Vt. Climate Council adopts Climate Action Plan

Published: Dec. 1, 2021 at 5:36 PM EST
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MONTPELIER, Vt. (WCAX) - A group tasked with transforming and reducing Vermont’s contributions to climate change has released its final report.

The Vermont Climate Council Wednesday adopted their initial Vermont Climate Action Plan. The plan outlines 230 recommendations for how Vermont can cut greenhouse gas emissions in half by 2030, and at the same time to prepare for extreme weather caused by climate changes already underway.

Some of the key recommendations include expanding weatherization and clean energy programs, accelerating the shift to electric vehicles, focusing development in downtowns, and improving agricultural practices.

The Global Warming Solutions Act, the law that spurred the plan, lays out strict climate benchmarks for enforcing the recommendations. By 2025, the state will have to reduce emissions to 26% below 2005 greenhouse gas levels. If the state fails to meet these goals, Vermonters will be able to take the state to court to spur action.

A number of environmental groups applauded the law, saying it provides an important foundation for progress. It was approved over the objections of Gov. Phil Scott, who vetoed the measure. Four members of the Scott administration on the Climate Council oppose what they call the overzealous process established by the Legislature and they oppose some of the actions outlined in the climate plan. They echoed the governor’s concerns in his original veto message, saying the timeline in achieving the goals is unrealistic and that an unelected body shouldn’t be making the decisions.

The majority of the Climate Council’s recommendations will require legislative action this coming session or in the years after. With over 200 proposals, there will be a lot for lawmakers to mull over, including how to pay for the proposals. Lawmakers still have to decide how to spend American Rescue Plan and new infrastructure funding.

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