Vermonters shared their thoughts Wednesday on the state’s recently-released Climate Action Plan which outlines strategies to take on climate change.
Vermont lawmakers also shared their thoughts on the groundbreaking plan, which will be up for discussion in the State House in January.
“With that initial plan here in front of us, we are poised to enter the next legislative session with a pretty firm set of tasks,” said Rep. Sarah Copeland-Hanzas.
The 230 proposed measures in the plan cover everything from clean heating programs to a statewide environmental justice policy.
The Climate Action Plan provides an ambitious four-year roadmap that would see the state shifting away from fossil fuels, expanding electric vehicle incentives, and building infrastructure that’s more supportive of walking, biking and public transit among other goals.
“There’s some questions about how we’re going to do all this, but a reminder this is not a technical problem,” said Sen. Andrew Perchlik. “The good news is we can do all this stuff, it’s just a societal problem of how we’re going to get the willpower to get it done and organize ourselves to make it happen.”
If all the plan’s ideas come to be a reality, the state would be chartering an ambitious path that would likely make noticeable changes in Vermonters’ daily lives. For those who have already been making those changes, there’s some concern they haven’t been reaping the benefits.
“It seems like we’re going in the wrong direction in terms of residential solar,” said Carl Bucholt. “When I put my panels up years ago, I had a six cent advantage with Green Mountain Power, and it’s becoming a negative. I don’t understand why the state can’t rein in the electric companies and say you have to do this, this is a question of public policy.”
When the Vermont Legislature convenes on January 4, the Climate Solutions Caucus will look to hit the ground running. Rep. Copeland-Hanzas outlined what we can expect early next year.
“Luckily, a lot of what is proposed right now for 2022 is ramping up things that have already been beta-tested in smaller programs and it’s really just ensuring some of these things go statewide,” Rep. Copeland-Hanzas said.
The full Climate Action Plan can be found here.