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Douglas, Fogel Sign Vermont Climate Collaborative Charter

By The View Staff Article published October 1, 2008

Governor Jim Douglas and UVM President Daniel Mark Fogel have formally adopted the Vermont Climate Collaborative framework, which will guide Vermont's effort to address climate change and further develop the green tech economy.

At a charter signing at the Statehouse on Oct. 1, Governor Douglas called the Collaborative a signature partnership that brings together the state's higher education institutions, businesses, legislators and nonprofit organizations to allow the state to forge ahead with confidence in protecting and enhancing Vermont's quality of life.

“This charter spells out a foundation and framework for action,” the governor said. “The Collaborative's mission is simple: to see that Vermont stays green, leads the nation in environmental policies and creates job opportunities for a thriving green economy.”

Douglas created his Commission on Climate Change in 2005, asking its members to enter into a wide-ranging discussion on initiatives that will safeguard Vermont's way of life, where economic prosperity goes hand in hand with environmental stewardship.

Hundreds of Vermonters offered their assistance and expertise to the Commission. In the end, the Commission's final report focused on six main themes, including this collaborative partnership.

Creation of the Vermont Climate Collaborative would be essential to meeting the five other goals, and to implementing policy recommendations contained in the Plenary Group Report, the Commission concluded.

“Vermont, as the greenest state in the nation, is again leading the way by developing a far-reaching blueprint that creates and maintains a climate-friendly green infrastructure where man and nature co-exist and thrive together — and because of each other. And that's what it's really all about in Vermont,” Douglas said.

Now that the Collaborative charter is signed, its members will begin to hold regular public meetings with the first order of business to be writing bylaws and defining the criteria to measure success.

UVM President Fogel said Vermont has a robust foundation of environmental research and scientific capabilities that will be meaningful to the Collaborative's work.

“Addressing climate change will not be easy,” said Fogel. “But the Collaborative will become the 'clearinghouse' that will help set priorities for action and measure results.”

The Collaborative will serve as a coordinating hub to provide connections to appropriate resources and individuals to foster climate change research and activities, Fogel said.

“Numerous research efforts are already under way in Vermont to help us understand the impacts of policies designed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions,” Fogel said. “The Vermont Climate Collaborative gives us the opportunity to harness our collective ongoing effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions while also strengthening the green economy in Vermont. The Collaborative framework will enhance the speed at which Vermont is able to move forward with green initiatives.”

Fogel pointed to climate change research already taking place at Vermont's higher education institutions, including the work of Lisa Aultman-Hall and Richard Watts at UVM's Transportation Research Center, the Carbon Reduction Initiative at Middlebury College, and the work of UVM's Jennifer Jenkins and William Keeton on biomass, forest dynamics and carbon storage.

The Collaborative members include: UVM Provost John Hughes and ANR Secretary George Crombie will oversee the Collaborative; Dean Domenico Grasso of the College of Engineering and Mathematical Sciences; Dean Lawrence Forcier of the Rubenstein School of Environment and Natural Resources; Dean Thomas Vogelmann of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences; Frances Carr, Vice President for Research and Graduate Studies; Chancellor Robert Clarke at the Vermont State Colleges; President Paul Fonteyn of Green Mountain College; President William Wooten of Sterling College; Commerce Secretary Kevin Dorn; Transportation Secretary David Dill; Agriculture Secretary Roger Allbee; Public Service Commissioner David O'Brien; Senate President Peter Shumlin; Rep. Margaret Cheney of Norwich; Gregg Marston of the Vermont Business Roundtable; Mark Snelling from the Governor's Council of Environmental Advisors and Scott Johnstone, Executive Director of Vermont Energy Investment Corp.

For more information on the Vermont Climate Collaborative, see the organization's website: www.uvm.edu/vtclimate.