What’s new?

Climate Caucus Meeting Schedule: pending

9.6.2021: We’re baaaa-aaaack!

Climate Action in Vermont:
Looking Back and Moving Forward
September 6, 2021
After a brief summer break, our Vermont Legislative Climate Solutions Caucus co-chairs—Sen. Chris Pearson and Rep. Sarah Copeland-Hanzas—are back in the virtual studio with Bob “The Green Guy” Farnham.

In the coming weeks and months, they’ll be working together to create a new series of videos to reflect on where the Caucus came from, where things stand now, and where we’re heading during the upcoming legislative session.
 
In this brand-new 16-minute video, Chris and Sarah talk about our 2019 “roadshow,” a series of more than 20 public forums across the state that helped to build public support and momentum for the 2020 passage of the Global Warming Solutions Act (Act 153). The GWSA turned our state’s greenhouse gas reduction goals — set for many years in statute as aspirational targets — into mandates. It also established the Vermont Climate Council, a panel of citizens and experts tasked with writing a nuts-and-bolts plan to help Vermont reach those goals.
 
That’s where you come in … again! Poll after poll proves that Vermonters understand the immediate threat posed by the climate emergency and the tremendous economic opportunity that lies in shifting from polluting fossil fuels to clean renewable energy. When we weatherize our homes, for example, we save on heating bills while supporting good-paying jobs in the skilled trades.
 
The Climate Council has been hard at work for months, meeting regularly to write a roadmap that will get us to our now-required carbon-reduction goals, in three stages:
2025: 26 percent below 2005 emissions
2030: 40 percent below 1990 emissions
2050: 80 percent below 1990 emissions 


At the VCC website, you can watch archived meetings and browse documents posted by the full committee and five working sub-committees: Agriculture and Ecosystems, Cross-Sector Mitigation, Just Transitions, Rural Resilience, and Adaptation, and Science and Data.
 
You can also submit a public comment for the VCC to consider and to post on its site.
 
Why is your voice so important? Because the Council’s plan is set to be published in December, and they are actively soliciting public input. And once published, the plan will become the foundation for our legislative work when the Vermont General Assembly reconvenes in January 2022.
 
As Chris and Sarah mention in this latest video update, when it comes to transformative climate action, we are “poised at the end of the diving board” and anticipate an “intense need for public participation” in the weeks and months ahead. As individuals and as a state, we have much to gain from shifting to a low-carbon economy in a thoughtful, strategic, and inclusive way — and we need you on the team!

2022 has the potential to be a pivotal year. We hope you’ll stay tuned, and stay engaged. 

FEDERAL ARPA DOLLARS: Letter to Municipalities and Schools 
Dear Municipal and School Leaders: 

Greetings from the Vermont Legislative Climate Solutions Caucus! With 80-plus members in the House and Senate, we’re a broad coalition of legislators dedicated to advancing cost-effective and equitable energy policies to transition Vermont to a sustainable future. 

We hope our caucus can play a helpful role — as a clearinghouse for climate-friendly ideas and resources — while the Vermont legislature, municipal and education leaders consider how to allocate federal stimulus funds from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) of 2021. 

As you know, the State of Vermont will receive $1.3 billion that the legislature and Governor Scott will work together to appropriate. Significant funds will also flow directly to municipal governments and to schools. 

  • We’d like to learn about any one-time ARPA investments you’re considering, in your local government and schools, that support or intersect with smart, strategic climate action. 
  • We’re also interested in hearing your ideas about how specific, one-time state-level investments could support your local climate-related ARPA investments

We’re gathering ideas through this Google form. Will you take a few minutes to fill it out? 

Our goal is to hear about your plans as they evolve, provide additional resources and ideas, and share those ideas with other towns and schools. In addition, your feedback will help to inform our caucus and the legislature during the 2021-2022 biennium as we invest in energy policies and programs at the statewide level. 

We’re asking for brief comments about concepts and ideas, not full descriptions of plans. While the legislature will continue to work on sustained climate action, today we’re only gathering your initial ideas for projects specifically suited to one-time funding from federal ARPA dollars. For example: Provide funding for the cost of EV charging station installation, but not for ongoing maintenance. 

We hope you’ll join this conversation by filling out this quick form. We’ll be sharing your comments with the Climate Solutions Caucus and other key legislators. We’re excited about the opportunity to use federal stimulus dollars to support Vermont’s transition to renewable energy—the fast-growing economy of the future. Feel free to reach out with any questions! 

Members of Municipal and School Working Group 
Rep. Dave Durfee (DDurfee@leg.state.vt.us)
Rep. Mari Cordes (MCordes@leg.state.vt.us) 
Rep. Kari Dolan (KDolan@leg.state.vt.us)
Rep. Leslie Goldman (LGoldman@leg.state.vt.us) 
Rep. Kathleen James (KJames@leg.state.vt.us)

Sen. Andrew Perchlik (APerchlik@leg.state.vt.us)  


CLIMATE SOLUTIONS CAUCUS UPDATES

2/19/2021 update from Sen Pearson and Rep Sarah Copeland-Hanzas: Priority bills
2/12/2021 Climate Solutions Caucus update: Co-Chairs of the Vermont Legislative Climate Solutions Caucus, Rep. Sarah Copeland Hanzas, and Sen. Chris Pearson talk with Rep. Becca White about the happenings in the House Transportation Committee.
2/11/2021 Resiliency Session: Forest Resilience (pt 1). Speakers: Commissioner Snyder of Vermont Forests, Parks, and Recreation and Climate and Energy Policy Manager for the Nature Conservancy, Lauren Oates.
2/5/2021: The co-chairs of the Vermont Legislative Climate Solutions Caucus, Senator Chris Pearson, and Representative Sarah Copeland Hanzas chat with Lauren Oates, Climate and Energy Policy Manager at the Nature Conservancy Vermont. Lauren is on the Vermont Climate Council and shares updates about what’s happening. Visit their website at https://bit.ly/vt-climate-council-2021

1/28/2020 – Resiliency: Presentations from Rob Evans, State Rivers Program Manager & Shayne Jacquith, Restoration Manager at the Nature Conservancy
Co-Chairs Rep. Sarah Copeland Hanzas and VT State Senator Chris Pearson discussed what’s happening with the Climate Caucus so far this session.

Vermont Climate Council of Act 153

With the passing of the GWSA, came the creation of the Climate Council – a body of experts that will represent key sectors in Vermont’s response to climate change and ensure representation of Vermont’s communities. For contact information, member list, and meeting dates and information, check out their website here.


House and Senate vote to override Gov. Scott’s veto of GWSA

“The Senate voted 22-8 to override Gov. Phil Scott’ veto of H.688, the Global Warming Solutions Act, enough to win the two-thirds approval needed in the chamber. The House did the same last week with a 103-47 vote.” Media story


Senate approves Global Warming Solutions Act

The GWSA passed final reading in the Senate on 6/26/20 with a 23-5 vote. The bill will now be sent to the House for final review and then sent to Gov. Scott. A big thank you to everyone for all your work and energy in voicing your support for this critical bill. To view the official bill as passed by the House, click here. To view the Senate’s proposed amendments, click here. Media story


Climate Solutions Caucus Virtual Meeting 3/23/20

The Legislative members of the caucus met virtually for the first time to discuss pathways forward for economic recovery and climate resilience. To watch the whole meeting click on the screenshot!


Weekly Update, March 13, 2020


Energy Action Network (EAN): 2020 Summit

  • Latest data and analysis on where Vermont stands relative to our renewable energy and emissions reduction commitments.
  • Visionary, strategic proposals about how we can rapidly, cost-effectively, and equitably reduce fossil fuel use and greenhouse gas pollution.
  • Comprehensive networking with other leaders working on and passionate about energy and climate issues (see “pitches” and more here)

Energy Action Network (EAN): 2019 Annual Progress Report

The Energy Action Network (EAN) produces an annual analysis of Vermont’s greenhouse gas emissions, renewable energy development, and emissions reductions goals. This year, they provide an in-depth analysis on a pathway forward that would transition Vermont away from fossil fuels while diversifying its energy portfolio and boosting the economy. Download the full report or read a summary of the “Key Findings” here.


Transportation and Climate Initiative

The Transportation and Climate Initiative (TCI) is a regional collaboration of Northeast and Mid-Atlantic states and the District of Columbia that seeks to improve transportation, develop the clean energy economy and reduce carbon emissions from the transportation sector. 

The Agency of Natural Resources (ANR) held several public meetings in 2020 to receive feedback on TCI. Find more about TCI or provide feedback here.