Admission: It’s the Global Warming NON-solutions Act

By Rob Roper

At the Sept. 7 meeting of the Vermont Climate Council Steering Committee, member Chris Campany committed a bit of candor regarding the Global Warming Solutions Act. Discussing the goal of greenhouse gas emission reduction — which is the primary focus of the law — versus strengthening and modernizing infrastructure, Campany admitted, “We can go negative emissions tomorrow, and for everybody in Vermont we’re still going to be dealing with the same issues.” (See video 18:20-18:40.)

In other words, reducing Vermont’s greenhouse gas emissions, even if we did so all the way to zero, solves absolutely nothing. It doesn’t solve the problems of extreme weather. It won’t have any impact on temperature trends. From a climate standpoint, regardless of how much time, treasure and sacrifice we put into this effort, it won’t actually solve any problems our state currently faces, environmental or otherwise. However, it may create a bunch of problems along the way.

Campany’s comments were focused strictly on environmental issues. He’s still in favor of some greenhouse gas reduction, but recognizes it won’t stop flooding, won’t stop algae blooms in our waterways, etc. His point is, if we actually want to solve the problem of, for example, future floods, it’s investing in culverts, roads and infrastructure construction that will do it, not putting a taxpayer subsidized EV in every garage. But this is not how the Global Warming Solutions Act works.

There is a bigger picture that needs to be considered as well. The money and resources required for GHG reduction will be diverted away not just from environmental infrastructure, but from other real problems, too, such as our public pension crisis, affordable housing crisis, workforce development crisis, economic development, not to mention the crushing tax burden most Vermonters would like some relief from. All of which begs the question: why are we doing this again? Why are we preparing to spend hundreds of millions of dollars of scarce resources per year — billions of dollars over decades — on a project that even if successful beyond expectations will solve no problems in a state that, let’s face it, has many problems that need to be solved?

This is a question every Vermonter should demand a detailed answer to.

Rob Roper is president of the Ethan Allen Institute. Reprinted with permission from the Ethan Allen Institute Blog.

9 thoughts on “Admission: It’s the Global Warming NON-solutions Act

  1. Comparison of CO2 Reduction in my House versus EAN Estimate

    CO2 Reduction due to HPs

    No HPs:
    CO2 of propane was 850 gal/y x 12.7 lb CO2/gal, combustion only = 4.897 Mt/y

    With HPs:
    The CO2 reduction is calculated in two ways, 1) EAN method, based on commercial contracts (market based), 2) the rational method, based on ISO-NE calculations (location based).

    CO2 of propane was 550 gal/y x 12.7 lb CO2/gal, combustion only = 3.168 Mt/y
    CO2 of electricity was 2244 kWh x 33.9 g/kWh = 0.076 Mt/y
    Total CO2 = 3.168 + 0.711 = 3.879 Mt/y
    CO2 reduction is 4.897 – 3.244 = 1.652 Mt/y, if based on the 2018 VT-DPS “paper-based” value of 33.9 g CO2/kWh

    CO2 of propane was 550 gal/y x 12.7 lb CO2/gal, combustion only = 3.168 Mt/y
    CO2 of electricity was 2244 kWh x 317 g/kWh = 0.711 Mt/y
    Total CO2 = 3.168 + 0.076 = 3.244 Mt/y
    CO2 reduction is 4.897 – 3.879 = 1.017 Mt/y, if based on the realistic ISO-NE value of 317 g/kWh

    Cost of CO2 Reduction = (2059/y, amortizing – 253, energy cost savings + 200/y, service, parts, labor)/1.017 Mt, CO2 reduction = $1972/Mt

    https://www.eia.gov/environment/emissions/co2_vol_mass.php
    https://afdc.energy.gov/files/u/publication/fuel_comparison_chart.pdf

    EAN Excessive CO2 Reduction Claim

    EAN claims 90,000 HPs by 2025 would reduce 0.37 million Mt of CO2, in 2025, or 0.37 million/90,000 = 4.111 Mt/y, per HP system, if 100% displacement of fuel. See page 5 of URL
    https://www.eanvt.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/EAN-report-2020-final.pdf

    However, Vermont houses with HPs displace only 27.6% of space heat Btus, per VT-DPS survey
    My well-sealed/well-insulated house with HPs displaces only 35%.
    Displacing 100% of my space heat, by operating my HPs at very low temperatures and low COPs, would require at least 6,500 kWh/y, much more than my 2,244 kWh/y to displace 35%

    NOTE: The EAN claim likely was made to deceive people, including legislators, and to hype the adoption of overly expensive, not-very-useful HPs

  2. What the Vermont Climate Council should do is something they’ll never do: initiate a thorough red-team analysis of climate science and subject it to the most rigorous scrutiny. Look for things that are wrong.

    I even know where they could start: with the 2017 Hughes et al paper, “Global warming and recurrent mass bleaching of corals.” https://www.readcube.com/articles/10.1038/nature21707?r3_referer=nature This paper has dozens of co-authors.

    The problems is, this paper is fiction. It ignores the real cause of bleaching at the Great Barrier Reef in 2015-16, which was lower sea levels due to El Nino which led to the relatively shallow Mediocre Fringing Reefs becoming exposed to sun injury, a mechanism of harm documented by Ampou in his 2017 paper on Indonesian reefs. Furthermore, the current flows due to the El Nino that lowered sea levels in the western Pacific (what? lowered sea level?) caused the warmer, shallow, more tropical Gulf of Carpentaria to reverse flow and send its warmer waters through the Torres Straight and into the northern GBR, where the bulk of the bleaching of the shallower reefs took place. These current flows are documented by Wolanski, 2017. The evidence that the real cause of 2015-16 GBR bleaching was El Nino and ocean current flows associated with it, and not global warming, is immense. It might pass muster if Hughes et al had claimed that global warming caused the El Nino that caused lower sea levels, but they didn’t even mention it.

    So what was the Hughes paper, then, that a red team approach might find? It was essentially a gross error of confused causality. Unfortunately, this is the only ‘science’ that alarmist climate science specializes in, and that the media finds worthy of reporting.

    Now that the Vermont Climate Council knows about the Hughes paper, I’m sure they’ll do their due diligence on that paper and on other aspects of climate science since they are, after all, only interested in real science.

  3. Finally…….A Climate Council member admits what has repeatedly been said on TrueNorth and other platforms for years…….That being, even by going to zero emissions will have no impact on climate change.

    So what will the Climate Council do before sending its recommendations to the legislature? Then, what does the legislature do when they get a pile of renewable energy industry promoted recommendations that will do nothing except spend billions of taxpayer dollars?

    Yes folks, Mr. Campany has finally admitted that the ” Climate Emperor has no clothes.”

  4. I am back from my walk.

    Heat Pumps are Money Losers in my Vermont House; as they are in almost all Vermont houses

    I installed three Mitsubishi, 24,000 Btu/h HPs, Model MXZ-2C24NAHZ2, each with 2 heads; 2 in the living room, 1 in the kitchen, and 1 in each of 3 bedrooms. The HPs have DC variable-speed, motor-driven compressors and fans, which improves the efficiency of low-temperature operation.
    The HPs last about 15 years. Turnkey capital cost was $24,000
    http://www.windtaskforce.org/profiles/blogs/vermont-co2-reduction-of-ashps-is-based-on-misrepresentations

    My Well-Sealed, Well-Insulated House

    The HPs are used for heating and cooling my 35-y-old, 3500 sq ft, well-sealed/well-insulated house, except the basement, which has a near-steady temperature throughout the year, because it has 2” of blueboard, R-10, on the outside of the concrete foundation and under the basement slab, which has saved me many thousands of space heating dollars over the 35 years.

    I do not operate my HPs at 10F or below, because HPs would become increasingly less efficient with decreasing temperatures. The HP operating cost per hour would become greater than of my highly efficient propane furnace.

    High Electricity Prices

    Vermont forcing, with subsidies and/or GWSA mandates, the build-outs of expensive RE electricity systems, such as wind, solar, batteries, etc., would be counter-productive, because it would: 1) increase electric rates and 2) worsen the already poor economics of HPs (and of EVs)!!
    https://www.windtaskforce.org/profiles/blogs/high-costs-of-wind-solar-and-battery-systems

    Energy Cost Saving

    My energy cost savings due to the HPs were $253/y, on an investment of $24,000!!

    Amortizing Heat Pumps

    Amortizing the $24,000 turnkey capital cost at 3.5%/y for 15 years costs about $2,059/y.
    This is in addition to the amortizing of my existing propane system. I am losing money.
    https://www.myamortizationchart.com

    Other Annual Costs

    There likely would be service calls and parts for the HP system, as the years go by.
    This is in addition to the annual service calls and parts for my existing propane system. I am losing more money.

    Cost of CO2 Reduction would be (2,059, amortize – 253, energy cost saving + 200, parts and maintenance)/0.998 Mt/y, CO2 reduction, table 6 = $2028/Mt, which is similar to money-losing, very expensive, electric school buses. See URL
    https://www.windtaskforce.org/profiles/blogs/electric-bus-systems-likely-not-cost-effective-in-vermont-at

    Highly Sealed, Highly Insulated Housing

    If I had a highly sealed, highly insulated house, with the same efficient propane heating system, my house, for starters, would use very little energy for space heating, i.e., not much additional energy cost saving and CO2 reduction would be possible using HPs

    If I would install HPs, and would operate the propane system down to 5F (which would involve greater defrost losses), I likely would displace a greater percentage of propane, and might have greater annual energy cost savings; much would depend on: 1) the total energy consumption (which is very little, because of my higher-efficiency house), and 2) the prices of electricity and propane. See Note.

    I likely would need 3 units at 18,000 Btu/h, at a lesser turnkey capital cost. Their output, very-inefficiently produced (low COP), would be about 34,000 Btu/h at -10F, the Vermont HVAC design temperature.

    However, any annual energy cost savings would be overwhelmed by the annual amortizing cost, and parts and service costs. i.e., I would still be losing money, if amortizing were considered.

    NOTE:

    1) About 1.0 to 1.5 percent of Vermont houses are highly sealed and highly insulated
    2) Vermont’s weatherizing program, at about $10,000/unit, does next to nothing for making energy-hog houses suitable for HPs; it is a social program for poor people.

    Heat Pump Evaluation in Vermont by VT-DPS

    VT-Department of Public Service found, after a survey of 77 HPs installed in Vermont houses:

    – The annual energy cost savings were, on average, $200, but the maintenance and annual amortizing costs would turn that gain into a loss of at least $200.

    – On average, the HPs provided 27.6% of the annual space heat, and traditional fuels provided 72.4%. These numbers are directly from the survey data.

    – Owners started to turn off their HPs at about 24F, and very few owners were using their HPs at 10F and below, as shown by the decreasing kWh consumption totals on figure 14 of URL

    – On average, an HP consumed 2,085 kWh during the heating season, of which:

    1) To outdoor unit (compressor, outdoor fan, controls) + indoor air handling unit (fan and supplemental electric heater, if used) to provide heat 1,880 kWh;
    2) Standby mode 76 kWh, or 100 x 76/2085 = 3.6%;
    3) Defrost mode 129 kWh, or 100 x 129/2085 = 6.2%. Defrost starts at about 37F and ends at about 10F.

    – Turnkey cost for a one-head HP system is about $4,500; almost all houses had just one HP. See URLs.

    On average, these houses were unsuitable for HPs, and the owners were losing money.

    http://www.windtaskforce.org/profiles/blogs/cost-savings-of-air-source-heat-pumps-are-negative-in-vermont
    https://publicservice.vermont.gov/sites/dps/files/documents/2017%20Evaluation%20of%20Cold%20Climate%20Heat%20Pumps%20in%20Vermont.pdf

    NOTE: Coefficient of Performance, COP = heat delivered to house/electrical energy to HP
    See page 10 of URL
    https://mn.gov/commerce-stat/pdfs/card-air-source-heat-pump.pdf

    Heat Pump Evaluation in Minnesota

    The image on page 10 of URL shows:

    1) Increasing COPs of an HP versus increasing outdoor temperatures (blue)
    2) The defrost range from 37F down to 10F (yellow)
    3) Operation of the propane back-up system from 20F to -20F (green).

    Such operation would be least costly and would displace propane, that otherwise would be used.
    The image shows, HPs are economical down to about 13 F, then propane, etc., becomes more economical; much depends on the prices of electricity and propane.
    https://mn.gov/commerce-stat/pdfs/card-air-source-heat-pump.pdf

    BTW, all of the above has been known for many years, and yet, RE folks, in and out of government, keep on hyping air source HPs in cold climates.

    Ground Source HPs

    They are widely used in many different buildings in northern Europe, such as Germany, the Netherlands, Denmark, Norway, Sweden and Finland.

    Their main advantage is the COP does not decrease with temperature, because the ground temperature is constant
    GSHPs can economically displace 100% of fuel.
    ASHPs can economically displace at most 50% of fuel; the percentage depends on how well a building is sealed and insulated.

    The main disadvantage of GSHPs is greater turnkey capital cost, i.e., high amortization cost. See URL
    http://www.windtaskforce.org/profiles/blogs/residential-and-other-gshp-systems-in-new-england

    NOTE: It is completely inane for RE folks to mindlessly repeat:

    “Vermonters must have 25,000 heat pumps, by so and so year, to save the CLIMATE, even though it is required by the off-the-charts nutty GWSA act, and the Comprehensive Energy Plan. Which I think, should be rewritten along REALISTIC lines.

    In the big World CO2 picture, Vermont is just a dot at the end of this sentence.

    • I am glad you had the financial resources to install the system and the time and expertise to evaluate and document your findings. One other factor not being mentioned concerns the air quality of a highly insulated and sealed house. Remember radon issues in the news a number of years ago? Radon is still an issue, just no longer mentioned. All this information is destined to fall on deaf ears.

  5. Unfortunately the very people that should be giving us these answers- the Vermont legislature- are not likely to be very forthcoming. they are beholden to the religion of “climate change” and the financial backers of instituting that change. We have been gaslighted for decades with all sorts of fancy names for the next environmental disaster that will doom the planet, yet here we are- still debating how taxing anything will change the composition of the atmosphere. It will change the ratio of millionaires in Vermont.
    Vermont has been set up for failure on this issue. The “Climate Council” and all of it’s sub-committees can wish all they want, demand and tax all they now legally are directed to…
    And tomorrow, just like in 5 years or 50, it will still be
    78% Nitrogen
    21% Oxygen
    0.9% Argon
    0.038% Carbon Dioxide
    0.07% everything else.

  6. Vermont has only one solution, that would save money and reduce CO2 for at least 100 years

    Build thousands of new zero-net-energy, or energy-surplus, housing units EACH YEAR.

    Northern countries in Europe, with similar climates as Vermont, have been building them for at least 3 decades.

    They arrive on trucks, and are assembled like Lego blocks in a very short time, because the building season is short.

    The son of my brother in law in Norway bought his house from an Austrian construction company. His family moved in 3 months later.

    It has GROUND SOURCE heat pumps, the only ones that make any sense to space heat AN ENTIRE HOUSE ALL WINTER.

    What in hell are we waiting for?
    All the technology is already well developed.

    With slight adjustments, energy-surplus housing units could be OFF THE GRID

    Heat pumps only work in highly sealed, highly insulated housing units, r40 or better, with r20 basements.

    I “invested” $24,000 for (3) two-head heat pumps, for heating and cooling my house, and I displace only 35% of my space heating Btus, and have ENERGY COST SAVINGS of about $275/y; the average for Vermont is 27.6%, per VT-DPS survey.

    I am not counting the cost of amortizing $24,000 at 3.5% over 15 years
    If I included that, I, and all other Vermonters, would loose big time

    I now have TWO HEATING SYSTEM, one is for the colder days, when all that propane heat is needed, and heat pumps are too expensive to operate.

    Those two heating systems have annual maintenance, parts costs, etc., which, by themselves, wipe out the $275 in ENERGY COST SAVINGS

    I was using very little propane, because my house is efficient.
    I designed it myself

    Stop this crazy, EXPENSIVE FOLLY of having EVs in every garage and chargers everywhere.

    SMALLISH, SOMEWHAT AFFORDABLE EVs are mostly useless for most Vermonters.

    Now, I need to go for a walk, but will be back with more.
    Stay tuned

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