Council Approves Energy Committee’s Climate Resolution

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Thursday August 24, 2017

The South Burlington City Council unanimously approved a draft resolution on climate change presented by the South Burlington Energy Committee at the August 7 council meeting. The resolution was presented by energy committee members Don Cummings and Sam Swanson. The resolution joins South Burlington with the State of Vermont, and other communities and businesses, in the Vermont Climate Pledge Coalition and pledges to meet or exceed the obligations for the United States in the Paris Agreement. It also directs the city manager to work with the appropriate committees and the public to undertake the creation of a South Burlington Climate Action Plan that includes specific goals, identifies sectors of South Burlington (municipal, institutional, commercial, residential) that contribute to GHG (greenhouse gas) emissions, and develops strategies that could effectively address these emissions.

During the discussion, Cummings discussed the energy committee’s participation in the Georgetown University Energy Prize competition and, while the results aren’t in yet, he was proud to report that South Burlington residents have reduced their annual energy use by $300,000. That’s a six percent reduction in electric and a five percent reduction in gas usage. Cummings felt this factor alone was worth participating in the competition.

Cummings said, “We have changed the way people behave...that’s what we were going after...we want people to know climate change is real and each of us is capable of doing something about it.”

Cummings and Swanson noted that climate change is a multifaceted problem that needs to be addressed on many levels from state to local policy to how buildings are managed and equipment purchased for maintaining infrastructure. The agreement pledges a voluntary target of a 26 to 28 percent reduction in energy use by 2025. This figure is set by participating communities and each member who joins has the capability to assist other members reach their goals. The implementation of this policy not only makes an affirmative statement about the gravity of climate change, but will also have far reaching cost savings into the future for all sectors of the South Burlington community.

SOURCE: Corey Burdick, Correspondent