Climate change is the existential crisis of our time. The coronavirus is the immediate crisis, but the climate change crisis is not going away any time soon. In fact, the reduction in fossil fuel use during this pandemic highlights that action and progress are possible.
But climate change is a global crisis requiring global action like the Paris Climate Accord. Washington D.C. is not just failing to provide leadership but actively reversing progress we have made in prior decades by rolling back auto mileage standards, withdrawing from international agreements, gutting clean water and air standards, and vowing to boost “clean coal”, whatever that is.
Vermont must act, but we can best have an impact by acting in concert with our neighboring states, using regional agreements. We have successfully participated in a Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) too reduce electric generation emissions for over a decade. This could serve as a model for other collaborations like the Transportation and Climate Initiative (TCI).
The impacts of climate change are everyone’s problem. We must reduce our use of carbon based fuels – almost half of Vermont’s emissions come from transportation. Home weatherization is another area to take aggressive action. New technology holds a lot of promise, but changing our personal behavior is even more critical, and more difficult.
Taxes are one way governments incentivize behavior (tax credits for investing, and high taxes on cigarettes to discourage their use, for example), and a price on carbon emissions is one tool among many to consider.
I will work to keep Vermont moving forward on climate solutions. And I will ensure that such proposals, if they move forward, do not create additional hardships for farmers and rural Vermonters.