Vermonters: Speak Up on Climate Action!

Sandy Levine | @CLFLevine

The devastation left by Hurricanes Harvey and Irma shows that bold action is needed now — and needed everywhere — to cut climate-damaging emissions. We can build stronger communities by hastening our transformation to cleaner, renewable energy. Renewable energy not only reduces harmful greenhouse gas emissions, but also provides good local jobs.

This summer, Vermont’s Governor Phil Scott announced the creation of a “Climate Action Commission.” This group of 21 committed Vermonters is tasked with making three climate action recommendations before the end of the year for Vermont’s legislature and governor to work toward.

According to Governor Scott, these recommendations should spur economic activity, inspire and grow Vermont businesses, and put Vermonters on a path to affordability – all while cutting carbon pollution and ensuring that our communities are fortified against the climate impacts already in motion.

It’s Time for Everyday Vermonters to Weigh In

To this end, the Commission is holding four public meetings across Vermont to hear what Vermonters have to say. The meetings take place on from 6–8pm. The next few meetings are:

  • Manchester – Sept 21 – Burr and Burton Hunter Seminar Room (57 Seminary Lane)
  • St. Albans – Sept 28 – City Hall Auditorium (100 North Main St)
  • Brattleboro – Oct 5 – Marlboro College Graduate Center, (28 Vernon Street Room 2-E)

I recommend that anyone who can should go to these meetings and share your ideas!

Not entirely sure what to say? CLF’s suggestions include:

  • Putting a price on carbon pollution – Pricing carbon pollution and returning the money to Vermonters supports cleaner solutions like electric vehicles, heat pumps, and weather-resistant homes. It also keeps more money in Vermonters’ pockets – and out of the pockets of polluting fossil fuel companies. It is time for the Governor to get behind this commonsense solution that cuts pollution and keeps jobs and dollars in Vermont.
  • Turning goals into commitments – Lofty goals are good, but it’s time for real action. Vermont should join Massachusetts and Connecticut and turn our greenhouse gas reduction goals, such as reducing emissions 50% by 2028 and 75% by 2050, into actual commitments. With such commitments in place, Vermont can then invest in cleaner energy, and we can all breathe easier and live in healthier neighborhoods.
  • Advancing electric vehicles – Transportation is the biggest source of climate pollution in Vermont. Electric vehicles emit one-quarter of the pollution of gasoline cars, and they cost less to operate per mile than a gas-powered car. Vermont’s clean electricity supply means that electric vehicles in the state deliver even more benefit. Vermont should step up and put 5,000 electric vehicles into the hands of Vermonters, along with electric school and city busses, by putting the VW settlement money to work and by building partnerships with utilities and businesses to leverage the financing, leasing and incentives needed to get this done.

We can’t wait for others to take action on climate change for us. We can cut carbon pollution now – while building a more robust economy – by putting a price on the dirty fuels that damage our climate. It’s time for us to push back on “business as usual” and make our voices heard. Let’s let our politicians know that we want fresh air, clean water, and the green energy future that will bolster our local economies.

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Climate Change

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Vermont

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