Flemming: California emission goals lead to blackouts — could Vermont be next?

By David Flemming

The progressive think tank Energy Innovation reports that California “is not on track to achieve its climate goals. Compared to historical trends, California will need to more than triple the pace of emissions reductions to hit its 2030 target of reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions 40 percent below 1990 levels by 2030.”

David Flemming, policy analyst at the Ethan Allen Institute

And this despite enduring an electric blackout in 2020 and narrowly avoiding a blackout this month, due to heavier reliance on solar.

California’s 2006 “Global Warming Solutions Act, AB 32, was a landmark program in the struggle to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Up until 2006, the United States was the largest emitter of carbon dioxide emissions in the world, and California was the second highest state in terms of total greenhouse gas emissions. California has operated under a Global Warming Solutions Act which predates Vermont’s GWSA by 14 years.

“Under AB 32, California was required to reduce statewide emissions to 1990 levels by 2020. It also required that California greenhouse gas emissions be reduced to 80 percent below 1990 levels by 2050.” (Vermont also requires that emissions are reduced to 80% below 1990 levels by 2050).

“California met its goal to reach 1990 emissions levels by 2020 four years ahead of schedule. In 2016, lawmakers passed SB 32 …  (which) in requires the California Air Resources Board to ensure the state’s greenhouse gas emissions are reduced to 40% below the 1990 levels by 2030” (Vermont’s goal is identical). They lament that “California hasn’t enacted any transformative climate bills over the past 4 years” which they ascribe to fossil fuel lobbying groups.

California Gov. Gavin Newsom has recently suggested accelerating the GWSA 2030 mandate from 40 percent below 1990 levels to 55 percent. After witnessing how Vermont took inspiration from California for the GWSA, it seems likely that Vermont’s Legislature could accelerate its emissions mandate at a similar pace. Which means more money from Vermonters pockets spent on fueling their cars and heating their homes. And an ever increasing chance of electric blackouts.

David Flemming is a policy analyst for the Ethan Allen Institute. Reprinted with permission from the Ethan Allen Institute Blog.

Image courtesy of WIkimedia Commons

One thought on “Flemming: California emission goals lead to blackouts — could Vermont be next?

  1. Yes, please. Need to get this passed in the next biennium, preferably before Town Meeting Day 2023.
    We need a new board to supplant the “Vermont Climate Council”, with power to assess civil fines and with an investigative division and 24 hour tip line. By enacting Motor Vehicle inspection standards, this board could begin barring automobiles and trucks with IC engines, say built prior to 2010, by 2024 from Vermont’s roads.
    Domestic heating systems should likewise be forced into compliance, preferably by regulations banning the sale of repair parts, filters and enacting an emissions standard with annual inspection to purchase fuel.
    Likewise, Efficiency Vermont should be named sole source for approved heating and water heating equipment, lighting and domestic appliances, with a further ban on replacement parts for appliances more than 3 years old.
    As these items are purchased by Vermont consumers, an additional efficiency tax must be applied, starting at 12% for low-income and marginalized groups- progressively increasing to 36% for the wealthy. The revenue from these taxes and fees should be allocated for payment of lawsuits filed under the GWSA Act 163 requirements.

    Yes, sarcasm. However, the above is possible and was codified by Acts 168 and 153, The Global Warming Solutions Acts. The legislature overwhelmingly endorsed an ideal, then left it to a unelected Board to enact rules for compliance. We as Vermont residents, taxpayers and voters have no say in the matter- unless as voters we elect responsible legislators to repeal these Acts. Vermont will follow California over the precipice, with our only recourse being the ballot box. Please choose wisely in November.

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