Legislature, Agency of Natural Resources and other entities outlined in the plan, will now consider the recommendations and act to implement change in Vermont.