VT Groups Unveil Shared Priorities for Climate Action in 2019

On Wednesday, VPIRG joined with a coalition of 25 groups from around Vermont — representing youth, low-income, business, public health, environment and others — to announce a shared platform for Climate Action, detailing our shared policy goals for the 2019 session.

In a press event at the Vermont State House Wednesday, the coalition urged action on several of Gov. Scott’s Climate Action Commission’s recommendations and other policies to help meet Vermont’s statutory greenhouse gas pollution reduction goals. These include, but are not limited to:

  • Doubling the number of low- and moderate-income homes weatherized every year
  • Creating an electric vehicle incentive program, prioritizing low- and middle-income Vermonters, using VW settlement dollars
  • Joining other New England states in requiring progress on our climate commitments

“The science couldn’t be any more clear: Bold action on climate is imperative. VNRC is proud to join a diverse coalition of partners pushing for job-creating, climate mitigation strategies and to ensure Vermont does its part on this pressing issue,” said Johanna Miller, Energy and Climate Action Program Director at the Vermont Natural Resources Council (VNRC).

“With the federal government blocking all efforts to prevent the worst effects of climate change, local action is more important than ever,” said Sandra Levine, Senior Attorney at Conservation Law Foundation. “We need to drastically reduce our climate-damaging emissions, and Vermont lawmakers must take up these urgent priorities to get us there.”

“Vermonters with low incomes suffer the greatest consequences from violent climate events; they live in the most risk prone locations; they are the most negatively impacted by health risks from emissions; and they have the highest energy burdens,” said Karen Lafayette of the Vermont Low Income Advocacy Council (VTLIAC). “We urge the Governor and Vermont policy makers to reduce carbon pollution, to invest in weatherization and transportation options, and protect the most vulnerable Vermonters as we transition to a cleaner energy future.”

“Climate change threatens Vermont’s economy and environment, and failure to act also ignores the powerful job-creating opportunities a bold response could offer. The prospect of a Vermont without a recreational summer and winter economies is now very real,” said Dan Barlow, public policy manager for Vermont Businesses for Social Responsibility. “We need leadership at all levels to address climate change, from our business community to our elected officials.”

Our wildlife is at risk, too. “Climate change is the biggest threat facing birds today, and when birds thrive, we all thrive,” said David Mears, executive director of Audubon Vermont. “We must act now to reduce carbon pollution — the Climate Action Plan and Blueprint are important steps in that direction that must be taken by our state’s elected leaders if we are to make any meaningful progress.”

“The cost of inaction on climate is unacceptable,” said Ben Edgerly Walsh, climate and energy program director with the Vermont Public Interest Research Group. “Fossil fuel purchases are draining nearly $2 billion a year out of our state, to buy a product fueling the climate crisis. We’re proud to stand with these organizations to say loudly and clearly that this is another way – and that state leaders must act to put us on that path, today.”

The full list of organizations who have signed onto the Climate Action Plan to date includes:

Audubon Vermont

Capstone Community Action

Cathedral Square Corporation

Champlain Valley Office of Economic Opportunity

Conservation Law Foundation

Downstreet Housing & Community Development

NeighborWorks of Western Vermont – Heat Squad

Renewable Energy Vermont

Rights & Democracy

Sierra Club – Vermont Chapter

The Nature Conservancy

Toxics Actions Center

Vermont Affordable Housing Coalition

Vermont Businesses for Social Responsibility

Vermont Climate and Health Alliance

Vermont Conservation Voters

Vermont Interfaith Action

Vermont Interfaith Power and Light

Vermont Low Income Advocacy Council

Vermont Natural Resources Council

Vermont Public Interest Research Group

Vermont Yankee Decommissioning Alliance

Vermont Youth Lobby

Vermonters for a New Economy

350Vermont

Check out the full platform of policy priorities for Vermont legislators to advance in 2019 on climate change: