This page provides an overview of the steps Vermont is taking to prepare for the impacts of climate change.
In December 2012, Governor Peter Shumlin re-established Vermont’s Climate Cabinet and called on state agencies to take specific steps to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and prepare for the impacts of climate change (Executive Order 15-12). The Climate Cabinet had been originally established by Governor Shumlin in 2011. The Climate Cabinet is chaired by Secretary of the Agency of Natural Resources and includes the heads of a number of the state’s agencies and departments. The Climate Cabinet was charged with reducing greenhouse gas emissions and improving the state’s resilience to climate impacts.
In order to identify and plan for climate impacts, Vermont has published a series of white papers on climate adaptation. Published between 2010 and 2013, these white papers identify climate impacts and outline adaptation strategies in a number sectors, including agriculture, water resources, public health, transportation, fish and wildlife, recreation, and forestry.
Vermont’s state agencies have also been active in planning for the impacts of climate change. In 2008, the Vermont Agency of Transportation proposed both greenhouse gas reduction measures and adaptation actions as part of a Climate Change Action Plan. For example, the action plan identified protecting transportation infrastructure from erosion and stream scour as a high priority. The damage caused by Tropical Storm Irene in 2011 highlighted the importance of preparing for intense precipitation. After that storm, the state partnered with the US Environmental Protection Agency to develop a plan for flood recovery and resilience in Vermont. In 2013, the Vermont Agency of Natural Resources proposed an adaptation framework for the state’s wildlife, fisheries, forests, and water resources. This framework both identifies climate impacts on the state’s natural resources and highlights relevant adaptation strategies.
The state’s climate change preparations have been informed by specific climate projections developed by the Vermont Climate Assessment. Published in 2014 in partnership with the National Climate Assessment, the Vermont Climate Assessment combines downscaled global climate models and local knowledge and data to identify state-level climate impacts.
Vermont's statewide adaptation planning is in progress. Other resources from the Adaptation Clearinghouse, which have been developed by the state and localities to help communities prepare for climate change, are highlighted below.
(Research last updated September 10, 2014.)
The Georgetown Climate Center’s State Adaptation Progress Tracker, which tracks the progress of states in implementing their adaptation plans, is supported by the MacArthur Foundation.
|Resource Name||Resource Type||Date|
|Vermont Governor's Climate Cabinet and State Agency Climate Action Plan (Executive Order 15-12)||Law and Governance||December 28, 2012|
|Resource Name||Sector(s) Covered||Date|
|Creating and Maintaining Resilient Forests in Vermont: Adapting Forests to Climate Change||Biodiversity and ecosystems, Forestry, Land management and conservation, Wildlife||May 2015|
|Vermont Agency of Natural Resources Climate Change Adaptation Framework||Biodiversity and ecosystems, Fish and fisheries, Forestry, Water resources, Wildlife||May 31, 2013|
|Adapting Vermont’s Transportation Infrastructure to the Future Impacts of Climate Change||Emergency preparedness, Transportation||August 13, 2012|
|Vermont Agency of Transportation (VTrans) Climate Change Action Plan||Emergency preparedness, Land use and built environment, Transportation||June 2008|
|Vermont Wildlife Action Plan||Biodiversity and ecosystems, Fish and fisheries, Wildlife||November 22, 2005|
|Burlington, Vermont Climate Action Plan||2014|
|Resource Name||Resource Category||Date|
|Vermont Economic Resiliency Initiative and Final Report||Assessments||September 30, 2015|
|Creating and Maintaining Resilient Forests in Vermont: Adapting Forests to Climate Change||Planning||May 2015|
|Planning for Flood Recovery and Long-Term Resilience in Vermont: Smart Growth Approaches for Disaster Resilient Communities||Planning||July 2014|
|Vermont Climate Assessment: Considering Vermont’s Future in a Changing Climate||Assessments||June 2014|
|Vermont's Roadmap to Resilience||Planning||December 16, 2013|
|Lessons Learned From Irene: Climate Change, Federal Disaster Relief and Barriers to Adaptive Reconstruction||Law and Governance||December 2013|
|Vermont Culvert Rebuilding after Tropical Storm Irene||Law and Governance||December 2013|
|Adapting Vermont’s Transportation Infrastructure to the Future Impacts of Climate Change||Solutions||August 13, 2012|
|Vermont Adaptation White Papers||Assessments||April 2011|