Net Zero Resolution
On October 24, 2018, the Montpelier City Council approved the following resolution:
A RESOLUTION TO DEFINE MONTPELIER’S NET ZERO GOAL AND DIRECT STAFF TO ENSURE DEPARTMENTS AND POLICIES ALIGN WITH THE CITY’S NET ZERO GOAL
WHEREAS, climate change, if unchecked, will have ever increasing impacts on human health, natural systems, wildlife, and infrastructure, creating mounting costs for individuals, communities, businesses, and local governments; and
WHEREAS, the scientific consensus demands we limit global temperature increases below 1.5 degrees Celsius to avoid the most destructive and dangerous effects of climate change; and
WHEREAS, an important first step toward achieving 100% renewable energy is to set a public long-term renewable energy target to demonstrate political commitment, and to provide both stakeholders and the community with an understanding of the long-term vision for the City; and
WHEREAS, in Vermont, renewable energy eligible renewable technologies are defined as those that use "a technology that relies on a resource that is being consumed at a harvest rate at or below its natural regeneration rate". The Public Service Board determined that methane and flammable gases from food waste, agricultural waste, or other organic materials, or from decay of sewage or landfill wastes; geothermal; hydroelectric; marine thermal or hydrokinetic; photovoltaic solar; concentrated solar power; and wind are eligible resources; and
WHEREAS, Vermont has already experienced long-term warming, extreme weather events, serious flooding; and
WHEREAS, economists have concluded that Vermont’s families and businesses are likely to incur billions of dollars of annual economic costs if communities fail to drive reductions in greenhouse gas pollution. These economic impacts include increased energy costs, storm damage, reduced food production, increased flooding, and increased public health costs; and
WHEREAS, The City of Montpelier municipal government is responsible for the public health and safety of its residents including access to clean air, clean water, and a livable environment; and
WHEREAS, the entire community will be impacted by climate change. Communities facing socioeconomic and health inequities (such as youth, elders, communities of color, and low-income) will suffer disproportionately, requiring the City to invest in resilience that is proportionate and accountable to these communities; and
WHEREAS, in 2014, the City of Montpelier City Council declared support for the concept of Net Zero Montpelier; and
WHEREAS, the transition to 100% renewable energy will provide a range of benefits, including improved air quality, enhanced public health, increased national and energy security, local jobs, reduced reliance on finite resources, and will bring tangible benefits to low-income residents and others who have historically been disadvantaged by our energy system; and
WHEREAS, the City of Montpelier has shown its commitment declaring ambitious climate action goals commensurate with its obligations as a signatory of the Compact of Mayors, and has been nationally recognized as a Finalist in the Georgetown University Energy Prize and named by the White House as a Climate Action Champion; and
WHEREAS, the City of Montpelier recognizes that while it is desirable and beneficial to set aggressive targets and transition to 100% renewable energy quickly, there are numerous financial, technological and societal challenges that need to be addressed.
NOW THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED BY THE CITY COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF MONTPELIER:
Montpelier defines the City’s Net Zero Goal as:
Montpelier is committed to becoming the first capital city to eliminate fossil fuel use by converting to 100% renewable energy.
By 2030, 100% of the energy used for municipal government operations (thermal, electrical, and transportation) will be renewable or offset.
By 2050, fossil fuel use will be eliminated entirely and 100% of energy needs (municipal, residential, and commercial) will be met renewably.
And will carry out this goal through the following actions:
SECTION 1. DIRECT EACH CITY DEPARTMENT TO IDENTIFY OPPORTUNITIES TO ALIGN THEIR POLICIES, PROCEDURES AND PRACTICES WITH THE CITY’S NET ZERO GOAL AND TO REPORT ANNUALLY ON PROGRESS TOWARDS THE CITY’S NET ZERO GOAL. This will include initiatives from the prior year taken on by each city department, as well as overall municipal energy use in the City’s annual report.
SECTION 2. RECOMMEND THAT CITY STAFF DEVELOP A 10-YEAR PLAN TO ACHIEVE THE CITY’S NET ZERO GOAL. This will include identification of specific actions to reduce municipal energy use and emissions, metrics for cost effective decisions, a public communications plan, and efforts to ensure that targets are achieved in a socially equitable manner.
SECTION 3. DIRECT CITY STAFF AND THE PLANNING COMMISSION TO REVIEW ZONING BYLAWS AND THE CITY PLAN AND MAKE RECOMMENDATIONS TO COUNCIL TO ALIGN POLICY WITH THE CITY’S NET ZERO GOAL. This will include reviewing current and future land use, growth, and development policies and building standards.