Progress for Vermont is the final report and action plan of the Vermont Climate Change Economy Council (VCCEC) which was founded in February 2015 by the Vermont Council on Rural Development. This broad-based nonpartisan group spent a year considering multiple policy options to produce these recommendations.
The report proposes a bold new vision and strategy for economic development statewide. It highlights ways to make Vermont the most desirable location for creative small businesses and innovative entrepreneurs that advance clean energy generation, improve efficiencies, transform transportation and revitalize communities. The VCCEC strategies are designed to stimulate the green economy and assure Vermont remains a national leader in this expanding sector.
The plan offers seven recommendations to advance economic activity that addresses the challenge of climate change by reducing and mitigating carbon impacts while spurring innovation and creativity, encouraging entrepreneurism, attracting youth, and building jobs for the future:
- Advance a public, private Comprehensive Energy Efficiency partnership to advance efficiencies in home heating, weatherization, and household energy retrofits along with transportation systems changes that can reduce the use of petroleum based heating and transportation fuels.
- Establish a Climate Economy Network Development Initiative to provide seed funding and technical assistance for entrepreneurship to attract, support, cultivate and nurture a new generation of business creators and help them successfully grow their enterprises in Vermont.
- Build or strengthen Codes, Regulations and Incentives that reward innovation, encourage climate-smart economic growth, stimulate downtowns, set market signals around residential and building efficiencies and strengthen distributed energy and efficiency markets.
- Stimulate investment through a Clean Energy Finance Collaborative that develops new financial tools, leverages private sector investment, provides a one-stop-shop for consumer financing information and sets up a vehicle for members of the public to invest in the progress of Vermont’s climate economy.
- Send market signals to reduce carbon use and to simulate economic development through a Carbon Pricing or Trading structure for Vermont.
- Allow local communities to model effective change at a rapid rate and gain regional or national attention by concentrating a set of efficiency, energy development, transportation change and other services through a Climate Economy Model Communities Program.
- Set up a partnership, funding and a strategy to Market Vermont as a National Climate Economy Leader as a way to attract mission-oriented young people, entrepreneurs and investors to participate in Vermont’s model for economic renewal in the climate change era.
While some of the elements in this seven point plan require state regulation or investment, other features of this report can move forward through existing organizations or collective action. With this report, the VCCEC completes the work charged to it and disbands with confidence in the people of Vermont, and all partners in the greater work ahead.