Climate Change


The Vermont Economic Resiliency Initiative has released their final report. Over the last two years, multiple agencies have been working together to look at how individual towns can think about the economic impacts of flood damage, and the value of mitigating it.

Climate change and human activity may be leading to a new wave of extinction.

Vermont Edition spoke to Elizabeth Kolbert, staff writer for The New Yorker, about the her latest book, "The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History."

On historic mass extinctions

"The idea is that there have been these moments [that] are not spaced in any way for whatever reason, and the reasons vary, you get a very large number of species going extinct, in a geological sense, more or less at the same time," says Kolbert.

Vermont Council on Rural Development

The public is invited to a panel discussion on Wednesday evening at Rutland’s Paramount Theatre to brainstorm ways to turn the challenges of climate change into economic opportunities.

Toby Talbot / AP/file

This month marks four years since Tropical Storm Irene hit Vermont. In the aftermath, President Barack Obama vowed the Federal Emergency Management Agency would be there to help with recovery. But an investigation by the New England Center for Investigative Reporting and Al Jazeera America found FEMA hasn't exactly been prepared for the new normal of climate change. 

Toby Talbot / AP file

Businesses and technology that have sprouted up in response to climate change tend to place more emphasis on saving the planet than a return on investment. But in order to attract mainstream capital to these emerging companies, an innovative and profitable business model must be in place.

Ariel Schalit / AP

In 2007, the CNA Military Advisory Board issued a report calling climate change a “threat multiplier.” Seven years later, an update to the report included more urgent language, calling climate change a “catalyst for conflict.”

Taylor Dobbs / VPR

Much of the rhetoric around climate change centers on the world today's children will inherit, but this week at UVM those kids started taking things into their own hands.

In Burlington Friday, 200 high school students from across Vermont gathered at the University of Vermont for a Youth Climate Summit. 

The students were tasked with forming a climate action plan for their own schools.

And the UVM faculty and students who put it on weren't toning it down and giving the high schoolers the "climate change junior" speech.

Sage Van Wing / Flickr

Among scientists, there is little debate any longer about whether human activity contributes to climate change. However, in politics, and on TV, it is still a matter of debate. So how do the physicists, engineers, and climatologists who do work in this field engage with the public debate?

We talk to Mary Albert, professor of Engineering at Dartmouth and executive director of the U.S. Ice Drilling Program Office, and Jennie Stephens, Professor of Sustainability Science and Policy at the University of Vermont. 

Angela Evancie / VPR

It’s hard to find a subject where Vermont’s four candidates for governor have very different positions but the threat posed by climate change is one of them. These differences were very clear during VPR's gubernatorial debate.  

The candidate who is least concerned is Libertarian Dan Feliciano. He says the state has wasted millions of dollars providing tax credits for solar projects and he argues that climate change is being overblown by a number of politicians and scientists.

Toby Talbot / AP

This weekend, some Vermonters are in New York City for a massive protest about climate change in the United States.  Meanwhile, new research from UVM has added more data to a picture of rising temperatures and less snow in the coming century. Monday on Vermont Edition, we’ll look at the impacts of climate change in our region.

Jason DeCrow / Associated Press

More than a thousand Vermonters marched in New York City yesterday as part of the People’s Climate March.

Some marchers were dressed as polar bears, some carried small wooden windmill replicas in their hands and some of the older activists held signs saying they were marching for their grandchildren. Contingents affiliated with colleges, labor unions and religious groups marched banners denouncing hydro-fracking, the tar sands oil project in Canada and the XL pipeline. Magdeline Valetis came from Putney with her 13 year-old daughter Ashley.

Mark Donka, a Republican running for Congress against Rep. Peter Welch, has views on climate change that are in conflict with widely-accepted science on the matter.

On Vermont Edition Friday, Donka confirmed that he believes climate change is real, but argued that humans aren’t necessarily the primary cause.

State officials are urging the Obama Administration to make some significant changes in federal disaster recovery programs.

The goal is to make the federal government more responsive to the needs of individual states during future natural disasters take place.

Deputy Transportation Secretary Sue Minter is one of Gov. Peter Shumlin’s representatives on the White House Task Force on Climate Change. 

Chandler Burgess / Killington Resort

The concept of “global warming” probably sounded appealing to many Vermonters as last winter held on well into March.

But Andy Nash of the National Weather Service said what felt like a cold winter this year only felt that way because Vermont is generally getting warmer and wetter.

“The winter we had was really the equivalent of what was happening in the 1930s, 40s and 50s,” he said. “It was a traditional, historic Vermont winter.”

State officials say President Obama’s new national plan to reduce carbon emissions is an important step forward to deal with climate change. They also believe the proposal could greatly benefit Vermont’s growing energy efficiency industry.

The draft rule released by the Environmental Protection Agency calls for a 30 percent reduction in carbon dioxide emissions by the year 2030.

The proposal is expected to have a major impact on coal burning plants in the Midwest and the south that produce almost 40 percent of the nation’s electricity.

Eugene Hoshiko / AP

Our region has seen more heavy rains and floods over the last five decades. Now, the new National Climate Assessment, released this week by the White House, warns of more dire weather patterns.

More flooding, more heat, more air pollution and more damage to aging transportation infrastructure are just a few of the bleak predictions about how climate change will affect the Northeast and New England.

AP/Toby Talbot

As farmers gear up for another growing season, some are preparing for more extreme weather events, particularly flooding.

Resiliency in the face of climate change was one topic covered at the winter conference of the Northeast Organic Farming Association of Vermont.

John Hayden and his wife run The Farm Between on the Lamoille River in Jeffersonville.

Claudia Marshall

The environmental group 350 Vermont is making plans for increased activism against climate change.  On the heels of its first-ever annual meeting, the group is focusing on targets from Montpelier to Washington.

About a hundred activists -- mostly volunteers -- spent most of their Saturday swapping ideas about how to get Vermont to cut consumption of fossil fuels. Say’s the group’s Maeve McBride, “it has to be a shotgun approach.  We’re hitting lots of different things at the same time.”

President Barack Obama named Gov. Peter Shumlin to a nationwide task force on “Climate Preparedness and Resilience,” the White House announced today.

Shumlin is one of 26 officials from around the country named to the task force and one of eight governors. Other members of the task force include local officials and two tribal representatives.

Toby Talbot / AP

Gov. Peter Shumlin and legislative leaders came into the recent session promising to make combating climate change a top priority.

Lawmakers and the governor said a warming world was the defining crisis of our time. They focused on an effort to make homes more energy efficient.

But the reality has not lived up to the rhetoric.