Vt. Environmental Leader Reports Back From 2018 Global Climate Action Summit

Sep 24, 2018

The Global Climate Action Summit was held earlier this month in San Francisco. While it may seem counterintuitive for that conference to be in a major American city when the United States has pulled out of the Paris climate accord, the activists who were there see an opportunity for the U.S. to still be a leader in fighting the effects of climate change.

Steve Nicholas, vice president of the Institute for Sustainable Communities' U.S. program, is based in Vermont and attended the recent summit in California.

Nicholas said that one of the goals of the event was "to send a message to the Trump administration that their, you know in my opinion, quite wrong-headed position on climate is really a global outlier."

Listen above to Steve Nicholas' conversation with VPR's Mitch Wertlieb.

Nicholas said city and state governments, companies and investors attended the conference to renew and accelerate their commitment to environmental sustainability in the face of increasing natural catastrophes, such as Florence.

The federal government’s environmental policies not only have a damaging effect on the climate, Nicholas said, but also on the economy. But, he said, there’s reason for hope.

According to Nicholas, it was announced at the Global Climate Action Summit that more than 400 companies have made a commitment to use 100 percent renewable energy over the next 20 to 30 years, including IKEA, Apple, Bank of America and Lego, among others.

“Why are they doing that? Because they see that it’s in their economic benefit to do so; because they see that it’s linked to their future profitability,” said Nicholas.

And Nicholas said attending the summit as a Vermonter “feels good” because of the state’s commitment to renewable energy.

“We’ve got a lot to be proud of here in Vermont,” he said.