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What do President Biden’s climate goals mean for Vermont?

Published: Apr. 29, 2021 at 5:47 PM EDT
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BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) - At his climate summit last week, President Joe Biden promised the U.S. would be a leader in combatting climate change.

Among the promises:

  • Cutting U.S. greenhouse gas pollution in half by 2030.
  • Doubling climate-related financing for low-income countries by 2024.
  • Pushing the private sector to fund sustainable infrastructure, mitigation and other investments.

Vermont’s own Global Warming Solutions Act, passed last year, gets the state most of the way toward the president’s goals.

Jennifer Rushlow, the director of the Environmental Law Center at the Vermont Law School, says that puts us ahead of the curve.

But while Vermont has the lowest carbon dioxide emissions of any state, we will need to improve efficiency in housing and transportation.

“Our emissions reductions will need to come from moving both our buildings and our vehicles to electric energy production. Because it’s hard to move too much toward public transit in Vermont because of the way that people are so dispersed and we don’t have as much condensed development,” Rushlow said.

Rushlow says electric cars will be key to Vermont meeting its climate promises.

However, Vermont has been lagging on meeting its goals for getting electric cars on the roads.

Rushlow says it will take an investment in infrastructure, a push from the president and willingness from auto manufacturers to sell those vehicles to overcome consumer hesitancy.

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