Five initiatives climate activists will push in 2020 – and what they will mean to Vermonters

Any or all of these carbon-reduction initiatives could come up in the 2020 Legislature: 

  1. multi-state transportation "stealth" carbon tax
  2. Direct carbon tax
  3. Pension fund divestment of fossil fuels
  4. Expanded plastics ban (read on for climate impact)
  5. Requiring government regulators to reduce carbon emissions whenever and wherever possible

…as well as more renewable transportation spending, climate-minded forest management, and Act 250 reform required by law to address climate change.

"To demonstrate the Queen City’s leadership, Weinberger told a crowd of statewide renewable industry operators and lobbyists that “going forward, Burlington will use a carbon price of $100 per ton when evaluating all fleet purchases and leases, as well as all heating system replacements during major building renovations.”

Yet Weinberger stopped short of recommending a city carbon tax. He apparently is shy of asking his voters to pay extra for all diesel and gasoline sold at Burlington pumps, and for heating fuel warming Burlington homes and businesses. The mayor was re-elected to a three-year term in 2018 with 48% of the vote.

Statewide, carbon taxation is supported by most Chittenden County legislators, but is less popular outside of the state’s largest urban area, in part because of its likely adverse impact on poorer Vermonters living in rural areas more dependent on cars for transportation.

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