Legacy Project

History of Climate Action Planning in Burlington

Burlington has a long history of climate change planning. In 1996, Burlington became one of the first cities to join the “Cities for Climate Protection” campaign, organized by what is now referred to as “ICLEI: Local Governments for Sustainability.” This led to a 1998 City Council resolution to reduce our emissions to 10% below 1990 levels and the formation of a Climate Protection Task Force. This group, comprised of non-profit, city, and business leaders appointed by then Mayor Peter Clavelle, guided an 18-month analysis and planning process, which ultimately led to the City’s first Climate Action Plan (CAP). This plan was adopted by the City Council in May 2000.

In 2008, Burlington began its CAP update and review process with an inventory of Burlington’s emissions. This inventory, conducted using ICLEI’s Clean Air and Climate Protection (CACP) software, involved input, not only from key City departments such as Burlington Electric Department (BED), Department of Public Works (DPW), and Department of Planning and Zoning (DPZ), but other organizations such the Chittenden Solid Waste District (CSWD) and the Regional Planning Commission. The inventory revealed that Burlington’s Community generated over 432,423 tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) equivalent in 2007 and that City Government emitted over 23,285 tons of CO2 equivalent.

This was followed by a lengthy community process, reflective of Burlington’s participatory decision-making and community involvement history.  This community process, coupled with a detailed cost-carbon-benefit analysis resulted in Burlington's updated plan, ratified in 2014 and available here.