A governor’s commission responsible for making recommendations on how to curb greenhouse gas emissions has suggested that the state expand energy efficiency programs, support renewable energy, and team up with its colleges and universities to develop a “green economy” in Vermont.
In its final report released yesterday, the six-member panel concluded the state could serve as a national model and urged the governor to extend the state’s energy efficiency programs for electricity and gas to heating oil and other fuels and explore ways to boost investments in renewable energy, such as wind power.
After nearly two years of research, the climate change commission also recommended a long-term relationship between the state an its academic institutions, led by the University of Vermont. The partnership would oversee research and outreach on climate change and encourage the creation of innovations and jobs related to environmental technologies.
“If Vermont is going to be successful in creating a new green economy, developing a sustainable partnership and delivery system is essential,” said Ernie Pomerleau, the commission’s chairman, and a Burlington developer.
Two years ago Governor Jim Douglas set goals of reducing Vermont’s greenhouse gas emissions by 25 percent from 1990 levels by 2012 and 50 percent by 2028. To reduce vehicle emissions, the report suggested incentives for reduced travel or low emission vehicles and expanding public transportation.
It also recommended keeping open Vermont’s farm and forest land “to sequester carbon from the atmosphere” to reduce greenhouse gas pollution and creation of a state division to coordinate climate change efforts in state government.
Douglas was pleased the commission was able to come to a consensus, said his spokesman, Jason Gibbs.
James Moore, a renewable energy advocate of the Vermont Public Interest Research Group, called the report a “road map to support our economy and reduce global warming pollution at the same time.”
“I sincerely hope the governor is open to listening to this independent commission and the diverse stake holder group that put together the original policies,” Moore said.
27 October 2007
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