To date, climate change (both mitigation and adaptation) has been treated as a disaggregated problem by state and federal government. As time goes on, that approach becomes increasingly unwise – especially in the face of data indicating that society is far from making the progress required.
Over time, we can expect to see state governments develop comprehensive plans for tackling climate challenge strategically. These plans will require careful attention to rational allocation of funding for state initiatives and programs.
In the summer of 2020, SolaVida collaborated with the University of New Hampshire Sustainability Institute on a pilot project designed to address this question, including demonstrating how to gather, organize and assess the information needed. The pilot developed a straightforward two-part methodology. As an example, we then applied the idea to spending on climate change and clean energy in Vermont. A summary of the report can be found on the Climate XChange SCPN website. Our hope is that other states see this idea and run with it.
When the report was released, it was picked up by local news organizations and others – creating a new conversation and, we hope, adding to the sense of urgency for action that climate change demands. Two examples are this op-ed by the TimesArgus, the newspaper covering Montpelier (VT’s state capital), and this story in Vermont Business Magazine. The report was also provided to the Vermont Climate Council – a group created by the passage of Vermont’s Global Warming Solutions Act.
We would be happy to provide our thoughts to others who would like to apply this idea in their state.