In 2020, the Vermont Legislature created the Climate Council and required them to develop a Climate Action Plan. The initial plan was released in December 2021, and lays out a suite of investment and policy initiatives necessary to drive down climate pollution and meet our Global Warming Solutions Act targets; strengthen our communities’ resilience; and ensure equity is front and center in how we prioritize and shape policies and investment strategies. Vermont has both a legal and moral obligation to cut climate pollution in a just way, and at a pace that recognizes the scale and severity of the climate emergency. While the Climate Action Plan requires additional refinement and input — particularly from historically marginalized Vermonters — the Legislature has clear direction on what we need to do to transform our energy systems. There is also an enormous opportunity to create thousands of good paying union jobs and keep billions of dollars flowing in our local economies. With unprecedented federal funding available, we have a historic opportunity to get to work implementing the solutions laid out in the Climate Action Plan, which will help all Vermonters benefit from the clean energy economy.
2023 Legislative Priorities:
- Affordable, Cleaner Heat: Adopt a climate accountable standard to deliver more affordable heat, and ensure stepped, certain, and equitable pollution reduction in the fossil fuel heating sector to help more Vermonters stay warm with cleaner heating solutions.
- Cleaner Electricity: Update the Renewable Energy Standard to require 100% total renewable energy by 2030 and far more new, renewable energy generation, especially from right here in Vermont – while prioritizing lower-income, historically overburdened Vermonters in accessing that clean energy.
- Cleaner Transportation: Expand costcutting and pollution-reducing transportation investments and enact policies that help all Vermonters access more efficient and electric vehicles and other needed transit, micro-transit, bike, and pedestrian solutions. The Legislature should also create the authorizing environment for Vermont to participate in a cap-and-invest or similar regulatory program to build a rural transportation system that is less polluting, more cost-effective, and accessible to all Vermonters.
- Climate Investments: Vermont will need a FY24 budget that continues to increase investments in climate and clean energy programs, in particular those that prioritize access for lower income and other historically marginalized communities. Lawmakers must also provide oversight to ensure the unprecedented FY23 investments in climate are expended effectively and equitably. The state should focus and prioritize investments to help Vermonters access clean, efficient and affordable heating and transportation solutions, address environmental justice, expand our commitment to low-income weatherization and efficiency, and invest in programs that will help build more resilient communities