Last month, I dedicated the first panel discussion of my 2022 “Seat at the Table” virtual meeting series to the Vermont workforce necessary to address climate change and meet the goals of the Vermont Climate Action Plan released December 2021. The plan makes wide-reaching recommendations for how we can reduce greenhouse gas emissions and minimize climate change’s impact on our communities. The recommendations set out in the plan will require a well-trained, highly-valued and fully-supported Vermont climate workforce.
As a state, we’ve committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions to 26% below 2005 levels by 2025 and to 40% below 1990 levels by 2030. To achieve those goals, modeling suggests Vermont must weatherize at least 90,000 additional homes, install 112,000 additional heat pumps, add over 150,000 additional electric vehicles to the road, and expand programs that help low- and moderate-income Vermonters fully participate. These changes won’t happen on their own. Investing in renewable energy and energy efficiency job training opportunities for those looking to enter the workforce or make a career change will be necessary, and we need to act now.