EAI: What’s in the Global Warming Solutions Act?

This summary of the Global Warming Solutions act is from the Ethan Allen Institute.


In 2020, the Vermont legislature passed the Global Warming Solutions Act (GWSA) (Act 153) over the veto of Governor Phil Scott. The basic crux of the law mandates that Vermont must lower its greenhouse gas emissions to 26% below 2005 levels by 2025, 40% below 1990 levels by 2030, and 80% below by 2050. The GWSA created the Vermont Climate Council, a 23 member board, to come up with a plan to do this and present it to the legislature by December 2021. If, moving forward, Vermont fails to meet these mandates, or fails to follow the recommendations of the Council, the GWSA grants legal standing to anyone, citizen or not, to sue the state and claim attorneys’ fees at Vermont taxpayers expense.

To see how your legislators voted on key issues related to the GWSA click on the links below:

Senate Overrides Gov. Scott’s Veto of the Global Warming Solutions Act, 22-8, 9/22/2020.
House Overrides Gov. Scott’s Veto of the Global Warming Solutions Act  103-47, 9/17/2020
House Allocates $586,000 for Global Warming Solutions Act (100-42), 9/11/2020
Senate Passes Revised Global Warming Solutions Act (23-5), 6/26/2020
House Passes Global Warming Solutions Act, (105-37), 2/26/2020
House Ducks Responsibility to Vote on Controversial CO2 Plan, (44-99), 2/20/2020

Key Elements of the Climate Action Plan

The Climate Action Plan in entirety

Summary of Climate Action Plan

In order to meet the mandates laid out by the GWSA, the Climate Council has put forward a basket of proposals, some of which can be implemented via rule through the existing authority of the Agency of Natural Resources, and some of which require legislative approval and or changes in law. Some of the key elements in the Climate Action Plan include:

  • Mandate that Vermont join the Transportation Climate Initiative (TCI). TCI is a multi-state carbon tax scheme on gasoline and diesel designed to increase the cost of motor fuels by forcing dealers to purchase “credits” in order to sell these products. The cost of the credits would be passed along to drivers, and the number of credits available for purchase would shrink each year, driving up their cost and decreasing the overall supply of motor fuels. The first year cost of TCI to Vermont drivers is estimated at $20 million on top of existing taxes, and that number would increase annually.
  • “Clean Heat Standard”. This is a state-only version of TCI for home heating fuel, mandating that wholesalers of heating oil, propane, natural gas, and kerosene purchase “credits” in order to sell their product to Vermonters. The cost of these credits will, of course, be passed along to consumers driving up the cost to heat our homes.
  • Weatherize 90,000 Homes by 2030. There are a number of problems with this target. First is the cost, which could be in the billions. (One council member cited $10,000 per home, or just under $1 billion, and another cited a total estimate of $2 billion.) There is also the fact that the labor force and other necessary resources do not currently exist in Vermont at a scale that would make the timeframe for this mandate realistic.
  • 42,000 EVs on the Road by 2025, 170,000 by 2030. Between now and 2025, 1 out of every 4 new vehicle purchases must be of an electric vehicle. As with the weatherization mandate, this runs into feasibility issues in regard to cost and supply chain. There are currently less than 5000 EVs registered in Vermont today, almost all of which involved some level of taxpayer funded subsidy. The subsidies necessary to increase the number of EV purchases by this degree would be in the multiple tens of millions. Moreover, even if 40,000 Vermonters could be coerced into buying EVs, the infrastructure (electricity generation, public charging stations, residential charging ability) to support them does not exist nor, again, does the money and labor force exist to build it within this timeframe. An additional unintended consequence of this policy would be decreased gas and diesel tax revenue flowing into the Transportation Fund, which goes to maintain our roads and bridges — another cost that will have to be made up by the taxpayer.
  • Ban Fossil Fuels for Cooking & Heating. No more natural gas, heating oil, and propane for cooking (after 2030), or for water heating (after 2035) or home heating (after 2040). Property owners will be responsible for retrofitting their homes and businesses with electric options for these necessities, though the Council recommends some subsidies be available at taxpayer expense. This provision will be enforced through a “time of sale” provision, meaning that a property that is not in compliance with this mandate cannot be legally sold.
  • Ban on Sale of New Internal Combustion Engine Vehicles by 2035.
  • 50% Fewer Cow “Emissions” by 2030.
  • 100% Renewable Energy Mandate by 2030. The plan also calls for ramping up existing regulations on electricity — requiring Vermont source 100% of our electricity as a state from renewable or carbon-free sources by 2030

Enforcement Mechanisms

  • Clean Heat Standard
  • Rental Registry/Mandates
  • Contractor Regulations
  • “Time of Sale” Provisions for Property Owners
  • Feebates on High Mileage Vehicles.

Unintended (or not cared about) Consequences

  • Thousands of Jobs Lost.
  • Everything must be electrified. But heavily subsidized wind turbines and solar electricity farms will never generate enough to meet the demand. Whether our power grid can transmit that huge amount of electricity shipped in from somewhere else is extremely doubtful. Meanwhile, the utilities are forced to buy power from net metered solar panels at or near the retail cost of power, leaving other electricity consumers to pay the utility’s cost of poles, wires, maintenance, and profits. 

Impact on Climate and Future Weather Events


Image courtesy of state of Vermont

7 thoughts on “EAI: What’s in the Global Warming Solutions Act?

  1. How to control the world through monetary means of monetary control, based upon a lie.

    That would be my guess on what is in it. Let’s pass It ,so we can see what’s on it!

  2. The first rule should be to use as little energy per capita as possible
    That rule would save money no matter what the price per gallon, or per kWh

    Vermont should have a statewide code to have all NEW buildings be highly insulated and sealed, and have very low total energy (Btu/square foot) for heating, cooling and electricity.

    R60 roof
    R40 walls
    R20 basement
    R10 doors
    R6 windows, triple-glazing
    Air-to-air heat recovery unit

    I have been saying this for 20 years, but nothing meaningful has been done.

    That would be the rational way, i.e., putting the horse before the cart.

    People who live in such houses automatically become more conscious of other ways to reduce energy, such as having GROUND SOURCE heat pumps, and having solar panels, and having very high-mileage vehicles, such as 54-mpg Toyota hybrids

    Those measures would reduce significant quantities of CO2.

    Site-specific, custom-designed, grid-scale battery systems operate 8766 hours per year, and cost at least $600/kWh, delivered as AC, per US EIA.

    Those prices will not decrease much for at least the next 5 to 10 years, per US EIA

    About 65% of capacity can be used to achieve 15-year lives

    Such battery systems are entirely different from the battery packs in electric cars, which operate about 700 hours per year, last about 8 years, and cost about $10,000 for an 60 kWh battery, or $165/kWh.

    That cost may become $125/kWh with more mass production in future years.

    This comment likely will not be read by the House Environment and Energy Committee, and GWSA Committee, because they get all the energy directions and answers from self-serving entities, such as Energy Action Network, VPIRG, VEIC, etc.

    In fact, GWSA should be required to reveal which entities provide inputs on various measures
    All meetings with such entities should be open to the public, and be part of the public record.

    That way, energy announcements, which imply future coercion, incentives and taxes, would not come out of the blue.

    Each measure should be costed and time-lined, year to year basis.

    • Willem Post, your comments concerning new construction requirements make sense for energy savings;however, who can afford the initial cost? Only those who are well heeled, not your average working Vermonters. How about coming up with the cost of a two bedroom house built to your spec? What would the income requirement be for a mortgage?

      • Lester,

        Similar requirements have been in force in some EU countries for 30 years.

        My middle-class cousins in the Netherlands live in such houses.

        One of them lives on the 9th floor of a 12-story condo tower, entirely heated and cooled with ground source heat pumps.

        The coils are under the parking lot and under landscaped areas around the tower. That building is 35 years old.

        Vermont is so far behind, it is beyond utterly pathetic, and embarrassing.

        This is entirely the fault of subsidy-chasing RE folks, who bribe Legislators to pass RE bennies for their companies.

        GSWA is more of the same, but on steroids

        The imagination of the Committee folks is near-zero, because they get their inputs from self-serving RE folks.

  3. I can’t say how many of those mandates I intend to break for the rest of my life.
    I’m extremely responsible about my own energy use, and don’t need any one else telling how to do it better. I don’t need Daddy telling my what to do.
    These are ‘dependence’ not ‘interdependence’ – and is doomed to fail, and the people who will suffer will never be the ones enacting it.
    Once again the White Tower pretends its being good, while lining their pockets with disaster capitalism, of their own creations, literally.
    Vermont independence is gone with this plan, if there are any right left us in this CCP coup.
    In situ.
    I guess I better practice my kowtows.
    Gonna have nothing and like it.

  4. This article should be made mandatory reading for all Vermonters.

    It is doubtful that many Vermonters have any idea of what the GWSA entails and how it will impact them. It is the State of Vermont’s responsibility to educate and insure that all Vermonters are made aware of what is coming with the GWSA and its enormous and unsettling impact.

    To achieve informing Vermonters of the dramatic impact the GWSA will have, the State of Vermont should be mandated to distribute copies of this EAI paper to all Vermonters. Additionally: The EAI paper should be made part of the public and private school curricula, to be taught by EAI trained educators, so that all students are made aware of the impact of GWSA and Public Service Announcements be presented by all media outlining the impact of GWSA for a minimum of five years.

    The EAI should be compensated for use of it intellectual property by the State in an amount and manner consistent with what other consultants working for the legislature and Climate Council on the GWSA have been paid.

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