Gov. Shumlin announces formation of Vermont Climate Cabinet
May 17, 2011 -- MONTPELIER – Gov. Peter Shumlin today announced the formation and first meeting of the Vermont Climate Cabinet, a group of senior officials in his administration charged with leading the state toward reduced greenhouse emissions and reliance on fossil fuels.
“At a time when few if any states are focusing on climate change, Vermont is committed to doing everything possible to mitigate the threats and impacts,” the Governor said. The wild weather caused by climate change impacts the state at many levels, including increased snowfalls and flooding, unpredictable storms and more, he said.
The changes are leading to financial challenges as Vermont struggles to keep up with road and property damage increasingly linked to climate change, among other problems. The environmental threat is also critical.
“Climate change is the most serious environmental issue facing Vermont and our future,” said Deb Markowitz, Secretary of the Agency of Natural Resources and chair of the Vermont Climate Cabinet. “It’s a priority of the Governor’s and a personal priority for me to make sure that Vermont leads in the fight against climate change and that we are prepared to respond to the changes we are already experiencing.”
In addition to Markowitz, other members of the Vermont Climate Cabinet are the Secretaries of Administration, Agriculture Food and Markets, Commerce and Community Development, and Transportation; the Commissioners of the Departments of Economic, Housing and Community Development, of the Department of Buildings and General Services and the Department of Public Service.
The group is authorized to call upon other state agencies or departments for assistance.
The duties are:
1. Provide comprehensive leadership by coordinating climate change efforts across all state agencies and departments.
2. Provide information to Vermonters on all matters relating to a changing Vermont climate, including what to expect in the coming years and actions citizens can take to reduce their emissions of greenhouse gases.
3. Identify strategies to reduce Vermonters’ dependence on fossil fuel for transportation, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by encouraging alternatively fueled vehicles and more efficient vehicle and mobility choices,.
4. Improve energy efficiency for existing and new buildings.
5. Foster development of in-state renewable and sustainable energy sources.
6. Partner with municipalities and regional planning and development agencies so that Vermont communities grow sustainably and are resilient to climate change impacts in the future
7. Improve the understanding of the effects of climate change in Vermont and identify strategies to address these effects in order to protect Vermonters, their property, the state’s economic well-being and the state’s natural resources and the ecosystem services these resources provide..
8. Advance the recommendations set forth in the Vermont Comprehensive Energy Plan of 2011.
9. Establish policies and programs that expand Vermont’s green economy grow green jobs, reduce energy costs to households and the business sector, and improve the wellbeing of working Vermonters while reducing Vermont’s greenhouse gas emissions.
10. Implement the recommendations of the Climate Neutral Working Group to foster energy efficiency and use of renewable energy in state buildings, and energy efficient behavior by state employees and contractors.
11. Advise the Governor, the legislature, and Vermonters on ways to ensure that Vermont continues to be a national leader in developing and implementing strategies that effectively address the challenge of climate change and promote a successful and prosperous low-carbon economy.
12. Advise the Governor on the state’s role in regional and federal efforts to address climate change and energy security.
13. Identify and secure federal and state funding for climate change mitigation and adaptation efforts in Vermont.