Environmental group releases greenhouse gas reduction plan

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(Host) A regional environmental group has released a comprehensive plan to reduce greenhouse gases by 75% by mid-century.

VPR’s John Dillon reports:

(Dillon) In 2001, the New England states and eastern Canadian provinces signed a resolution to cut greenhouse gases in both the short and long-term.

The long-term goal was ambitious: the agreement called for a 75% reduction in emissions the middle of the century. Scientists say reductions of that scale are needed in order to avoid some of the more catastrophic impacts of climate change.

(Krasnow) “We’re being warned by national and international experts that there really isn’t time to wait, that in order to hit these near term and mid-century targets we need to start now and we need to start aggressively adopting new policies.”

(Dillon) Sam Krasnow is one of the author’s of the report. An attorney and policy advocate for Environment Northeast, Krasnow is a Vermonter who now works in the group’s Boston office.

Krasnow says the report prepared by Environment Northeast offers a roadmap that states and Canadian provinces can follow to reduce the pollution blamed for global warming.

(Krasnow) “It’s not enough to say that we have to wait for the federal government. We need to start taking action now at the state level, and this lays out 28 specific concrete recommendations that states can adopt today to hit those greenhouse gas targets.”

(Dillon) Some of the steps called for in the plan include investments in energy efficiency programs, new building standards to reduce energy use, and improving fuel economy for cars and trucks. States are urged to set new environmental standards for power plants, and to improve the transmission grid to encourage cleaner, distributed generation.

Krasnow says the recommendations are designed to improve the economy while cutting pollution.

(Krasnow) “We spent a long time working with businesses and doing industry interviews to find solutions that make sense from an economic perspective and from an environmental perspective so that it can be a win-win in terms of our carbon footprint and in terms of the jobs, the economy, and quality of life that we all need to maintain.”

(Dillon) The report also explores the idea of carbon sequestration. Trees and plants store carbon that otherwise could end up in the atmosphere and cause global warming.

Environment Northeast predicts that new markets will emerge that will someday pay landowners to store carbon in their growing forests.

For Vermont Public Radio, I’m John Dillon.

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