Dear Network Members,

The immediate impacts of COVID-19 on society are difficult to comprehend and the long-term effects are difficult to predict. However, we know a few things for certain:

  • People will still need to make energy choices.
  • The climate crisis is not going away.
  • Massive public investment in the economy (from infrastructure spending to tax and incentive policy) to recover from the pandemic can either encourage continued fossil fuel use or help us move toward a more resilient and sustainable economy.

If our federal government’s delayed and inadequate response to the coronavirus has taught us anything, it is the importance of listening to experts and swiftly acting on the best available data and evidence. Ignoring warnings – whether from public health experts or climate scientists – only makes our future options more limited, costly, painful, and not nearly as effective as if we acted early on. My hope is that increased public understanding of concepts like exponential growth, feedback loops, systemic risk, and delayed impacts, will lead people to demand proactive and preventative action, both for public health and the climate crisis.

As Dr. Anthony Fauci recently said, “you are always behind where you think you are.” That statement applies as equally to the climate crisis as it does to the pandemic. Our government has ignored the warnings of climate scientists for three decades now. As a result, the amount of climate disruption that is already unavoidable due to high concentrations of greenhouse gas emissions is dangerously high. But we can still avoid the worst impacts of a destabilized climate if we act boldly and comprehensively.

While we may see a temporary decline in emissions due to the coronavirus, shutting down our economy is, of course, not a desirable or sustainable way to meet emissions targets. Instead, we need to quickly move beyond fossil fuels for all our energy needs – an approach that leads to economic health, not economic pain.

That means, in part, ensuring that the federal response to revive our economy does not further lock in dangerous fossil fuel dependence. Instead, as former Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz writes, we need to invest “to ensure the future resilience of our economy.” And as Rolling Stone commented, it is time to be clear about what is expensive and what is cheap. Bailouts for the fossil fuel industry, suspending pollution monitoring, and dismantling fuel efficiency standards are all dangerous threats to our health and economic future—and are beneath our national legacy of improvement and innovation.

Our goal, coming out of the current crisis, should be to have a strong and resilient economy that has greatly reduced its dependence on fossil fuels. Specifically, we should be switching from fossil fueled transportation, heating systems, and electricity generation at every chance we have.

That’s why we are our assisting our federal delegation in gathering ideas from across Vermont and our Network for effective federal government action, including new public investments. This Network is particularly well suited to share ideas about needed infrastructure and energy related investments that can lead to a “more just, thriving, and sustainable future.”

We’ve put together a brief online form and invite our network members and public partners to share your ideas about possible energy related federal action or investment by next Wednesday April 15th. We will share your responses with Vermont’s federal delegation (if you wish) and use your responses to convene partners working on similar issues and help build planning capacity across our Network.

Share your ideas for a fossil fuel free economy

Don’t hesitate to reach out to us with questions or further thoughts.

We’re in this together,

Jared Duval,

EAN Executive Director

Total Energy News – March 2020
Your Update on Vermont and National Energy News
Greetings!
The immediate impacts of COVID-19 on society are difficult to comprehend and the long-term effects are difficult to predict. However, we know a few things for certain:
  • People will still need to make energy choices.
  • The climate crisis is not going away.
  • Massive public investment in the economy (from infrastructure spending to tax and incentive policy) to recover from the pandemic can either encourage continued fossil fuel use or help us move toward a more resilient and sustainable economy.
If our federal government’s delayed and inadequate response to the coronavirus has taught us anything, it is the importance of listening to experts and swiftly acting on the best available data and evidence. Ignoring warnings – whether from public health experts or climate scientists – only makes our future options more limited, costly, painful, and not nearly as effective as if we acted early on. My hope is that increased public understanding of concepts like exponential growth, feedback loops, systemic risk, and delayed impacts, will lead people to demand proactive and preventative action, both for public health and the climate crisis.
As Dr. Anthony Fauci recently said, “you are always behind where you think you are.” That statement applies as equally to the climate crisis as it does to the pandemic. Our government has ignored the warnings of climate scientists for three decades now. As a result, the amount of climate disruption that is already unavoidable due to high concentrations of greenhouse gas emissions is dangerously high. But we can still avoid the worst impacts of a destabilized climate if we act boldly and comprehensively.
While we may see a temporary decline in emissions due to the coronavirus, shutting down our economy is, of course,
not a desirable or sustainable way to meet emissions targets
. Instead, we need to quickly move beyond fossil fuels for all our energy needs – an approach that leads to economic health, not economic pain.
That means, in part, ensuring that the federal response to revive our economy does not further lock in dangerous fossil fuel dependence. Instead, as
former Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz writes
, we need to invest “to ensure the future resilience of our economy.” And as
Rolling Stone commented
, it is time to be clear about what is expensive and what is cheap. Bailouts for the fossil fuel industry,
suspending pollution monitoring
, and
dismantling fuel efficiency standards
are all dangerous threats to our health and economic future—and are beneath our national legacy of improvement and innovation.
Our goal, coming out of the current crisis, should be to have a strong and resilient economy that has greatly reduced its dependence on fossil fuels. Specifically, we should be switching from fossil fueled transportation, heating systems, and electricity generation at every chance we have.
That’s why we are our assisting our federal delegation in gathering ideas from across Vermont and our Network for effective federal government action, including new public investments. This Network is particularly well suited to share ideas about needed infrastructure and energy related investments that can lead to a “more just, thriving, and sustainable future.”
We’ve put together
a brief online form
and invite our network members and public partners to share your ideas about possible energy related federal action or investment by
next Wednesday April 15th
. We will share your responses with Vermont’s federal delegation (if you wish) and use your responses to convene partners working on similar issues and help build planning capacity across our Network.
Don’t hesitate to reach out to us with questions or further thoughts.
We’re in this together, 
Jared Duval,
EAN Executive Director
News from the World
How an energy jobs coalition can help the US economy bounce back
Former Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz outlines what an energy and jobs stimulus package could look like.
The Hill
,
Read More
The Green New Deal is cheap, actually
Decarbonizing will cost trillions of dollars, but it’s an investment that will have big return — for the economy and the environment
Rolling Stone
,
COVID-19: Meeting GHG reduction goals might not be a good thing
Climate scientists and environmental advocates say any short-term drop in emissions gives a misleading sense of progress. 
Inside Climate News,
One of the critical lessons from the COVID pandemic is that our highly interdependent global economy is more vulnerable to disruptions than we previously thought. While we cannot predict how or when we will rebound from this pandemic, we know that investing in our local economy will make us more resilient.
Over the last decade, Vermonters collectively spent an average of approximately $2 billion a year on fossil fuels for transportation and heating. Because we import 100% of that fossil fuel, the vast majority of those energy dollars leave the state (up to 80%, depending on the fuel). In contrast, when we invest in any of the efficient and renewable energy alternatives, a much higher percentage of our energy dollars stay local and recirculate in Vermont—from 60 cents of every dollar invested in weatherization to 80 cents or more of every dollar spent on local wood. Weatherization, efficient electric heating and transportation, and local wood heat support jobs for Vermonters, improving our state’s economy, and, in turn, increasing community and household resilience.
Some Vermonters have the means to immediately improve their personal and household resiliency through purchasing efficient, clean technology to meet their transportation and home heating needs. Unfortunately, many Vermonters—including those who are predicted to suffer most during and after the COVID pandemic—are unable to make these up-front investments. If we are to meet our energy and emissions goals and successfully prepare for disruptions in a climate-altered world, we must improve and expand the resources available to lower- and middle-income Vermonters, ensuring that everyone has the opportunity to participate in the energy transition while improving our resiliency.
Watch the VECAN webinar on our 2019 Annual Progress Report
On March 30th, EAN Executive Director Jared Duval joined Johanna Miller and Ian Hitchcock of VECAN, and town energy committee members and climate activists from across the state for a presentation on the findings of our 2019 Annual Report.
You can view a recording of the webinar 
at this link
. You will be prompted to enter your name and email to be able to view it. The webinar also includes a brief update by Johanna Miller on Vermont climate legislation, which is largely on hold as the Vermont legislature focuses its attention, appropriately, on the COVID-19 crisis.
Other upcoming webinars from network members and partners
Wednesday, April 8 at 12pm
VNRC webinar: Keeping our Forests and Wildlife Habitats Intact
Wednesday, April 8 at 7pm
Vermont Sierra Club Presents: Priorities of the Climate Solutions Caucus with Rep. Sarah Copeland Hanzas
Tuesday, April 14th at 12pm
VPIRG webinar: Federal Rollbacks of Environmental Laws: What’s Happening and What We Can Do with Mark Floegel (Greenpeace)
Wednesday, April 15 at 7pm
Sierra Club webinar: The Transportation Climate Initiative, Reductions in Regional Climate Emissions with Peter Walke
Thursday, April 16 at 12 pm
VNRC webinar: What’s Going On with Act 250 with Brian Shupe and Jon Groveman
Stay tuned for more information on the
VNRC website
.
Member Profile
Capstone Community Action
In addition to their excellent work serving low-income populations across central Vermont, Capstone Community Action has been an Energy Action Network (EAN) member since the earliest days of our network. They recognize that their efforts to connect their clients with services and opportunity, and to keep them housed and warm affordably, have energy impacts. They are increasingly leading conversations in the human service community about the impacts of climate change on the people they serve and how to conduct their work through this lens. Capstone’s rural mobility project was one of the few, excellent pitches selected for the 2019 Energy Action Network summit.
Capstone’s
current partnership with other Central Vermont non-profits on rapid response
during the pandemic is a powerful example of the potential of networks and collaboration. 
More News from the World
US rollback of auto pollution rules
The Trump administration announces final rule to rollback fuel efficiency standards, undoing the government’s biggest effort to combat climate change.
EPA suspends enforcement of environmental laws
The Environmental Protection Agency issued a suspension of its enforcement of environmental laws, telling companies they would not need to meet standards during the coronavirus outbreak.
Research links air pollution to higher coronavirus death rates
Patients in areas that had high levels of air pollution before the pandemic are more likely to die from the infection that those in cleaner parts of the country.
Have an upcoming event or news story to share?
Let us know.

 

Contact EAN

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