At a time when the federal government has launched an assault on our environment, states must take strong action to slow climate change and protect the health of families and communities, as well as the natural world that sustains us. The world’s leading medical societies and hospitals are calling climate change a “global health emergency.” And the world’s leading climate scientists from the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, in their October 2018 report, said that avoiding the most catastrophic consequences of climate change will require “rapid, far-reaching and unprecedented changes in all aspects of society.” How? Cut fossil fuel use by about half in 12 years.
While Vermont has made some progress, we are far from meeting our own statutory climate action commitments. In fact, the latest Agency of Natural Resources study shows Vermont’s climate pollution rose 10% in just two years. Leadership to reverse this trend is urgently required.
We can and must take serious steps to reduce carbon pollution emissions. Doing so will create more energy independence, enhance public health, improve the lives of low-income Vermonters, and sustain our forests, which play a critical role in helping to slow climate change by taking carbon out of the atmosphere.
We can also generate tremendous economic opportunity – putting Vermonters to work weatherizing homes, deploying advanced wood heat and heat pumps, installing solar, providing more efficient transportation options, and much more. What we are missing is the political will and public policy framework needed to meet the challenge. By implementing the policy proposals laid out here, we can start making meaningful progress now, and build towards bolder climate action in the future.
Click here to read our Climate Action Plan for 2019, which we developed as part of a coalition of 25 advocacy groups.
2019 Legislative Priorities:
- Double the number of low- and moderate-income homes weatherized every year.
- Create an electric vehicle incentive program, prioritizing low- and middle-income Vermonters, using the $4.5 million in consumer protection VW settlement dollars (and related funds) as an initial investment, and direct the remaining federal VW settlement dollars to vehicle electrification.
- Join other New England states in enacting a Global Warming Solutions Act to require progress on our climate commitments.
- Expand the deployment of local renewable power to electrify more of our heating and transportation needs.
- Prohibit the expansion of new large-scale industrial fossil fuel infrastructure, like pipelines – an expensive, shortsighted investment in a soon-to-be stranded asset.
- Review the results of the impartial Joint Fiscal Office’s economic analysis on ways to cut carbon pollution across our economy and advance the policy that works best for Vermont to reduce emissions, grow jobs, and protect the most vulnerable.