• Vt. not meeting greenhouse gas target
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     | December 08,2013
     

    MONTPELIER — Vermont has fallen well short of its first major goal in reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

    A new report from the state Agency of Natural Resources says those emissions are down slightly from their peak. But they are even with where they were in 1990; legislation passed in 2006 said they were supposed to be 25 percent below that level.

    “The good news is we are headed in the right direction,” said Deb Markowitz, head of the agency. “Our investments and policies are beginning to work, but we cannot get complacent.”

    The legislation also set targets of a 50 percent reduction in greenhouse gases by 2028 and 75 percent by 2050.

    “We will need to redouble our efforts if we are to achieve the emission reduction goals we have set ourselves,” she said.

    Nearly half of Vermont’s greenhouse gas emissions are in the transportation sector. Markowitz said it’s hoped those will be reduced as vehicles powered by electricity grow in popularity and as more of that electricity comes from renewable sources.

    One area of progress is that the state is using less heating fuel. That’s attributed to more homes and other buildings getting new insulation, but also to warmer winters.

    Sandra Levine, a senior lawyer with the Conservation Law Foundation and a close observer of Vermont energy policy, said no one should cheer that warmer winters may be helping to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

    “Climate change is an economic and environmental disaster for Vermont and the country,” she said.

    “Look no further than the horrible storms that both Vermont and the region have experienced as being the type of effects that we will be seeing more of with climate change,” Levine said.

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