It’s Time For All Of Us To Speak Out
To Demand An Accurate Accounting Of Our GHG Emissions
The Global Warming Solutions Act, passed last year, requires the Vermont Climate Council (VCC) to create a Climate Action Plan that will reduce Vermont’s greenhouse gas emissions to specific levels by three benchmark years: 2025, 2030 and 2050.
The VCC is required by the new law to inventory all GHG emissions, both within the state and outside the state, caused by the use of energy in Vermont. There will be no chance for the Climate Action Plan to be effective if we don’t get this accounting right. And if we don’t, there will be serious negative, real life consequences that will fall hardest on the most vulnerable Vermonters.
The Agency of Natural Resources (ANR) claims the state’s GHG emissions from electricity are already close to the reductions level required by 2050. ANR reaches this low emissions estimate because it doesn’t count methane emissions from Hydro-Quebec’s generation of electricity used in Vermont, or methane emitted by the fracking, storage and transmission of “natural” gas burned in Vermont, or the CO2 emitted by Vermont’s two wood-burning electricity generation plants. And a large proportion of the GHG emissions resulting from use of electricity in Vermont also is not counted by ANR because it is “offset” by Renewable Energy Credits purchased primarily from Hydro-Quebec by Green Mountain Power.
It’s important to note that fracked gas burned in Vermont comes from Indigenous territory in Alberta, and Hydro-Quebec’s dams for decades have flooded Indigenous land. The consequences in both cases have been extremely damaging to the well being of First Nations people in both places.
Since 2007 Vermont law has required ANR to “adopt greenhouse gas accounting protocols that achieve transparent and accurate life cycle accounting of greenhouse gas emissions, including emissions of such gases from the use of fossil fuels and from renewable fuels such as biomass.” But during the 14 years this has been state law, no Secretary of ANR has acted to fulfill this requirement. And yet this is exactly the kind of GHG emissions accounting we need right now if we are to meet the climate challenge we are facing.
The Climate Council has been meeting regularly since before the first of the year. So far it has resisted all calls for a transparent and accurate life cycle accounting of Vermont’s GHG emissions. Instead, the VCC seems to be following ANR’s lead toward an incomplete and inaccurate GHG inventory. The result will be a weak and ineffective plan. This is what we need to raise our voices against.
Here’s What You Can Do
The VCC takes public comments through this portal. We urge you to go there and demand that the Climate Council must adopt a transparent and accurate life cycle accounting of all GHG emissions from the use of energy in Vermont. At the Audience tab, be sure to choose All so that your comment will go to all VCC members and the subcommittees. 350VT is keeping track of comments, so when you’ve made your comment, please help them keep count by filling out this form.
Thank You For Making Your Voice Heard!