The State of Vermont

Revenue: US$27,100,000,000 in 2012

Population: 626,138

Country: United States

Total GHG emissions (year): 8,269,000 metric tonnes CO2e

Vermont is an American state located in northern New England, and is bordered by the State of Massachusetts to the south, the State of New Hampshire to the East, the Province of Quebec, Canada to the North, and the State of New York to the West. Prominent geographic features include Lake Champlain and the Green Mountains. The largest population center is Burlington, VT on the shores of Lake Champlain, and the Capital city is Montpelier, located in central Vermont. Economic strengths include (but are not limited to) tourism, the forest-based economy (including maple sugaring, forest-based recreation, forest products, etc.), agriculture (especially dairy), manufacturing, and quarrying industries.

Vermont has statutory goals for the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. The State also adopted a Comprehensive Energy Plan in 2011 that calls for 90% of the state's energy needs (electric, heating, and transportation) to be met with renewable energy resources by 2050.  An updated Plan will be released in December, 2015.

Vermont does not have a comprehensive plan for building resilience for the climate impacts expected in the North East, but there are multiple state statutes that have established requirements aimed at increasing flood resilience (through town planning, state wide land use regulations etc.).

Early in Governor Shumlin's first term, he established a Climate Cabinet made up of the heads of all state agencies involved in state-wide climate mitigation or adaptation efforts. The Cabinet meets about five times a year, and provides the main forum in which the state holds itself accountable for progress toward mitigation and adaptation goals and plans new cross-agency programmatic and policy initiatives to reduce emissions and increase adaptation.

  • Key Targets / Successes

    Climate policy and GHG emissions reduction targets:

    The Vermont Legislature established statutory goals for reducing total statewide gross emissions in 2006.  The statutory goals include:

    • To reduce region-wide total gross emissions from all sources by 50% by 2028 from 1990 levels.
    • To reduce region-wide total gross emissions from all sources by 75% by 2050 from 1990 levels.
    • To meet Vermont’s energy needs with energy that is 90% renewable by 2050

    Vermont state government has a State Energy Plan which mandates a 5% annual reduction in energy use from state facilities and operations each year.

  • Current activities

    Flagship initiative:

    Vermont has a very strong local food movement including a Farm to Plate program, many CSAs etc.

    Renewable Energy:

    The Comprehensive Energy Plan calls for expanded use of renewable power. The State is developing new regulatory guidelines for the siting of these facilities. Solar installations are increasing rapidly and wind more slowly due to opposition to siting wind turbines on Vermont's mountain ridges.

    The Legislature passed a new Renewable Energy Standard in 2015 which creates phased requirements for investments in renewable energy supply and distributed generation.

    Vermont is just beginning to develop thermal efficiency programs to promote replacement of old oil-burning furnaces in favor or more efficient low-carbon fuel systems. We are exploring establishing a revolving loan fund in partnership with fuel dealers that could help finance these projects. 

    Opportunities to power state buildings with renewable energy from on-site generation are being implemented.

    Energy efficiency:

    Our Building and Grounds Service (BGS) is slowly retrofitting state buildings to improve their heating and lighting efficiency. State agencies are working with BGS on individual agency energy plans that will include efficiency actions and investments.

    Vermont has one of the nation's first stand-alone energy efficiency utility funded by a System Benefit Charge. Efficiency Vermont has performed many home and business retrofits and works on demand side management as well.

    Clean transportation:

    Vermont has ZEV rules and a ZEV action plan to rapidly grow the electric vehicle market.  The state is also part of an eight state coalition that has developed a regional ZEV Action Plan.

    Go Vermont is a program that works on demand management by promoting car-sharing and car pooling. Commute Trip Reduction programs are actively encouraged and supported. We offer incentives for state employees to use public transport.

    Urban environment/smart cities:

    Vermont has a Downtown Designation Program which incentivizes compact growth in downtowns and supports municipal smart growth planning

    Waste management:

    Vermont has a new Solid Waste Law that requires consistency across solid waste districts in recycling services, and will have mandatory recycling and mandatory composting of food waste within the next few years state-wide.

    Sustainable land use:

    Vermont state government is promulgating a set of floodplain rules that will ensure state facilities and operations do not result in the loss of undeveloped floodplains and river corridors because they are essential for protecting downstream towns and villages from flooding and erosion that will worsen with climate change.

    State programs are seeking to educate landowners about how to enhance the carbon sequestration and climate resilience benefits of private lands.  Improvements are also being made to state land management practices.  Programs to support early detection and management of invasices and pests whose distribution is changing as a result of temperature rise are also in place.

    Vermont's Agency of Natural Resources is leading a state-wide initiative to accelerate the clean up and development of brownfields as part of a larger strategy to support compact growth in towns and villages.

    Innovative financing:

    Through our energy efficiency utility Efficiency Vermont, and through state revolving loan funds, low cost financing is available for energy efficiency improvements.  A new and innovative Renewable Energy Portfolio standard will facilitate the development of new sources of utility financing for innovative energy projects including distributed generation, electric charging infrastructure and incentives and energy efficiency retrofits.

    Adaptation:

    Vermont has many initiatives underway to reduce long term risk of severe flooding.  We have a web site to help municipalities reduce risk (Flodready.Vermont.gov) , new state rules to protect river corridors and floodplains, and new map data to support identification of erosion hazards.

  • More info

    GHG breakdown by sector (%):

    Total emissions by end user, economic sector, GHG:

    Electric Supply & Demand

    923,000 metric tonnes

    Residential / Commercial / Industrial Fuel Use

    2,293,000

    Transportation / Mobile Combustion

    3,693,200

    Fossil Fuel Industry (Natural Gas Distribution / Transmission):

    2,704

    Industrial Processes:

    284,000

    Waste Management

    233,200

    Agriculture (Enteric Fermentation / Manure Management / Ag Soils)

    840,000

     

    Calculated Total

    8,269,104

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