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Bold New Strategy Proposed for Vermont’s Economy

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2016-02-01

Contact: Paul Costello, VCRD Executive Director, 223-5763, pcostello@vtrural.org

MONTPELIER, VT – The Vermont Climate Change Economy Council (VCCEC) is proposing a bold new vision and strategy for economic development statewide. With its State House release of Progress for Vermont, the Council is highlighting 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. Many of the state’s business innovators are already finding practical ways to reduce carbon emissions and diminish climate risk while providing their products and services across the world. The VCCEC strategies are designed to stimulate this green economy and assure Vermont remains a national leader in this expanding sector.

The VCCEC was formed in 2015 by the Vermont Council on Rural Development (VCRD) following its first Summit on Vermont’s Climate Change Economy. This broad-based nonpartisan group spent the past year considering multiple policy options to produce these recommendations to build a strong economic future for Vermont.

“There is an increasing demand in the global marketplace for low carbon solutions,” points out VCRD Executive Director Paul Costello. “Vermont is in position to be the friendliest place in the country for creating jobs that build from our values while addressing this enormous challenge. Let’s be the small, green Silicon Valley of the Climate Economy.“

Among the strategies are

  • Setting up a Model Climate Economy Communities Program to help Vermont towns rapidly expand local energy generation and transportation options while attracting green businesses and younger residents.
  • Developing a first-in-the-nation Comprehensive Energy Efficiency Partnership to expand the scope of Efficiency VT and its partners to include home heating and transportation savings,
  • Evaluating and advancing a carbon pricing or trading system for Vermont that would reduce carbon emissions and invest in the progress of Vermont’s economy.
  • Establishing a network to attract, support, and cultivate new entrepreneurs and help them grow their enterprises in Vermont.

Progress for Vermont will be center stage at the second Summit on Vermont’s Climate Economy on February 22 at Vermont Technical College in Randolph. Over 400 business leaders, youth, legislators, the Governor’s Climate Cabinet, investors, and other stakeholders will review strategies in the Action Plan and plan the best ways to move them forward.

To download the report and to see the most up-to-date agenda, list of speakers, and topics for the Summit, visit vtrural.org/summit16 or check #vtclimateeconomy on social media. For more information contact info@vtrural.org.

The Vermont Council on Rural Development is a non-profit organization charged by the federal farm bill to act as a neutral convener at both the local and policy level supporting the progress of Vermont communities. VCRD will provide support to the work of the VT Climate Economy Council, and then help promote the platform of action that comes from its deliberations.

Past VCRD policy efforts have supported progress in issues ranging from wood products to downtown revitalization, rural energy development, the digital economy, and Vermont’s working landscape. VCRD produced the most extensive evaluation of Vermont values and priorities in a generation when it led the Council on the Future of Vermont in 2009.

VCRD hosted the first Summit on Vermont’s Climate Economy in 2015 and founded the Vermont Climate Change Economy Council.