Vermont Climate Council wants more social equity in energy policy

The Vermont Climate Council met Oct. 13 to discuss a range of environmental issues, including equity in energy policy.

The Vermont Climate Council met Wednesday to discuss the implementation of the Global Warming Solutions Act, and to restate that social equity should be central to the council’s policies.

The act, passed last year despite a veto by the governor, mandates reductions in carbon emissions for transportation, heating and energy sectors, and sets reduction percentage targets at various dates leading up to a zero-emissions goal for 2050.

Speaking on the implementation of equity themes was David Plumb, a representative of the Consensus Building Institute based in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

“The first thing we want to do today is have this pause and reflection on just transitions and equity considerations,” Plumb said. “In your subcommittees, you are going to be getting going just this week with [former state representative] Kiah Morris.”

go-greener-oz/Flickr/CC BY-ND 2.0

DOOMED UNLESS? Lawmakers continue to assert that if drastic measures aren’t taken to change how people travel, heat their homes and use electricity, Americans will experience catastrophic climate change in the future.

The phrase “just transition” has to do with what some advocates call a “regenerative” economy.

“Just Transition is a vision-led, unifying, and place-based set of principles, processes, and practices that build economic and political power to shift from an extractive economy to a regenerative economy,” states on its web site.

Councilmember Bram Kelppner, formerly of the Governor’s Business Advisory Council on Health Care Financing, among other roles, commented that before each meeting, and in their reports, there should be formal statements recognizing that Vermont lands were ultimately stolen from Native Americans.

“We could do it in every meeting, but certainly in our final report I think it important to acknowledge that our geographic boundaries and all of this work is taking place on unceded, indigenous lands,” Kelppner said.

Councilmember Ryan Patch, of the Vermont Agency of Agriculture, commented on what more farmers can do to mitigate their climate impacts, including growing fewer crops.

“We should know, not only for the water-quality space but also for emission reduction modeling that the way that crops are grown, the way that manure is used, the way that cows are fed and handled, and the technologies that are applied. All these categories can have a significant impact on the release of greenhouse gases,” Patch said.

Council member June Tierney from the Department of Public Service suggested that the council could face an uptick in opposition if they don’t better engage with those who share different opinions on energy and climate policies.

“I do not come away with the feeling that we’ve heard from — I don’t know how to call it — the silent majority,” she said. “I don’t know, but there are voices that we are not hearing, and I think our decisions need to be tempered by an awareness of that,” Tierney said.

Council member Sue Minter, who is also executive director of Capstone Community Action, agreed with the notion that the council is not engaged enough with those in opposition.

“This is not the middle or end of the process, it’s really the beginning,” she said. “It’s been an evolving and ongoing process of engagement, so I think it’s really important that we acknowledge that we are not getting a broad representation of voices, as I suspect we will learn.”

Gov. Phil Scott, who vetoed the legislation, has been one of the Global Warming Solutions Act’s critics.

“It is unconstitutional – with the Legislature ignoring its duty to craft policy and enact actual global warming solutions on one hand and unconstitutionally usurping the Executive Branch role to execute the laws on the other,” Scott wrote shortly before its passage.

The Vermont Climate Council’s meeting can be viewed here.

Michael Bielawski is a reporter for True North. Send him news tips at and follow him on Twitter @TrueNorthMikeB.

5 thoughts on “Vermont Climate Council wants more social equity in energy policy

  1. Enough has been let out now from the Warriors so it is very clear what is going on here. It is a fact that this whole scheme is to bamboozle people into thinking this whole exercise is about climate when it in reality is nothing more than an attempt at furthering the Socialist-Communist cause. Dupe the people and take them and their money, that’s the game plan, with climate as a disguise.

    This whole trainload of baloney can be be stopped in the election a year from now. Either Vermonters want this or they do not. Decision time has arrived. We go the route the warriors are on and we will be speaking Chinese in 15 years. What a mess to leave to our grandkids. Just think about that and the trials and tribulations they will be saddled with, after we are long gone. We owe them the same ground and playing field that we were blessed with. To not do that is the worst of all possible options to be playing with. Our 3 year old granddaughter deserves better than what is in store if we do not take the bull by the horns and say “scram get the H… outa’ here”. Every Vermonter who has not voted in the last 10 years needs to get out and vote for the common sense and good judgement slate, not the left wing commies in disguise. They will be in disguise for a while, and if they continue to prevail, there will be a day when the gloves and the outer garments will come off and you will see hammers and sickles, red stars, and Russian made military equipment. Is that what we really want? To remain complacent will bring it on. Out Here.

  2. Communism stops global warming.

    All the kids are doing it, jump on board, you to can be a overlording government employee that has an answer for everything. Just ask Karl Marx…. He knew everything.

    What ever you don’t ask his children for their opinions…..

  3. Are these idiots trying to suggest that if idiot A keeps his house at 62 all winter, the rest of us should do the same to be equals? — I thought this was suppose to be about limiting CO2, and it has nothing to do with equity or the Indians that were here before the whiteman arrived.

  4. Equity was the siren call for the education ACT 46. The usual suspects in the progressive Vermont assembly trumpeted the goal of “equity” loudly. This tactic was effective in getting the masses on board and at the same time it was effective in growing the education bureaucracy and your tax bill. Not so effective in creating “equity” or increasing student achievement. I am surprised Phil Scott is not a promoter of the GWSA. Maybe he has learned from his cheer leading of ACT 46.

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