With Your Help, Vermont Makes Critical Climate Progress | Conservation Law Foundation

With Your Help, Vermont Makes Critical Climate Progress

Vermont legislators voted overwhelmingly to pass the Global Warming Solutions Act

Jen Duggan

After months of work by Vermonters across the state – and despite a veto from Governor Scott – the Global Warming Solutions Act is now the law of the land in the Green Mountain State. This critical bill will slash carbon pollution while building resilient communities and looking after our most vulnerable neighbors.

From public health professionals to environmental advocates to a diverse business community, a wide array of Vermonters supported the Global Warming Solutions Act. It was even backed by the state treasurer and attorney general. So while Governor Scott turned his back on concrete climate action by vetoing the bill, our legislators stepped up to push forward critical climate progress.

The Global Warming Solutions Act is Good for Vermont

We weren’t prepared for COVID-19, but we can be ready for climate impacts. As we recover from the pandemic, we must accelerate our economic recovery and prepare for the future.

The Global Warming Solutions act does just that. It makes sure that Vermont lowers its polluting emissions by turning our existing emissions goals into legally binding targets, with benchmarks for us to hit along the way. It puts people to work in the clean energy economy by creating local green jobs. It ensures our infrastructure is prepared for climate impacts like more severe storms and crippling heat waves. And it improves access to clean energy, transportation, and lower heating and housing costs for everyone, including rural and low-income Vermonters.

The law also keys into part of what makes Vermont so unique by promoting the use of natural and working lands to capture and store carbon. This will help protect our homes, businesses, and communities from the impacts of floods while managing our emissions. And the bill expands our commitment to local agriculture and makes sure rural communities are not left behind in this transition to a clean economy.   

Vermont has the highest per capita emissions in the region. We’re the only state in New England that hasn’t yet reduced its emissions below 1990 levels. But with this new climate law, we can start making real progress to slash climate-damaging pollution and protect Vermonters across the state.

Next Steps for Climate Progress in Vermont

While Governor Scott rejected climate progress, our legislators stepped up and passed this bill with an overwhelming majority. Here’s what comes next:

  1. Vermont will establish a diverse Climate Council to help guide us forward. This Council, with input from state agencies, legislators, and individual Vermonters, will lay out a climate action plan to ensure we meet our emissions targets and build stronger communities.
  2. Several state agencies will work collaboratively to identify strategic opportunities to build community resilience and lower emissions. They’ll push the best plans forward to the Climate Council.
  3. Vermonters will have the opportunity to weigh in, helping shape our state’s climate solutions to ensure that every community is included.

The Global Warming Solutions Act provides the framework Vermont needs to make meaningful climate progress. As we move forward, this new law will guide us. We have our work cut out for us. But for today, we can celebrate that Vermont is finally poised to act on climate.

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