Over the past five months, the Burlington-based nonprofit, 350 Vermont, has organized a petition drive for a climate change resolution that is now on more than 30 local ballots.
The non-binding resolution urges state and municipal governments to take aggressive action to reduce fossil fuel emissions that contribute to the warming of the Earth. RELATED STORIES
Activists with 350 Vermont say the state has made “insufficient progress” toward renewable energy goals that would curb carbon dioxide emissions. To that end, the resolution asks the state to halt the expansion of pipelines and set deadlines for renewable goals. Towns are asked to halt gas pipeline expansions, and to help weatherize and install rooftop solar on municipal and school buildings.
Vermont is to derive 25 percent of its energy from renewables by 2025, according to goals set by a 2016 Comprehensive Energy Plan under former Gov. Peter Shumlin, a Democrat. The plan includes expansion of solar programs and updates to building energy codes. About 16 percent of Vermont’s energy came from renewables in 2015.
Jaiel Pulskamp, the spokesperson for 350 Vermont, said last week the group was amazed to get climate change petitions in more than 30 towns.
“Vermonters are ready to transition off of fossil fuels, they want to see solar on school buildings, they want to see electric buses and more public transportation,” Pulskamp said.
The organization has worked since 2010 on various climate change education initiatives and grassroots activism.
Mary M. Sullivan, D-Burlington. Courtesy photo
Lawmakers, including Rep. Mary Sullivan, D-Burlington, joined 350 Vermont at a press conference in the Statehouse last week and urged legislators to back statewide climate action bills.
“We are moving beyond a fossil fuel age, I think it’s incumbent upon the leaders of this state to move with it,” Sullivan said.
Sullivan sponsored H.746, which is currently being taken up by the House Committee of Energy and Technology. The bill would also prohibit fossil fuel infrastructure, i.e., oil and gas pipelines, from being built without certification by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.
Steve Crowley, a member of the Vermont chapter of the Sierra club, said “resolutions are most effective as a starting place” and will spur community involvement.
The following towns will take up the resolution: Arlington, Bennington, Brattleboro, Cornwall, Dorset, Dummerston, Duxbury, East Montpelier, Essex Junction, Hartford, Londonderry, Manchester, Marlboro, Marshfield, Montpelier, Newfane, Northfield, Peru, Plainfield, Putney, Salisbury, South Burlington, Weston, Williston, Woodbury, and Worcester.
Read the story on VTDigger here: Town Meeting Day: More than 30 municipalities to take up climate change resolution.