November 8, 2017
Contact: Katie Vane
Mayor Weinberger, Governor Scott, Vermont Climate Pledge Coalition, Energy Action Network Host
Vermont Energy and Climate Summit
Review Coalition Progress; Assess Where Vermont Stands on 2025 Energy and Climate Goals; Share Climate Action Pledges; Encourage Members to Use Online Climate Pledge Tracker to Record Pledges to Reduce Carbon Emissions
Burlington, VT – Today Mayor Miro Weinberger, Governor Phil Scott, members of the Vermont Climate Pledge Coalition, and the Energy Action Network (EAN) hosted the Vermont Energy and Climate Summit at Champlain College’s Center for Communications and Creative Media. More than 175 individuals from organizations, institutions, and businesses all over the State plus student volunteers attended the Summit, which was promised as part of the launch of the Vermont Climate Pledge Coalition earlier this year.
The Coalition, created by Mayor Weinberger with Governor Scott’s support and coordinated by the City of Burlington, is intended to help achieve the December 2015 Paris Climate Agreement pledge by the United States and 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 Coalition has been in contact with the leadership of the Climate Mayors group, formed by Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, which is also a part of former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s group, We Are Still In. We Are Still In seeks to serve the function the federal government would have played had the U.S. remained a party to the Paris Climate Agreement.
At the summit, the Coalition and EAN reviewed the Coalition’s progress, assessed where Vermont now stands in relation to its fast-approaching 2025 energy and climate goals, shared action pledges, encouraged new members to use the new, online Climate Pledge Tracker to record pledges to reduce carbon emissions, and pitched policies and ideas that would help ensure that Vermont meets its energy and climate goals.
“The federal government’s withdrawal from the Paris Agreement was a historic mistake that has made the generational challenge of addressing climate change even harder, and that must be reversed as soon as possible,” said Mayor Miro Weinberger. “In the battle against climate change, the job of holding the line now falls to us – State, local, business and civic leaders. Around the country, federal actions have inspired local and state government to rededicate themselves to bold action on carbon pollution. Today in Vermont, we are proud to proclaim that ‘We Are Still In.’”
“The Vermont Climate Pledge Coalition continues to gain momentum and is making a real difference,” said Governor Scott. “It was great to join leaders from towns and cities, non-profits, businesses, educational institutions, and other organizations from all over Vermont at today’s Summit. Our strength has become exponential with the growth of the Coalition. My Administration looks forward to the continued partnership between the Coalition and 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.”
When the Summit date and agenda were announced this past September, the Coalition and EAN launched the Climate Pledge Tracker, available through EAN’s Community Energy Dashboard, enabling Coalition members to register and track all their climate pledges and actions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The pledge tracker also is providing great opportunities for organizations that have never created a climate action plan to take significant steps forward.
“This is both about improving the lives of Vermonters and about setting an inspiring and replicable model of a rural, renewable energy transformation for the other rural, middle-income areas of America,” explained Jared Duval, Executive Director of the Energy Action Network during the Summit’s opening remarks. “Together, we can do this. Let’s listen to each other. Let’s learn from each other. Let’s be inspired by each other. And let’s make the most of the incredible opportunity that this Summit represents to make sure that Vermont takes the high road to our renewable energy future.”
Types of Actions
The Climate Pledge Tracker offers more than 300 possible actions members can take, with detailed descriptions and the ability to create custom actions. One example of an action pledged by Coalition members is becoming a “net zero” energy institution, organization, or business, which requires creating enough renewable energy (or offsetting enough energy use with carbon credits) to equal or exceed the total amount of energy used by that institution, organization, or business across electric, thermal/heat, and transportation sectors. Such an accomplishment often is achieved through a mix of energy efficiency measures, which drive down energy consumption, and renewable energy production.
Other examples of actions pledged through the Pledge Tracker include: reducing total energy consumption; increasing use of solar energy; replacing fossil-fuel burning vehicles with electric vehicles (EVs); improving transportation infrastructure, like providing incentives for employees who walk, bike, or bus to work, installing EV charging stations to promote increased EV use; and taking steps to improve building efficiencies, such as improving lighting, engaging in building efficiency consultations and audits, increasing building insulation, installing ENERGY STAR appliances in commercial kitchens, and adding cold climate heat pumps.
As of early November, the City had collected 54 pledges and 173 actions by 23 organizations. Summit attendees heard from the leaders of the following Coalition members who already have made some of the most ambitious pledges: Champlain College,Casella Waste, Fairbanks Museum & Planetarium, the City of St. Albans, and Vermont State Employees Credit Union. To learn about the details of these pledges, please visit the Climate Pledge Tracker.
“Today’s Energy and Climate Summit demonstrates our State’s commitment – with the help of business, non-profits, local government leaders and others – to achieve the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement goal and our target of 90 percent renewable energy by 2050 in Vermont,” said Jennifer Green, City of Burlington Sustainability Coordinator. “The Climate Pledge Tracker, found on the EAN Community Energy Dashboard, is the means by which we’ll track our progress toward and accomplish these ambitious targets as we further establish Vermont as a leader in climate action and renewable energy. If your institution has yet to visit the tracker and pledge its commitment, I encourage you to see what others in your community are doing or have pledged to do by simply clicking on their name—and to get inspired by your neighbors to submit your own actions and pledges.”
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. You can learn more about the Climate Pledge Coalition at www.vermontclimatepledge.org.
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.
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