The Global Warming Solutions Act, passed in 2020, offers a strategic planning and implementation framework to ensure we make smart investments that prioritize Vermont’s most vulnerable; put people to work in the local, clean energy economy; and harness the unique assets that make our state more resilient, independent and strong — including our farms, forests, and natural resources.
The Solutions Act does this by creating the Vermont Climate Council. The Climate Council consists of 23 members representing a diverse array of backgrounds, from low income and climate advocates to a dairy farmer and a utilities representative.
Over the course of 2021, this Council will meet regularly to discuss the ways in which Vermont can reduce our climate pollution in order to hit the targets set out by the Paris Climate Accords, and the other, longer term climate targets Vermont has committed to.
They will also be finding ways to build the resilience of Vermont’s communities to the effects of the climate crisis, which are already being felt around the state. Increased flooding, unpredictable weather patterns, public health threats, and more intense storms are all things that we need to be prepared for – and there must be an organized response at the state level. This will look like building modern infrastructure, fortifying local electrical systems, and implementing town annual assessments to ensure our communities can bounce back quickly should we see another Tropical Storm Irene, or worse.
The document the Climate Council will produce and publish in December of 2021 is meant to include a comprehensive list of recommendations for meeting our climate goals while advancing equity and community resilience. From there, the Agency of Natural Resources will act on the recommendations they can using their current authority. Others will have to go to the legislature for action.
Throughout the year, we will be asking our members to weigh in during public comment periods. The more public engagement and transparency this Council has, the better.