5 Priorities for Vermont’s Climate Action Plan

The Vermont Climate Council is hard at work drafting their initial Climate Action Plan to get us on track to meet our climate pollution reduction goals – the plan is due December 1st. Their public engagement team is currently seeking public input from Vermonters, and you can get involved by clicking this link. The Climate Action Plan must include the following priorities to drive down climate pollution and meet our Global Warming Solutions Act targets; improve our communities’ resilience; and ensure equity is front and center in how we prioritize and shape policies and investment strategies.

While there are many more small and large steps Vermont must take to tackle the climate crisis, and should be included in the plan, we believe there are five fundamental priorities that must be included in the 2021 Climate Action Plan.

  1. 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.
  1. 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.
  1. Heating and cooling our buildings: Weatherizing an additional 120,000 homes by 2030 and dramatically accelerating the pace at which Vermonters are installing efficient, electric heating options, prioritizing programs that benefit low to moderate-income and underserved communities — all made possible with a long-term, sustainable funding source.
  1. 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 that updated Standard with programs that enable distributed, affordable, locally produced electricity and energy storage at a variety of scales.
  1. 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.