Annual report finds Vermont not meeting greenhouse gas redu…

The Energy Action Network has issued its annual progress report assessing Vermont’s greenhouse gas emissions and how it compares to surrounding states.

The Energy Action Network does independent research and provides an annual progress report for the state of Vermont.

The organization has just released “Assessing Vermont’s climate responsibility: A comparative analysis of per capita emissions.”

Network Executive Director and report co-author Jared Duval said people often hear about statewide total emissions and the differences between large and small states.

“But when it comes to total emissions, not surprisingly, the climate pollution from states largely mirrors their population size,” said Duval. “However if we accept that each state has a responsibility to reduce the pollution that they create, a responsibility in other words to do their fair share, towards meeting science-based pollution reduction targets then per capita emissions become a very important basis of comparison across states to account for differences in population.”

Duval used a chart to illustrate how Vermont is behind both Paris Accord global and state level reductions mandated by the Global Warming Solutions Act.

“Vermont has reduced emissions only 11 percent below 2005 levels although the Paris target and the Solutions Act obligations are at 26 percent reduction below 2005 levels by 2025,” Duval reported. “Vermont also has the second highest per capita climate pollution in New England, behind only New Hampshire, and the third highest in the Northeast with only Pennsylvania and New Hampshire creating more climate pollution per person.”

Report co-author and Network Data Manager and Research Analyst Lena Stier provided an overview of the report’s key findings including the importance of using per capita measurements and using collective mitigation strategies to address greenhouse gas emissions.

“For Vermont specifically, as we mentioned earlier, Vermont has made the least progress toward the 2025 target of the Paris Agreement and also Vermont’s Global Warming Solutions Act target,” said Stier. “It has made the least progress of any state in the Northeast. Vermont’s per capita emissions are the third highest in the whole Northeast and our per capita emissions are more than two times higher than the global average. And then Vermont’s estimated cumulative greenhouse gas pollution since 1850 is higher than over 70 countries worldwide, nearly all or most of which have higher populations.”

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