A group of Vermont business, industry and political leaders used the Ben and Jerry’s factory as a backdrop Wednesday to call on the federal government to do more to combat climate change.
Some of Vermont's best known businesses and politicians stepped forward to express their concerns over more erratic weather events that are impacting the state and their livelihoods. Vermont-based companies such as Burton Snowboards, Ben & Jerry's, Vermont Energy Investment Corporation, and Vermont Businesses for Social Responsibility want the federal government to do more to combat climate change.
Vermont Energy Investment Corporation Director of Public Affairs George Twigg explains the coalition is trying to maintain momentum following President Obama’s speech last month renewing the federal government’s commitment to addressing the issue. Twigg says states across the country are keeping pressure focused on tackling climate change.
Twigg adds that the action in Vermont is motivated both in reaction to the aftermath of Irene and Lee and preemptive concerns.
While Burlington has been focused on climate change for years, Burlington Mayor Miro Weinberger says he’s seen dramatic evidence in the 15 months he’s been in office. He notes that May and June were the wettest on record, causing substantial issues for the city’s infrastructure.
Vermont’s agriculture sector is also seeing tangible changes. Vermont Maple Sugarmakers’ Association Executive Director Matt Gordon says the group is contending with erratic sugaring seasons, and most producers are trying to mitigate the shorter season technologically. But he adds it’s disconcerting, and they can only adapt to a certain extent.
State Senator and Full Moon Farm owner David Zuckerman doesn’t get too excited about possible action at the federal level, because he says too often it’s mostly talk. He grows 40 to 45 diversified crops that are being affected by heavier rains, new pests and diseases.
The city of Burlington recently updated its Climate Action Plan. Mayor Weinberger is working with more than 60 mayors and local leaders across the country to create polices to help adapt to climate change.