Action Plan Approved The Vermont Climate Council passed a Climate Action Plan (download here) by a vote of 19-4. The 273 page report (summary found here) details how the state will reduce greenhouse gas emissions, 26% by 2025 and 40% by the end of the decade. These are mandates, not goals. Failure to comply is a violation of the 2020 Vermont Global Warming Solutions Act.
The thermal strategy is to ensure buildings use less energy and heat with more electricity. By the end of the decade, 90,000 homes will need to be better insulated with an electric heat pump installed. The plan also calls for new efficiency standards for rental properties, a “net zero” building energy code for new construction, and only electric water heaters with modular demand response communication ports so the electric utility can remotely control the water temperature. The plan also calls for the creation of a Clean Heat Standard, which will incentivize heating companies to reduce their customer’s carbon emissions by selling renewable liquid fuels such as BioHeat.
The strategy for transportation consists of convincing more Vermonters to purchase electric vehicles by using a mix of incentives, taxes, and regulations. The modeling indicates 170,000 electric vehicles will need to replace gas powered ones on Vermont roads by 2030 in order to meet the emission reduction mandates in the law. This is an increase of nearly 4000%. The plan recommends a ban on the sale of new combustion engine vehicles by 2035, more cash incentives for electric vehicles and more fees for those powered by gasoline and diesel fuel. While the Transportation Climate Initiative (TCI-P) collapsed last month when Rhode Island, Massachusetts, and Connecticut dropped out, the Vermont Climate Council hasn’t given up. The plan calls on lawmakers to pass legislation that would allow the state to join the cap and trade program if it ever becomes real.
This is one of the reasons why Governor Scott’s Administration released a signing statement (found here) disagreeing with aspects of the plan. The letter says that the administration “cannot support proposals which impose a fiscal commitment beyond the means of most Vermonters.” All of the electric stoves, cars, and heaters that must be purchased in order to be in compliance with the Global Warming Solution Act represent billions of dollars worth of stuff. What the Climate Council did not decide is who pays the bill. That can only be determined by the Vermont legislature. They will start that process in January. VFDA will be there.
Access the Vermont Climate Council website at the following link: climatechange.vermont.gov