Governor Phil Scott recently released a statement denouncing President Trump’s withdrawal from the Paris Climate Agreement and announcing that Vermont would join the U.S. Climate Alliance—a group of state’s committed to upholding that agreement’s goals within their borders.
This is a good step by the governor–unfortunately the actions of his administration thus far have not aligned with the values he espoused in that statement.
We’re asking the governor to honor the commitment he made by walking the walk when it comes to climate action by pushing for real, tangible solutions that help Vermont cut our pollution and build a clean energy economy.
On June 2 Gov. Scott joined with Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker to announce their states would join the U.S. Climate Alliance–a group of states (started by the Governors of California, New York and Washington) committed to upholding the goals of the Paris Climate Agreements within their borders.
In doing so Gov. Scott joined a group of governors who have been positive forces for climate and clean energy action in their states.
Unfortunately, Gov. Scott’s record and much of his past rhetoric on this issue do not align with his colleagues in the alliance:
Gov. Jerry Brown (D-Calif.): “We have solar, wind, zero emission cars, energy efficiency and yes, a price on carbon. We’re proving that even with the toughest climate laws in the country, our economy is growing faster than almost any nation in the whole world.”source
Gov. Charlie Baker (R-Mass.): “Through solicitation and procurement of long-term contracts for hydro and wind power, Massachusetts and New England can remain a leader in clean and renewable energy production … Massachusetts is always at the forefront of adopting innovative clean energy solutions…”source
Gov. Jay Inslee (D-Wash.): “Wind energy has been a proven success in helping to reduce Washington’s carbon emissions and in benefiting our state economy … Since 2001, Washington state’s independent power producers and public and private utilities have invested more than $5.7 billion in wind energy projects that have brought new clean electricity to customers, created construction and operating jobs and strengthened the tax base for many of our rural counties.”source
Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D-N.Y.): Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Friday announced $1.5 billion for renewable energy projects such as wind, solar arrays, hydro and fuel cell to advance a state goal of achieving 50 percent of electricity from renewables by 2030. Democrat Cuomo says the investment will produce 40,000 clean energy jobs by 2020.source
Gov Phil Scott (R-Vt.): “I do not support further industrialization of our ridgelines with wind turbines.”source
In the face of President Trump’s abdication of leadership, Gov. Phil Scott has committed to help uphold the goals of the Paris Climate Agreement. Great.
But Gov. Scott’s record doesn’t match his rhetoric. He’s called for a ban on clean wind energy, advocated a budget cut for Efficiency Vermont and rebuffed plans to make fossil fuel companies pay for their pollution and use the money to cut taxes for Vermonters.
If the governor is now serious about leading on climate action, count us in. But words are no longer enough. It’s action that matters. It’s time to walk the walk!
If the governor is serious about providing real leadership on climate action, VPIRG has a series of concrete steps he can support to do just that:
• Put out a detailed plan for reaching the goals of the U.S. Climate Alliance and Vermont’s own, more ambitious greenhouse gas emission goals;
• Support enactment of legislation to enshrine Vermont’s 90 percent by 2050 renewable energy goal into law;
• Reverse course on cutting Efficiency Vermont’s funding;
• Drop blanket opposition to a plan that would cut taxes for Vermonters while gradually increasing the price of carbon pollution;
• Utilize the Volkswagen settlement funds to electrify the state’s transportation sector;
• Stop opposing renewable technologies that provide clean energy and employment for many Vermonters;
•Oppose new fossil fuel infrastructure, including fracked gas pipelines;
• Ensure that low-income weatherization and LIHEAP are at a minimum, made whole in the face of any federal cuts; and
• Convene a Vermont Climate Cabinet and reconstitute the Governor’s Advisory Council on Energy and the Environment to identify the solutions required to meet climate goals.