Flemming: Climate activists one-up each other in recommendations to climate council

By David Flemming

The penultimate Climate Action Plan Virtual Public Engagement Event last Thursday was full of drama, despair and even discussion of rationing to beat climate change.

The event averaged around 100 online participants, presumably from all different parts of Vermont. Of those who spoke, the spectrum of alarm ranged from “we’re all going to die” to “if we spend lots of money, and drastically change how we live, we might be able to survive.”

The hosts from the Climate Council went through a slide deck regarding the purpose of Vermont’s climate action plan; the Zoom chat feature was used to relay questions from the audience. After 15 minutes of opening questions that the hosts received from the Zoom group chat, the hosts released a poll with three questions:

  1. “Where do you live?” The most popular answer was Central Vermont (Addison, Washington and Orange counties), with 37% of participants. A disproportionate number, considering these 3 counties only make up 20% of Vermont.
  2. “What climate related issues are you concerned about?” (Participants could choose multiple options). “Changes to forests, wetlands and ecosystems” was the most popular issue of 73% of respondents. If these climate activists are worried about changes to ecosystems, perhaps they should direct their ire to the Climate Council itself, which just last month, said their proposals “may not be good for the ecosystem.” Acres of solar panels and wind turbines would do that, as Rob Roper recently highlighted.
  3. Have you been personally affected by climate change? 70% of respondents said “Yes,” 12% said “No” and 18% were “Unsure.”

Once the poll was completed, the hosts placed us into Zoom breakout rooms, of which I’m guessing there were about 20. My group of five began with a mostly civil conversation, at least until I mentioned that I was from the Ethan Allen Institute. At that point, someone Zoom was only able to identify as Tad started accusing me of “being part of the problem” and promoting climate change skepticism. I replied that I agreed that climate change was a problem, but not something Vermont could not try to tackle by itself.

A breakout room on Zoom.

After that breakout rooms ended, we were invited to write down our group’s thoughts in the Draft Climate Action sections of a Google doc.

Some of the responses I found amusing: “Low-carbon products and processes: Offset travel of food. Pineapples do not grow in VT!”

Some had nuance: “Always a tradeoff with renewable energy. I don’t think there is a perfect energy source. A lot of fossil fuel is needed to create the items needed to get off of fossil fuels. Allocating the fuel needed to do this isn’t being talked about.”

Others were downright alarming, when the participants talked about a crisis that would go for over 50 years. Naturally, rationing energy was the next logical step. “Everyone rationed during WWII — all income levels. This is a much bigger crisis and we are not even talking about rationing. That would level the playing field about what people can use. Consider carbon rationing.”

Two related comments concerned the lack of representativeness in the meeting. “We need to ensure that we bring everyone along — the attendees of this meeting aren’t indicative of the population that is being most affected.” Clearly not, since a majority of Vermonters are against proposals such as the carbon tax. A related comment: “90% of the people at this meeting aren’t going to be living with the consequences.” And isn’t that the truth? In the intended context, the speaker likely meant that the audience (which skewed older) at this event weren’t going to be dealing with the worse effects of climate change.

But one could just as easily say that many of these same people will die before the effects of the Global Warming Solutions Act are fully realized — as in, figuring out how to reduce 90% of Vermont’s carbon emissions by 2050 without creating massive energy poverty. Many of those most strident GWSA supporters won’t be around to find out.

The final public engagement event will be tonight at 6pm, no registration required.

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

15 thoughts on “Flemming: Climate activists one-up each other in recommendations to climate council

  1. Yes there is climate change. Perhaps accelerated by humans, perhaps not. The climate is always changing. If you read your history; the Aryan migration into India, the Mongol hoards invading the west, the Celtic settlement of western Europe; all brought on by climate change as well the Mayan civilization fall. When one of these silly ‘neo-environmentalist start proselytizing to me about our demise all I can say is ‘tell this to China’. This tiny little dot on the globe called Vermont is irrelevant to the coal based industrial might of China with their one point three billion human population and I’m fairly certain they’re not separating their garbage and protesting hydroelectric and nuclear plants to be replaced with ‘green’ energy. They’re not allowed to do that.

    Yes we are depleting earth resources. Nuclear energy is a viable clean source (as long as it’s monitored correctly) Solar has it’s place. Wind is good but I’m hearing all these ‘Green’ hippies living in the hills around here don’t want it because they make too much noise. So just what do they want?

    I find the politics in this state get very silly and not very well thought out.

    A little knowledge is a dangerous thing.

  2. I would think that these “Public Engagement”exercises are just that- exercises. The ability to reach consensus over an emotional issue ( Factually, man-made climate change is unproven) will not be achieved. This is a political and emotional debate, where zealots of climate change will eventually eat their own- similar to the current events in the US congress. You can rest assured that the edicts to be revealed December 1 are drafted, talking points rehearsed and lobbyists hired. The Vermont legislature will put on a show when it reconvenes in January, it’s political theatre- Liberal Vermont style.
    For a look at the future edicts, Vt Dept. of Public Service has this report:
    https://publicservice.vermont.gov/sites/dps/files/documents/Pubs_Plans_Reports/Legislative_Reports/2021%20Annual%20Energy%20Report%20Final.pdf
    This won’t be cheap, but Hey- Vermont will be first!

  3. EXCERPT from:
    HIGH COSTS OF WIND, SOLAR, AND BATTERY SYSTEMS IN US NORTHEAST
    https://www.windtaskforce.org/profiles/blogs/high-costs-of-wind-sol

    This article presents the all-in cost of wind, solar and battery systems in the US Northeast.
    Table 1 shows the all-in cost of wind and solar are much greater than reported by the media, etc.

    Much of the cost is shifted from Owners of these systems to taxpayers and ratepayers, and added to government debts

    MINIMUM ANNUAL CARRYING COST OF ANY ENERGY SYSTEM

    Simplified Mortgage Method

    This method can be applied to Electric Vehicles, Heat Pumps, Electric Buses, Wind Systems, Solar Systems, Battery Systems, etc.

    The minimum annual carrying cost of a house, or an energy system, is “paying the mortgage”.
    With regard to a house, all other costs, such as real estate taxes, heating, cooling, maintenance, etc., are in addition.

    An energy system must have annual revenues = “Paying the mortgage” + “All other costs”
    Any shortage of revenues must be made up by subsidies.

    The less an energy system is able to “pay for itself”, the more the subsidies.
    Subsidies can be reductions in the upfront turnkey capital costs
    Subsidies can be reductions of some items of “All other costs”
    Subsidies can be paying for the electricity production in excess of market prices

    A house, after paying the mortgage, likely is worth more than in Year 1.
    However, wind, solar, and battery systems have useful service lives of about 20, 25, and 15 years, respectively.
    Thereafter, they still perform at lesser outputs for some time, but their financial value is near zero.

  4. EXCERPT from:
    WORLD AND US PRIMARY ENERGY CONSUMPTION AND CAPITAL COST
    https://www.windtaskforce.org/profiles/blogs/world-total-energy-con

    World energy consumption is projected to increase to 736 quads in 2040 from 575 quads in 2015, an increase of 28%, according to the US Energy Information Administration, EIA.
    See URL and click on PPT to access data, click on to page 4 of PowerPoint
    https://www.eia.gov/outlooks/ieo/

    Most of this growth is expected to come from countries not in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, OECD, and especially from countries where demand is driven by strong economic growth, particularly in Asia.

    Non-OECD Asia, which includes China and India, accounted for more than 60% of the world’s total increase in energy consumption from 2015 through 2040.

    PARIS AGREEMENTS

    China, India, and other developing Asian countries, and Africa, and Middle and South America, need to use low-cost energy, such as coal, to be competitive. They would not have signed up for “Paris”, if they had not been allowed to be more or less exempt from the Paris agreements

    Obama agreed to commit the US to the Paris agreements, i.e., be subject to its financial and other obligations for decades.
    However, he never submitted the commitment to the US Senate for ratification, as required by the US Constitution.
    Trump rescinded the commitment. It became effective 3 years later, one day after the US presidential elections on November 3, 2020.

    If the US had not left “Paris”, a UN Council likely would have determined a level of renewable energy, RE, spending, say $500 billion/y, for distributing to various poorer countries by UN bureaucrats.
    The Council would have assessed OECD members, likely in proportion to their GDPs.
    The US and Europe would have been assessed at 100 to 150 billion dollars/y each.
    The non-OECD countries likely would continue to be more or less exempt from paying for the Paris agreements.

  5. EXCERPT from:

    POOR ECONOMICS AND MINIMAL CO2 REDUCTION OF ELECTRIC VEHICLES IN NEW ENGLAND
    https://www.windtaskforce.org/profiles/blogs/poor-economics-of-elec

    This article describes the efficiency of electric vehicles, EVs, and their charging loss, when charging at home and on-the-road, and the economics, when compared with efficient gasoline vehicles.

    In this article,

    Total cost of an EV, c/mile = Operating cost, c/mile + Owning cost, c/mile, i.e., amortizing the difference of the MSRPs of an EV versus an equivalent, efficient gasoline vehicle; no options, no destination charge, no sales tax, no subsidies.

    CO2 reduction of equivalent vehicles, on a lifetime, A-to-Z basis = CO2 emissions of an efficient gasoline vehicle, say 30 to 40 mpg – CO2 emissions of an EV

    SUMMARY

    Real-World Concerns About the Economics of EVs

    It may not be such a good idea to have a proliferation of EVs, because of:

    1) Their high initial capital costs; about 50% greater than equivalent gasoline vehicles.
    2) The widespread high-speed charging facilities required for charging “on the road”.
    3) The loss of valuable time when charging “on the road”.
    4) The high cost of charging/kWh, plus exorbitant penalties, when charging “on-the-road”.

  6. EXCERPT from:

    ELECTRIC TRANSIT AND SCHOOL BUS SYSTEMS REDUCE LITTLE CO2, ARE NOT COST-EFFECTIVE
    https://www.windtaskforce.org/profiles/blogs/electric-bus-systems-l

    China has made electric buses and EVs a priority in urban areas to reduce excessive air pollution, due to: 1) coal-fired power plants, and 2) increased vehicle traffic.

    The US has much less of a pollution problem than China, except in its larger urban areas.
    The US uses much less coal, more domestic natural gas, and CO2-free nuclear is still around.

    New England has a pollution problem in its southern urban areas.
    Vermont has a minor pollution problem in Burlington and a few other urban areas.

    RE folks want to “Electrify Everything”; an easily uttered slogan

    It would require:

    – Additional power plants, such as nuclear, wind, solar, hydro, bio
    – Additional grid augmentation/expansion to connect wind and solar systems, and to carry the loads for EVs and heat pumps
    – Additional battery systems to store midday solar output surges for later use, i.e., DUCK-curve management.
    – Additional centralized, command/control/orchestrating (turning off/on appliances, heat pumps, EVs, etc.) by utilities to avoid overloading distribution and high voltage electric grids regarding:

    1) Charging times of EVs and operating times of heat pumps, and major appliances
    2) Demands of commercial/industrial businesses

  7. EXCERPT:

    HEAT PUMPS ARE MONEY LOSERS IN MY VERMONT HOUSE, AS THEY ARE IN ALMOST ALL NEW ENGLAND HOUSES
    https://www.windtaskforce.org/profiles/blogs/heat-pumps-are-money-l

    I installed three heat pumps by Mitsubishi, rated 24,000 Btu/h at 47F, Model MXZ-2C24NAHZ2, each with 2 heads, each with remote control; 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

  8. Bernies $3.5 TRILLION is an initial down payment for many decades of CLIMATE FIGHTING (tilting at wind mills)?
    Oh, no, no, no!

    The real purpose is to increase existing government programs, and to create new government programs to REMAKE the US into a CENTRALLY MANAGED, COMMAND/CONTROL entity, as Bernie has been striving for all his life.

    Dem/Progs will be running these existing and new programs, which will provide career opportunities for many “Dem/Progs-in-Government”.

    Dem/Progs will be spreading themselves throughout all departments of government, federal, state and local, including in the election centers that count the votes to achieve whatever outcome they like.
    The Republican Party will be toast.
    That is the true, Un-American swamp.
    Dislodging them, en masse, in nearly impossible, because they made laws to prohibit it.

    The government programs will be used to bribe the largely naive inhabitants of Dem/Prog-controlled cities to vote Dem/Prog forever.
    “Global warming fighting” has nothing to do with reducing the world temperature, because mankind’s very puny efforts would completely pale compared to the daily energy input from the sun.

    Vermont, in fact, all of New England, could completely disappear, and it would not make one iota of difference regarding the world climate or climate change.

    This is all about centralized command/control of all phases of our lives, while the “politically unfavored” are mandated to toil to meet the increasingly nutty GWSA-like mandates of Dem/Progs.

    About half the world population is exempt from those world-saving toils, by Paris agreements.

    Totally ineffective John Kerry flies his private jets worldwide, spewing CO2, while playing the role of climate TSAR.
    China folks laugh at him, and ignore him.

    Bernie refuses to fly, except first class, or on borrowed private planes to collect his lucrative speaking fees (aka bribes) to fatten his tax-free “Foundation”, as do the Clintons, who detest other folks, and call them trailer trash and despicables.

    Life is already great for ELITE Dem/Progs (with Obama in a $15 million compound), and is about to get even better

  9. Every governing body or ruler since the beginning of civilization has used, “the world is going to end” as a convenient way to control people with fear. Aztecs, incas, Roman Catholic Church.

    We’ve become pretty sophisticated of late, with the Internet and smart phone for propaganda dissemination,very effective, inexpensive and just about every human mind attached to these things, to the degree that some will blindly walk into traffic, drive off the road, walk off a cliff.

    Funny thing is, it’s always your freedom, money and children that will solve the problem. It used to be child sacrifice to the “gods”, now it’s population control through nefarious ways. Corrupt governments break natural and supernatural laws, time has shown their demise, decade after decade, century upon century. The book of Kings gives a great illustration.

    And here we are today, has much changed from the days of the Aztecs? We’re more sophisticated, but much different? We really need to change our course, we need to repent from our ways, it’s not wise, loving, nor good stewardship of our planet, which has been put to our dominion.

    • The smart phone is the 21st century nose ring for people. Our leaders don’t want us to freely have discussions, for we might fing out the truth in what is going on.

      Most people are blindly fed what to think, by getting the latest “news feed” from their preferred propagand outlet.

      Ther is wisdom to be found in this world but it’s not from the news, though it is very good news. What could save this country was the founding reason that made our country great. Our ancestors, the relatives of 10 million people in the United states and my family members too, came here to separate themselves from the corrupt Church of England. (which Apple conveniently puts in caps for me).

      We changed our ways. We repented from corruption and looked toward truth, wisdom and love. This too is our path out of this mess in the 21st century. May providence come our way once again. TGBTG

  10. The fools on the Climate Council are stumbling over each other trying to come up with useless ways to spend our tax money. How do we get rid of these clowns?

  11. Ask any of them to lead by demonstrating how they can live their lives by reducing their carbon emissions by 90%…….let’s make it easy 60%.

    Can they lead by example?

    90%- everything….

    • This is actually a great idea. Not only should we have Vaccination papers indicating our status, we should have Climate credentials showing our carbon footprint. No exemptions or exceptions. All publicly disclosed. Speaking of walking a mile in someone else’s shoes – I’ll bet the majority of ‘climate alarmists’ (from John Kerry to the ‘activists’ in this article) have the highest CO2 footprints of all.

  12. They should have been required to explain how climate change has affected them. — I bet not a single one of them have a single valid reason for the claim.

  13. Based on articles published on Climate Council activities plus comments by Council members and legislators, the Global Warming Solutions Act looks like it could result in the same outcome as Gov. Shumlin’s Single Payer Health Care system……..A total bust and nothing more than a multi-year waste of time and $200 million debacle.

    Having a group of mostly amateurs writing a plan to save Vermont from climate change by relying on climate activist dogma plus heavy input from the renewable energy industry is not the best formula for solving difficult physical climate problems.

    Let’s see what we get on December first when the Council report is delivered.

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