The Vermont Climate Council adopted an action plan Wednesday that provides a path forward in the battle against climate change.
The Vermont Climate Action Plan will help the state meet emissions reductions requirements outlined in the Global Warming Solutions Act. It includes 26 pathways for action, including a dramatic increase in efforts to weatherize Vermont homes and spur the adoption of electric vehicles
Johanna Miller of the Vermont Natural Resources Council said Vermonters have felt the consequences of a changing climate.
“This summer especially, rain events in Southern Vermont that are wiping out roads and bridges and really impacting people’s lives,” Miller said.
The plan took more than a year to develop, and includes 230 proposed measures, such as clean heating programs, transitioning to electric vehicles, and a statewide environmental justice police. Some will require legislative approval and allocating more funding.
“We have a lot of work to do to turn this plan and its good ideas into real on the ground action and we’re prepared to do that,” Ben Walsh of Vermont Public Interest Research Group said.
At the same time, climate council members serving in Governor Phil Scott’s administration voted agaiknst the plan. In a statement, they said “the legislature imposed an unrealistic time frame on the work it expected this body to accomplish which has resulted in an unfortunate lack of transparency into the impact of the plan, particularly on rural Vermont and disadvantaged communities.”
Wash says it’s crucial the work is done in a way that works for all Vermonters. That includes talking with people about what they can do to cut their bills and emissions.
“We need to invest in community outreach, translation for Vermonters who may not speak English as their first language,” Walsh said. “Really getting things like that right is going to be the difference between lifting some boats, and lifting all boats with climate action.”