Vermont Business Magazine Mayor Miro Weinberger and Governor Phil Scott today announced Wednesday, November 8, 2017 as the date for the Vermont Energy and Climate Summit promised at the launch of the Vermont Climate Pledge Coalition on June 20, 2017. The summit will provide an opportunity for the Coalition to work on its goal of helping Vermont achieve the December 2015 Paris Climate Agreement pledge by the United States and mitigate the impact of the Federal government’s withdrawal from the Paris Agreement. The summit also will produce tangible recommendations for the Governor’s recently formed Vermont Climate Action Commission. The Coalition and the Energy Action Network (EAN) will jointly host the day-long summit at Champlain College’s Center for Communications and Creative Media.
The Governor and Mayor also announced the launch of a new climate pledge tracker, an online tool developed in partnership with the EAN through its Community Energy Dashboard that will enable Coalition members to register and track all their climate pledges and actions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The pledge tracker also will provide great opportunities for organizations that have never created a climate action plan to take significant steps forward.
“The federal government’s historic mistake in withdrawing from the Paris Agreement has increased the urgency with which we must tackle this generational challenge and take local action,” said Mayor Miro Weinberger. “Together, one organization at a time, Vermont cities and towns, businesses, and civil society have the opportunity to make choices and take steps that move our state toward the international goals of the Paris Agreement, as well as toward Vermont’s greenhouse gas emissions goals and its goal of being 90 percent renewable by 2050. I appreciate our partnership with EAN and am grateful for their innovative energy dashboard and climate pledge tracker.”
The Coalition, coordinated by the City of Burlington, is intended to complement State goals established in prior years. Together, Coalition members are working to help Vermont meet the U.S. commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions levels from 2005 by 26-28 percent by 2025 and to reinvigorate efforts to reach Vermont’s own more ambitious goal of achieving an 80-95 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions and 90 percent renewable energy by 2050.
“The Vermont Climate Pledge Coalition is gaining momentum and making a real difference,” said Governor Scott. “I urge other Vermont towns and cities, non-profits, businesses, educational institutions, and other organizations to join the Coalition. Our strength becomes exponential as the Coalition grows and partners with the Vermont Climate Action Commission to advance our state’s strong climate change goals in a way that drives economic activity while putting Vermonters on a path to affordability without leaving any Vermonter behind.”
The summit, which will run from 8:00am to 6:00pm, will convene energy leaders from across Vermont and serve as a platform for participants to:
- Review the Coalition’s progress and assess where Vermont now stands in relation to our fast-approaching 2025 energy and climate goals;
- Hear about some of the most ambitious pledges taken by Coalition members;
- Learn from leaders on the cutting edge of greenhouse gas reductions in the business, government, and non-profit sectors; and
- Pitch policies and other ideas to coalition members and the Governor’s Vermont Climate Action Commission that will ensure that Vermont meets its energy and climate goals in ways that most benefit the state and Vermonters.
Joining the Coalition
The Coalition currently has a membership of more than 30 organizations and encourages all Vermont municipalities, non-profits, colleges and universities, and businesses to join the Coalition and do all they can to reduce carbon emissions. To join the Coalition and learn more about the summit, organizations should email Jennifer Green, Burlington Sustainability Coordinator, at email@example.com.
Making Climate Pledges
Coalition members are encouraged to make pledges on the Community Energy Dashboard’s Climate Pledge Coalition Tracker. Pledges may include short-, medium-, and long-term efforts, such as: encouraging transportation alternatives; producing and building a supply chain of locally-sourced goods to minimize the use of transportation emissions necessary to get the goods to market; composting; weatherizing homes; and implementing energy efficiency measures. Examples of pledges, many of which will not only benefit the environment but also save money, include the following Burlington efforts:
- Offering financial incentives to encourage increased electric vehicle (EV) ownership by Burlington Electric customers;
- Providing incentives to City of Burlington employees who walk, bike, take the bus, carpool, or drive EVs to work;
- Installing solar arrays at Burlington International Airport and atop Burlington Electric Department’s Pine Street office roof; and
- Conducting energy audits at all City of Burlington buildings.
Benchmarking and Tracking Pledges
The combination of all Coalition members’ voluntary organizational pledges collectively will constitute Vermont’s climate pledge for Paris. Both the University of Vermont’s Rubenstein School of Environment and Natural Resources and Gund Institute for Ecological Economics, as well as the Vermont Agency of Natural Resources and Public Service Department, are providing support and analytics to help summit participants understand Vermont’s current emissions trajectory and how pledges can help move Vermont toward our goals.
Beyond the Climate Pledge Tracker
In addition to the climate pledge tracker, Coalition members will benefit from a robust suite of easy-to-use energy tools already provided by the EAN Dashboard for municipalities, businesses, institutions, and individuals to help them make smart energy choices and track progress on how they use and source their energy (heat, electricity, and transportation) to achieve a more affordable, cleaner, and carbon-free energy future. Thousands of Vermonters already have used the Dashboard to set energy goals, take actions, track progress, map sites, share stories, and learn from trusted neighbors and colleagues. The tracker further enhances these tools and enables Coalition members to set the pace of progress.
“There is no greater challenge – or opportunity – for Vermont than to change the way we use and produce energy,” explained Jared Duval, Executive Director of the Energy Action Network. “By making smart energy investments, we can save money, build our energy independence, create jobs, and reduce our carbon footprint to help preserve and enhance the Vermont way of life. Communities and businesses across Vermont are asking for concrete ways to make clean energy and efficiency choices at the local level and to accelerate action by learning from each other. The Dashboard provides easy-to-use tools, with officially sourced data, for just that purpose.”