Climate caucus meets again, but some ideas may lack buy-in from governor

Michael Bielawski/TNR

CLIMATE ACTION NOW: From left to right, state Sen. Chris Pearson, P/D-Chittenden; Rep. Sarah Copeland-Hanzas, D-Bradford; and Rep. Marybeth Redmond, D-Essex, led a climate-caucus meeting at the Essex Police Department on Thursday evening.

ESSEX JUNCTION — The Vermont Climate Solutions Caucus met Thursday to discuss transforming the state into a green-energy leader, but some ideas expressed at the meeting may find little support from the governor, based on his recent comments.

About 30 people gathered at the Essex Police Department to hear what Democrat and Progressive state lawmakers had to say about possible climate change legislation for the 2020 legislative session.

Lawmakers hosting the event included Sen. Chris Pearson, P/D-Chittenden; Rep. Sarah Copeland-Hanzas, D-Bradford; and Rep. Marybeth Redmond, D-Essex. Other representatives in the room were Rep. Dylan Giambatista, D-Essex Junction; Rep. Linda Myers, R-Essex; Rep. James McCullough, D-Williston; and Rep. Mike Yantachka, D-Charlotte.

As with previous climate caucus meetings, the lawmakers focused on how to limit carbon emissions related to heating and transportation. This focus means getting the state to push for more electric vehicles, more in-state renewable energy production, greater insulation of homes and a transition toward alternative heating sources like wood-pellet stoves and cold-climate heat pumps.

When it comes to Vermont’s potential membership in the regional Transportation and Climate Initiative (TCI) — a 12-state partnership to cap-and-trade carbon emissions — the caucus members, starting with Pearson, offered strong endorsement.

“In mid-December, it’s anticipated that we will get an announcement from the governors on the framework for TCI,” Pearson said. ” … That is a very, very promising program, mostly because it involves this whole region, and we’re not doing it alone.”

Such optimism for the regional program seems premature in light of comments Gov. Phil Scott made last week at the governor’s weekly press conference.

“We have to be objective about this,” the governor said. “But suffice to say, my feelings haven’t changed on a carbon tax. If that is all it is, a carbon tax, then I’m not supportive of that.”

Nevertheless, Pearson said “the Climate Solutions Caucus is excited to pursue this,” and he explained that, under the TCI, distributors of carbon-based fuels will see a surcharge that will be used for investments in electric transportation. Electric vehicles already are getting federal subsidies up to $7,500, in addition to in-state subsidies by the electric utilities.

A few attendees at the meeting challenged the lawmakers’ premise that Vermont’s economy needs to be overhauled to prevent a planetary climate disaster.

Jeffrey Kaufman, a medical doctor from Burlington, spoke out against some of the ideas presented by climate caucus members.

“I think there’s an issue with presuppositions and some of your basic assumptions, which are apparently driving all of this legislation and discussion and fears you are referring to,” Kaufman said.

Citing a book he was carrying with him — “Inconvenient Facts: The Science That Al Gore Doesn’t Want You to Know” — Kaufman said carbon dioxide is not a pollutant, but a naturally occurring gas essential for plant growth. He argued that since CO2 comprises just 0.04 percent of the Earth’s atmosphere, it’s not likely a central cause of climate change.

Pearson, addressing Kaufman’s concerns, replied, “I don’t think it makes sense for us to debate global warming or the climate crisis.”

Kaufman responded, “I think it does, because that’s the premise that has to be made … [for] everything that we all are going to be subjected to.”

Green energy costs more than energy derived from fossil fuels. Vermont’s commitment to green energy quotas, as detailed in its renewable portfolio standard, is likely to cause the cost of energy to go up for Vermont ratepayers.

Pearson also said the energy-use targets of the 2016 Paris Agreement are not ambitious enough. Those targets include reducing carbon emissions by at least 40 percent below 1990 levels by 2030.

“Paris is not adequate, not at all adequate,” he said. ” … But it would be really hard for us to hit that in 2025.”

According to Copeland-Hanzas, states need enforceable mandates, such as those being proposed in the Global Warming Solutions Act, S.173, a bill modeled after a law passed in Massachusetts, Connecticut and Rhode Island.

RELATED: Global warming bill would force green policies on Vermonters

“It is absolutely a way to come together and demand that we make the tough decisions,” she said. “We’ve had these aspirations in statute for a long time, but there’s never really been anything that’s forced us to sit down and figure out these tough policies to put in place.”

There will be an “accountability” component of that law, Copeland-Hanzas added.

“Accountability means there would be a citizen right-of-action if after two or three or five years Vermont isn’t making progress towards meeting these goals as a state requirement,” she said. “There would be potential for Vermonters to say, ‘Nope, we demand that our state government is going to lead us to make these greenhouse gas reduction goals.'”

Michael Bielawski is a reporter for True North Reports. Send him news tips at and follow him on Twitter @TrueNorthMikeB.

Image courtesy of Michael Bielawski/TNR

25 thoughts on “Climate caucus meets again, but some ideas may lack buy-in from governor

  1. All but one of these folks were liberals. Only one Republican. Figures. We common people are SO TIRED of you using us as lab rats in your rush to be the first in the nation in every liberal idea being floated. You are supposed to be serving the people who elected you. You are instead serving the liberal agenda. Your ideas hurt the working poor and middle class. Chuck many of them into the lake.

  2. Sky is falling much? What did Chicken Little teach us – we are better off reading Mother Goose than listening to their unending lies, damn lies and statistics?

    Dem Party and Prog hangers-on including all who believe or promote ecofascism will become emblematic and textbook example as the new Flat Earthers – only believing the part of the picture they see and choose to accept from where they sit while dismissing there is anything they simply do not know or understand fully. And willing to indulge in mythology based on mistakes made from flawed science.

    Flanking selves with junk-science and the ‘scientists’ who believe this pure unadulterated bs which is based on computer modeling ‘studies’ performed by technocrats. They are babes lost in the woods and cannot see the forest for the trees – the blind leading the sighted.

    Excepts from 2016 Democrat Party Platform “Securing Environmental and Climate Justice” section
    Emphasis added
    “All corporations owe it to their shareholders to fully analyze and disclose the risks they face, including climate risk.

    *Those who fail to do so should be held accountable. Democrats also respectfully request the Department of Justice to investigate allegations of corporate fraud on the part of fossil fuel companies accused of misleading shareholders and the public on the scientific reality of climate change.*”

    What does this really mean and more importantly expose? An abject hatred for any and all who dare even disagree with their foolish belief system, sociopathic behavior and flawed mindset? That they are willing to overthrow the rule of law substituting it for a because-I-said-so authoritarian tinpot dictatorship rule of men practiced in monarchies? So assured of a Killary win, apparently quite comfortable commandeering DOJ to prosecute all who dare dismiss the cult of Clmate Alarmism for what it really is – ecofascism.

    And as such, personally quite comfortable noting that behind the smiling faces of the Dem party leaders is the purity of evil. So…not enough to halt a state House session, block traffic and subject sane normal ppl to their tyranny…but now demanding we all support their fascistic insanity? Uh huh.

    And to their ‘corporate responsibility’ bs artistry I’d like to see an investigation into solar panels and the destruction of the landscape quality and soil most specifically prime agricultural soils. And a real-world picture of how much these cultists are really ‘protecting the environment’ based on the carbon is necessary to buildout their newest glasspipe dream.

  3. These wasteful/expense-account-padding dog and pony shows are a travesty hiding behind the mantras of “climate change” and “doing something” and “making a difference” and “being a leader”.

    Did they bicycle to the meeting, take a bus, walked?

    The same entrenched bureaucrat and legislator RE folks, who already spent about $3 billion during the past 20 years.
    They have INCREASING STATE CO2 EMISSIONS to prove how ineffective their measures have been.
    Now they want even more money to implement their NEW agenda.

    Vote them out in 2020.
    Get rid of the entrenched, Shumlin-installed RE bureaucracy, Vermont’s very own DEEP STATE

    Vermont among the least transparent states in the US, right down there with
    The 10 least transparent are Connecticut ranking last, North Carolina ranked second from last, Vermont THIRD FROM LAST, Nebraska, New Mexico, Alaska, Missouri, New Jersey, Illinois, California and Michigan.

    The Copeland agenda would be just as ineffective, and would do next to nothing, except grow the state bureaucracy, and make Vermont even less competitive relative to other states, with people leaving, companies leaving or not even considering Vermont as a place for doing business, potholes and infrastructure decay everywhere, stagnant real wages, and mediocre test scores on education while spending the highest amount per student in the US.

    The list is very long.

    When is this un-American “government can do everything”idiocy finally going to stop?
    Who is going to finance it?
    What are they doing to make Vermont MORE attractive for business?

  4. The VT Transportation Department wish list, to be financed by CARBON TAXES, will lead to a big expansion of government intrusion on the transportation sector.
    It is totally inapplicable in RURAL Vermont, except Burlington, Montpelier, etc.
    The REST OF THE STATE would pay for it.

    The state will collect money from fuel dealers that have to buy a share of a limited supply of CO2 allotments at auction.
    Each year the allotment supply gets reduced, somewhat like a musical chair game, and the cost of allotments is bid higher and higher, just like a carbon tax.
    Fuel dealers merely will raise prices to cover their costs, and when their allotments are used up have to stop selling fuels.
    I wonder how that would work during a cold period.

    The state will use the money to make “investments” in mass transit.
    4-wheel drive EVs for the poor, not yet on the market at reasonable prices
    Electric buses, at $300,000 each, for the poor
    Heat pumps for the poor, energy savings $200/y, per VT-DPS survey
    Weatherizing for the poor
    Batteries for the poor
    Solar panels for the poor
    The list is long

    Blittersdorf’s ancient, claptrap, museum trains will be dusted off, at great expense, and declared a winner.
    All sorts of commercially dubious projects will be started with subsidies, and will be kept alive with subsidies

  5. A part of the CARBON TAX PROGRAM is to ultimately have several hundred thousand electric vehicles in Vermont.

    In New England, it takes a source energy (from mines/oil wells/gas wells) of 1.182 kWh/mile to have 0.456 kWh/mile arrive at the user meter, and to have 0.350 kWh/mile, DC, in the battery for a MIX of light duty electric vehicles.

    Any electricity FED to the NE grid has 322 g of CO2/kWh (per ISO-NE), equivalent to 346 g of CO2/kWh at the user meter, equivalent to 451 g of CO2/kWh in the battery.

    NOTE: ANY UPSTREAM CO2, about 17% in case of natural gas, IS IGNORED by ISO-NE, so 322 should become 322 x 1.17 = 377 g CO2/kWh, FED to grid, etc.

    Driving 12000 miles/y would require 12000 x 0.456 = 5472 kWh/y from the house meter (billed by GMP), or from a public charging station, and would emit 5472 x 346 x 1.17 = 221,518 g of CO2/y, or 4,879 lb of CO2/y.

    NOTE: Any UPSTREAM EMBEDDED CO2 (from mines/oil wells/gas wells) to make the materials (including for batteries), process them, make parts, assemble vehicles, transport them to dealers, etc., is ignored.

    NOTE: Any DOWNSTREAM CO2 to dispose/landfill, etc., old vehicles (including their batteries) is ignored.

    RE folks claiming EVs have no CO2 emissions are totally wrong.

    EVs have as much or more CO2 than an efficient gasoline vehicle, ON A LIFETIME BASIS.

  6. “The fact of the matter is we are still falling behind and that’s because these are aspirations, they are not requirements,” said Copeland-Hanzas said.

    THE DEMS WANT LEGISLATIVE MANDATES TO SET UP GOVERNMENT PROGRAMS to have power and control forever, because the climate will never be controlled. They will latch onto any legislative vehicle to get it.

    The carbon tax, scare-mongering meetings are held to soften up the people, scare them.

    The costs would be at least $1 BILLION per year for Vermont to have all of its primary energy, not just electrical, from renewables and efficiency and have low CO2, as estimated by the ENERGY ACTION NETWORK in 2015. See URL.

    Biofuels are far from zero CO2 fuels.

    Burning forests is not an option, because Vermont is already over harvesting on the forest acreage that is being harvested.

  7. Each day Nature increases and decreases the temperature of the air above Vermont.
    The below calculations show Nature’s energy addition vs Vermont’s primary energy consumption during a 12-hour period.
    Any RE activity related to Vermont’s primary energy consumption would have near zero climate impact.
    “Fighting climate change” is chasing ghosts and fata morgana mirages, which I have been saying for more than 15 years.

    The specific heat of dry air at constant pressure is 0.24 Btu/lb/F, i.e., adding 0.24 Btu to 1 lb of air will increase its temperature by 1F.
    The weight of dry air at 32 F is 0.0807 lb/cubic foot, and at 60F is 0.0764 lb/cubic foot
    The average weight is 0.0786 lb/cubic foot
    It takes 0.24 x 0.786 x (60 – 32) = 0.528 Btu/lb to increase the temperature from 32F to 60F in 12 hours.

    Vermont’s surface area is 9623 sq miles, or 268.3 billion sq ft
    Air layer height 400 ft
    Air volume is 107,310 billion cu ft
    Weight of air layer is 107,310 x 0.0786 = 8429.2 billion lb

    Heat added by Nature in 12 hours is 8348.7 x 0.528 = 4449.4 billion Btu

    Vermont primary energy consumption is 140 trillion Btu/y, or 191.65 billion Btu in 12 hours

    Vermont primary energy consumption in 12 hours is 100*191.95/4449.4 = 4.31% of what Nature adds in 12 hours.

    Any RE activity related to Vermont primary energy consumption likely would slightly reduce the 4.31%. See Note.

    “Fighting climate change” is chasing ghosts and Fata Morgana mirages, which I have been saying for more than 15 years.

    If air layer were thicker, Nature heat added would be greater and the percentage would be less.
    If air temperature increase were less, Nature heat added would be less and the percentage would be greater

    • Many thanks for all the info…more than an eyeopener – highlights the details providing the big-picture analysis…keep em coming Mr Post 🙂

  8. The end result of this nonsense will be more and more Vermonters switching to burning green or partially seasoned wood in old inefficient stoves in order to avoid higher fuel oil and propane costs. Will the control freaks in Montpelier outlaw woodburning also?

  9. This “ Climate caucus “ is a softer name for what they really are. These people are modern day Nazis. Yes that’s right, Nazis
    They’re fascist, who want control over your money, and your every day life. These people are out rewrite the constitution, and remove most of your guaranteed rights.
    Think about it, they made a strong push to control healthcare in Vermont, They made a major milestone in step one of grabbing guns, they are doing an excellent job of ensuring the masses rely on government, and now they soon will take control of your ways of transportation by pushing a ban on combustion engines
    Again Vermont citizens rights are being taken away peice by piece until totalitarian, communism is established.
    When will Vermonters say enough is enough??

  10. “Pearson, addressing Kaufman’s concerns, replied, “I don’t think it makes sense for us to debate global warming or the climate crisis”. Typical climate alarmist refusal to debate, because there is no global warming or climate crisis & CO2 is not a pollutant.
    These alarmist politicians are clueless.
    Heat pumps are glorified electric water heaters that cost a fortune to run in cold weather.
    Electric cars are not practical in rural VT and too expensive for most, even with the subsidies. Their range is limited, batteries expensive to replace, and a recycling problem. If or when electric cars become prevalent in VT it will probably cost more to charge the batteries than to fill up with gas.

    • Rob,
      You forgot the idiocy of $300,000 electric school buses, courtesy of the wasreful RE fools on the House Environment and Energy Committee.

      Those outrageously expensive buses will wear out way before any payback, and will not reduce CO2 on a lifetime basis; idiotic RE feel-good to the nth degree.

      That is just one more idiot measure perpetrated on the impoverished Vermont people during the past 20 years.

      All these measures did not reduce the state CO2, but INCREASED the state CO2, after spending about $3 billion on RE measures during the past 20 years

    • The moderators refused to allow Jeff Kaufman explain his concerns, give factual information to demonstrate the false premise that CO2 is a pollutant, nor rebut Mr. Pearsons attempt to stifle Dr Kaufman’s input. They cut him off saying we have to hear from others, though he had spoken for less than 1 minute. The public meeting at the Essex Junction Police Dept was advertised as “opened to the public”. “All viewpoints welcomed”.
      Not only were not all viewpoints welcomed, only climate solutions caucus viewpoints were welcomed, only these viewpoints were allowed. There were no others who expressed a desire to speak against their proposals. Thirty to 1. And they contended there was no time to hear the viewpoint of the 1. At the end of the meeting they tried to leave. Kaufman, whose raised hand had been ignored for some time, said I’ve been very patient. You cut me off before I could make my point. I’d like to make my point”. Marybeth Redmond asked “can you make it in 1 minute” ? While others spoke for prolonged periods, some several times, and some presenters for over 30 minutes expressing their viewpoint, I was restricted to two one minute segments separated by over 1 1/2 hours.

      Before they finally cut me off I was able to explain: that CO2 is not a pollutant. It’s only 0.04% of the atmosphere (Oxygen is 21%). CO2 contributes a small degree towards the greenhouse effect. The biggest contributor to the greenhouse effect is water vapor which is 60 to 90% of green house gas warming. Compared to CO2, there’s no contest. CO2, is plant food. It is critical to plants which do well as its concentration increases. Our soils become moist, animal life is healthier. Curtains!!!

      I wished to add to that thread (there are very many more just as important), that CO2 has been as high as 4000 ppm. No I’ll effects known. Today, its only 400 ppm. Most of the Earths history has seen average CO2 higher than today. Clearly, not due to humans! Clearly, no climate nor global catastrophe. On the other hand, during the last 4 ice ages CO2 has dropped dangerously low, to 180 ppm.
      That’s a problem because at 150 ppm plants can no longer survive. Plant life goes EXTINCT. If plants die, animals die.
      Given these facts, who would want to voluntarily try to reduce CO2, if humans actually had the ability to influence it significantly? CO2 high, good. CO2 low, bad, in simple terms. And the entire Climate “Solutions” Caucus is based on taxing CO2 emmissions, punishing people for emitting CO2, trying to change the culture to reduce CO2 emissions, trying to lower CO2, as if we could. Knowing the evidence is CO2 is good!

      Mr Pearson, this issue deserves plenty of further discussion, and debate, if necessary. Vermonters deserve to know the truth, before they’re scammed out of their hard earned money and way of life as they know it.

      Want to know the real FACTS

      The top 25 climate graphics from Gregory Wrighstone’s “Inconvenient Facts: the science that Al Gore doesn’t want you to know “.

  11. If these climate do gooders would spend as much time dealing with fiscal needs (as noted in the first article) as they do chasing the climate tail, they just might find some answers. This whole climate debate is classic wheel spinning 101.

  12. There is a little more to it; they want the oil companies and big business in general out of VT, and will use any means possible to accomplish same, just as Shumlin did w/ Vt Yankee. (Wal Mart may be next)
    It is about money, yes, but also control of business. They could not control VT Yankee so they fixed it so it did not make sense for them to operate here even though the feds had given that plant another 20 year license to operate. They cannot control the oil companies so it will be fixed so they too will pull out.
    Even though we have major problems w/ Gov Scott, everyone who wants to reside in Vt, needs to get behind him on this issue. He needs to hear from EVERYONE who cares not to freeze to death in a dark room. Affordibility in this D/P non-sense is not on the radar screen, so it will be up to the state to take care of those who cannot comply with GREEN. Vicious circle that is totally un-warranted and not needed.
    These “Greeners” need to be sent back to where they came from. They are from away and need to be sent away. Native Vermonters who believe this hype I believe can be counted on one hand.
    Conserve and save where it makes sense, but up-ending the whole state for some pie in the sky non-sense is not going to save us from anything, it would be just the opposite.

  13. TCI’s core funding comes from…drum roll… the Rockefeller Brothers Fund (cymbal crash). The Rockefeller Brothers Fund is directly behing TCI, and RGGI, in fact all the anti-carbon policy we are seeing. This information comes directly from TCI’s website. The Rockefellers drive public policy towards their pre-positioned investments through their “philanthropy”.

  14. Pearson, just another transplant trying to save our state. Vermont has “is ” one of the
    cleanest states in the union, Progressives are always trying to save us from nothing.

    If Pearson really cared, maybe he should go back to Maine and save the coastline, now
    that would be something……………

    Pearson, another Chittenden County Progressive trying to save the state from ruin, the
    only way to save ” Our ” state from ruin, is to remove the real toxins and that would be
    remove progressive democRATs from our statehouse……

  15. “Pearson, addressing Kaufman’s concerns, replied, “I don’t think it makes sense for us to debate global warming or the climate crisis”. YES, IT IS GREATLY URGENT TO DEBATE THE PREMISES ON WHICH VERMONTERS WILL BE SUBJECTED TO HIGHER ENERGY COSTS AND SEE THEIR FREEDOMS ERODED BY LEGISLATIVE MANDATES.

    This fake climate hysteria played out in Maine in 2008:
    “Whereas, in the judgment of the Legislature, these facts create an emergency within the meaning of the Constitution of Maine and require the following legislation as immediately necessary for the preservation of the public peace, health and safety; now, therefore,” the Emergency Wind Power Bill pushed by Governor Baldacci and enacted by unanimous consensus by the Maine Legislature in April 2008, set a goal of 2700 MW of land based turbines by 2020, equivalent to 350 miles of Maine’s mountain ridges scalped and blasted for turbines.
    Of course, there was no emergency in Maine. Maine’s emissions, like those of Vermont are negligible. Nothing Maine did or would do would make a difference to the climate in Maine or elsewhere. Luckily Maine’s next Governor, Republican Paul LePage, put the brakes on wind power and for the next 8 years few wind projects were built. Now, Democrat Governor Janet Mills is intent on resuming the destruction of Maine’s landscape for no good reason.

    In July 2015, I was attending the Comprehensive Energy Plan (CEP) meeting in Middlebury presented by then Vermont Climate Director Energy Director Asa Hopkins. I asked him what was the annual tonnage of Vermont’s CO2 emissions (they are the lowest in the country except for the District of Columbia). He told me he did not know off the top of his head, so of course he could not answer to my next two questions: how much emissions would the CEP reduce and what percentage of global emissions would that represent. In fact, then PUC head Chris Reccia later admitted that the “green deal” in Vermont was about jobs and the economy – not emissions.

    In 2019 US Rep. Alexandra Ocasio Cortez’s then Chief of Staff Chakrabarti had this to say about the Green New Deal, ““The interesting thing about the Green New Deal,” he said, “is it wasn’t originally a climate thing at all. Because we really think of it as a how-do-you-change-the-entire-economy thing.”
    It is time to put the brakes on Vermont’s climate hysteria. This is nothing more than Democrat/Progressives taking increasing control of the pocketbooks and liberties of Vermont citizens. Thank you Dr. Jeffrey Kauffman. Monique Thurston, MD, retired.

    • We,need you in leadership positions. chakrabarti isn’t special huh? Main guy in Bernie’s first quest for power. Have you seen videos about him? Yuri Bezmanov?

      science and numbers don’t fly well with their plans….

  16. Read The Daily Wire: 9 things you need to know about the climate change hoax. It will open your eyes a bit.

  17. More Democrat “Hog Wash”. Why is it that only the Dems seem to be totally engrossed with the idea that the world will end if we “Don’t stop our wicked ways”. Did someone forget to tell them that the climate has been changing for MILLIONS of years? We have been hearing the same doom & gloom scenario for the past 40 years….Guess what? We are still here.

    • If we make the distinction of American loving democrats and the others, be they socialists, communists, progressives, new world order wannabe’s (but then I repeat myself) we canperhaps be more accurate and give people a place to land.

      We can give people a place to heal and join us together in this wonderful experiment called the United states.

      Many have been indoctrinated, thinking they have a great education. Not only that,it’s been taught by OUR schools for two generations now. It’s really not the dems, follow it bAck and it’s the United nations….that have really taken over the party, and effectually taken over Vermont, seriously, all our planning and government actions today, come from a document signed in the 90’s by Bush, in Brazil, “the New world order”

    • Great comment and yeah they have a corner on climate alarmism as it fits nicely into their sad and failing agenda.

  18. Pearson carries water for the. New world order.

    We could easily have affordable electric cars, relax the regulations, allow a cottage industry to blossom in Vermont!

    They could care less about the environment, they only want your money. Somehow give me all your money will be able to solve all our problems. How convenient.

    We’ve got a serious problem with socialists in this state. If we give all our money to the United Nations will we be great country then? Will we be a great state? Utter garbage.

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