The Vermont Statutes Online
§ 592. The Vermont Climate Action Plan
(a) On or before December 1, 2021, the Vermont Climate Council (Council) shall adopt the Vermont Climate Action Plan (Plan) and update the Plan on or before July 1 every four years thereafter.
(b) The Plan shall set forth the specific initiatives, programs, and strategies, including regulatory and legislative changes, necessary to achieve the State's greenhouse gas emissions reduction requirements pursuant to section 578 of this title and build resilience to prepare the State's communities, infrastructure, and economy to adapt to the current and anticipated effects of climate change. The Plan shall include specific initiatives, programs, and strategies that will:
(1) reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the transportation, building, regulated utility, industrial, commercial, and agricultural sectors;
(2) encourage smart growth and related strategies;
(3) achieve long-term sequestration and storage of carbon and promote best management practices to achieve climate mitigation, adaption, and resilience on natural working lands;
(4) achieve net zero emissions by 2050 across all sectors;
(5) reduce energy burdens for rural and marginalized communities;
(6) limit the use of chemicals, substances, or products that contribute to climate change; and
(7) build and encourage climate adaptation and resilience of Vermont communities and natural systems.
(c) The analysis, development, and selection of the specific initiatives, programs, and strategies contained in the Plan and updates to the Plan shall be based upon:
(1) the Council's analysis and evaluation of strategies and programs pursuant to subdivision 591(b)(1) of this chapter;
(2) reports, plans, and information pertaining to greenhouse gas emissions reduction and climate resilience strategies from the Agency of Natural Resources, the Department of Public Service, other State agencies and departments, and, where appropriate, the State Comprehensive Energy Plan prepared pursuant to 30 V.S.A. § 202b and the 2018 Vermont Climate Action Commission Report to the Governor; and
(3) other reports, plans, and information.
(d) The specific initiatives, programs, and strategies contained in the Plan and updates to the Plan shall further the following objectives:
(1) to prioritize the most cost-effective, technologically feasible, and equitable greenhouse gas emissions reduction pathways and adaptation and preparedness strategies informed by scientific and technical expertise;
(2) to provide for greenhouse gas emissions reductions that reflect the relative contribution of each source or category of source of emissions;
(3) to minimize negative impacts on marginalized and rural communities and upon individuals with low and moderate income;
(4) to ensure that all regions of the State benefit from greenhouse gas emissions reductions, including sharing in the resulting economic, quality-of-life, and public health benefits;
(5) to support economic sectors and regions of the State that face the greatest barriers to emissions reductions, especially rural and economically distressed regions and industries;
(6) to support industries, technology, and training that will allow workers and businesses in the State to benefit from greenhouse gas emissions reduction solutions;
(7) to support the use of natural solutions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and increase resilience, including the use of working lands to sequester and store carbon and protect against severe weather events; and
(8) to maximize the State's involvement in interstate and regional initiatives and programs designed to reduce regional greenhouse gas emissions and build upon state, national, and international partnerships and programs designed to mitigate climate change and its impacts.
(e) The Plan shall form the basis for the rules adopted by the Secretary of Natural Resources pursuant to section 593 of this chapter. If the Council fails to adopt the Plan or update the Plan as required by this chapter, the Secretary shall proceed with adopting and implementing rules pursuant to subsection 593(j) of this chapter to achieve the greenhouse gas emissions reductions requirements pursuant to section 578 of this title. (Added 2019, No. 153 (Adj. Sess.), § 4, eff. Sept. 22, 2020.)