By David Flemming
It is becoming increasingly clear that the Vermont Climate Council will have to choose between a clearly inferior climate plan product by the Dec. 1 deadline, or spending more time and taxpayer dollars trying to correct the current climate plan’s flaws.
Zack Porter of Standing Trees Vermont did not mince words when he was called to witness at the Climate Council’s meeting on Nov. 9.
A group founded by those “worried about the direction of forest management and concern that proposals related to forest management and things like the climate action plan aren’t following the best science at the moment. … It’s 11:59 in in the climate action plan development process and some of the foundational documents that are guiding your efforts like the carbon budget are fundamentally flawed. We are not looking at, for example, at biomass electricity as you know (carbon neutral electricity generated from organic waste), with full life cycle accounting in the carbon budget” (Life cycle accounting in this context involves accounting for all of the carbon stored in trees).”
Porter continues: “It’s looking at it as if it was carbon neutral. It’s not clear to me that we’re taking into the full impacts of timber harvest, which has been shown to be a greater impact on carbon fluxes in New England than conversion from forest to non-forest land. None of that appears to be showing up in the modeling that we’ve done. And I don’t see a significant kind of effort to model what Vermont could accomplish by putting more of its forest land into old forests than we have today.”
While I may have to disagree with Porter’s idea of “letting forests go” without active management, his point about flawed science is critical to understanding what is happening in the climate council.
Earlier in the meeting, Abbie Corse, council member and co-owner of the Corse Farm Dairy remarked, “What do we lose when we’re, if we’re, cutting down you know acres of forest to put up solar panels for example or wind turbines?”
What do we lose, indeed, if hasty analysis by a group biased toward the goodness of solar and wind creates the conditions in which Vermont will need to cut down acres of forest? Quite a lot, to any Vermonter remotely concerned with preserving Vermont’s forests for future generations.
David Flemming is a policy analyst for the Ethan Allen Institute. Reprinted with permission from the Ethan Allen Institute Blog.
23 thoughts on “Flemming: Fundamentally flawed climate plan for Vermont forests”
There’s nothing to worry about.
The government is in the process of huge land grabs in the Midwest– where I’ve heard much of our food is grown– in order to build carbon sequestration systems to save the planet from a gas that’s 0.04% of an atmosphere that has 1/1000 the heat capacity of the oceans. This fairly short video explains the brilliant plan: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zaO1asFmVx8
Taking valuable farmland out of commission to save the planet from a non-existent threat makes perfect sense to me, too.
Biden’s infrastructure plan!!
Yes…its always ‘blame the humans’ when in fact the biggest and heaviest polluters are playing the shell game with our lives, using us as guinea pigs, the reason for all the ills in the world, and none of the responsibility of runaway pollution that can ONLY be created from massive dumps into our biome – by INDUSTRY.
What we puny humans do in the aggregate, is NOT EVEN a drop in the bucket to what the global military, industry and space industries are pouring into our atmosphere.
But blame the humans…give them smaller cages. Tell them if they just move around less, the world will be better.
And do NOT look at industry. Fascist oligarchs have nothing at all to do with global pollution or releasing a bioweapon to accomplish their Satanic goal of world domination and killing off the useless eaters, keepers of wisdom, and hope for a new day. Do NOT put the blame where it IS.
Can’t have common sense.
Who’s poop pile is bigger?
Or my two log burning every 3 hours woodstove?
This WHOLE climate bull is a tool to gaslight humanity into agreeing WE are the problem.
Original sin anyone?
Does anyone else see a parallel between hasty forestry management techniques by the woke state legislators and hasty police reform made by woke Burlington city councilors and Weinburger? This won’t end well…..
When speaking of burning wood and green house gas emissions, one must zero in on Burlington’s McNeil Bio-mass power plant.
The Energy Justice Network identified McNeil as the biggest producer of green house gases in Vermont……Accounting for 10% of the total emissions produced in Vermont…Read more here: https://www.energyjustice.net/content/biomass-incinerator-vermonts-biggest-polluter
By today’s politically correct standards, McNeil is also racist……Why?…….Because it is located just 500 feet from Burlington area residential neighborhoods that constitute the largest concentration of BIPOC population in Vermont.
The pollution problems related to the McNeil Biomass plant are all well known, yet basically ignored by the highly alarmed climate activists…….Why is that?
Can anyone say what action the Climate Council or the Council sub-committee addressing social justice are expected to make regarding the dirty McNeil Biomass plant?…….Or will the McNeil wood burning pollution plant continue to be ignored?
AND THE BIGGEST EMITTER OF OTHER POLLUTANTS
On 2/24/21, Darren Springer ( General Manager of Burlington Electric, 50% owner of McNeil Bio-mass) and Betsy Lesnikowski, Chief Forester for McNeil) published the following the commentary covering the McNeil Bio-mass plant on the VTdigger:
This commentary was apparently written in defense of McNeil’s many year record of greenhouse gas pollution in anticipation of the Climate Council’s report to be published in December 2021, which must present a plan to reduce emissions to zero.
The Springer/Lesnikowski commentary describes the actions taken to mitigate McNeil’s history of emitting pollutants. It indicates that McNeil meets state and federal pollution standards, yet no where do the writers cite the amount of pollution currently being emitted. McNeil continues to emit greenhouse gases, a practice that the GWSA requires be ended.
After taking the time to write a lengthy commentary, why would Springer and Lesnikowski fail to cite the most critical number…….The amount of greenhouse pollution McNeil continues to emit. This is especially important as the GWSA legally requires that greenhouse gases be reduced to zero.
Is the Climate Council looking into McNeil’s pollution problem? How about VPRIG? CLF? Or the high school kids who rallied at the State House last Friday declaring they fear dying from climate change and demanded more be done to end greenhouse gas pollution.
Will anyone look into McNeil or do they get a free pass and be held to a different standard.
Biomas like the McNeil wood to electric involves a LOT of Carbon!
First you have to have roads for skidding, then you chainsaw the tree, then cut the tree up, then use Fuel to chip a tree into a million pieces, then load 2 dozen train cars to bring the chips 40+ miles to McNeil, and travel back to the NW corner empty to get more chips.
Incalcululable how much gasoline and diesel for all the trucks, chipping equipment the train ride, payrolls for each person involved.
AND, McNeil had to be in Burlington for show! Look at us!!
Doug……You’ve listed what can be labeled as “carbon overhead” necessary to operate…….Overhead that must be expended in order for McNeil to be able to generate even one volt of electricity. This “carbon overhead” has to be added to McNeil’s carbon foot print.
McNeil burns about 76 tons of wood per hour or about 1,800 tons in a 24 hour period or an incomprehensible 667,000 tons in a year assuming full operation…….How much “carbon overhead” would be required to provide that much wood?…… An awful lot to be sure.
So much for clean energy coming from Burlington’s McNeil Bio-mass plant…….Again, how will the Climate Council treat this green house emission monstrosity?
McNeil has to report its CO2 to the EPA, and the EIA, an agency of the DOE, on a periodic basis, and each year.
It is easily accessible using a URL
McNeil has been, and still is, by far, the largest point source of CO2 in Vermont.
Each 2000 lbs of green (as cut) chips produces about one metric ton of CO2.
It is not called overhead, but upstream CO2
I reposted your comment after separating paragraphs
When is everybody going understand these Regressive greedy control freak Socialists, Marxists, Communists, & Maoist pathological liars, especially those in all levels of Vermont’s State, local Municipal Governments, & the gigantic VT public unions including teachers (nowadays really indoctrinators), have All been taking over by fascist leftists masquerading as Progressives, Democrats, Independents, Greens, & Republicans & they really don’t care about anything except permanent power, their evil agendas, their own wealth and destroying our great State & Country.
This climate change, global warming, global cooling, seas rising (while buying ocean front estates), Ice melting is all BS from highly indoctrinated leftists for decades..
What happened to the next Ice Age 40 yrs ago? Of course the climate changes idiots & I seriously doubt humans could fix the problem anyway even if we are the cause.
If all this prohibitively expensive pat each other on the back but really do nothing except make leftists rich is passed I forsee the North East & New England having fire seasons like scummy demon filled California!
Also for the record as a US Army OEF/ OIF Combat Veteran I am sick of Socialists, Communists, and all the other racist fascist leftist out there like angry hateful Commie BS Thanking me for my service!
I am sorry Socialists & Communists out there I didn’t fight for you & your evil, racist, divisive, Seditious, Subversive, treasonous Ideology which is Permanently incompatible with The US Constitution Bill of Rights & Vermont’s State Constitution, so stop thanking me, because I 100% agree with & uphold my Oath to support & Defend against all enemies foreign & Domestic & 100% support the American peoples 2nd Amendment rights to defend themselves and destroy a fascist, authoritarian Governments controlled by people who never should have been allowed to take Oaths of Office to our Constitution in the first place!
Let these people pass and do what they want they are losing legitimacy, because every regressive leftist agenda item they are pushing now, have done, planning on pushing down peoples throats are all Violations of Current Federal & State Laws, The US Federal & all 50 State Constitutions, & The Bill of Rights..
Just wondering where my supposed Windham county State Senator or Representative Balint thinks she has the power, and authority to force The people of Vermont to where a mask because of what she believes is happening..
The real Constitutional, lawful answer is she doesn’t none of them do. Balint is far from a Democrat!
The BS they passed & have planned for 2022 undercover behind closed doors this year is all hateful divisive anti American anti Freedom Illegal Unconstitutional Destructive Communist garbage, which she doesn’t care at all what the truth is, none of them do.
Stop Thanking me for my service because I did Not fight at all for Lieberal Demoncrats, Socialists, definitely not their evil violent leftist fascist groups BLM, ANTIFA and Communists.
I fought for everything they hate because I fought for All Lives Matter, New York, My Family, fellow Patriots, fellow Combat/ Peacetime the Constitutions of the USA & States Freedom, God, & I fought would have went to battle against Communists and Socialists!
This comment adds some numbers to the discussion
BURNING WOOD IS NOT RENEWABLE BY A LONG SHOT
Pro-logging interests use “Burning Wood is Renewable” as a slogan, a mantra, to assure others all is benign, because it helps save the world, fight global warming, are part of the “solution”, and thus deserves to get subsidies via the Vermont Global Warming Solutions Act.
This article will show burning wood is not anywhere near renewable, if the following is accounted for:
1) The A-to-Z sources of CO2
2) Decay of belowground biomass after harvesting
3) Decay of aboveground biomass after harvesting
Sources of CO2 of Logging Sector
All of us need to be on the same page regarding the A-to-Z sources of CO2. Here is a list.
1) Before logging, the logging sector has to be set up, operated, maintained and renewed, which emits CO2, about 3%
2) A wood-burning plant has to be built, which emits CO2; about 2%
3) The logging process includes maintaining the woodlot, culling, harvesting, chipping, and transport to user, which emits CO2, about 8%
4) Operating the plant requires electricity, diesel fuel etc., which emits CO2, about 8%
5) The combustion process emits CO2; in fact, emits more lb/million Btu than coal, about 56%
Coal power plants are up to 44% efficient, New England wood-burning plants about 25%
6) The combustion process emits sub-micron particulates, which requires electricity for air pollution control systems, which emits CO2, about 3%
7) Delivering the heat and electricity to users requires electricity, which emits CO2, about 2%.
8) CO2 is released from:
– Dead wood, 24/7/365; dead wood increased 26.5% in Vermont from 1990 – 2015
– Forest floor litter, 24/7/365,
– Increased decay of belowground biomass, after logging; in cold-climate New England for about 80 – 100 years
– Increased decay of slash, aboveground tree trunks, etc., after logging; in cold-climate NE for about 80 – 100 years
9) Dismantling the old wood-burning plant and replacing it with a new one, 4%
Combustion CO2, about 56% + Decay CO2, about 14%, equals about 70% of all CO2, on an A – Z basis.
The 70% has the possibility of being partially renewable, if the forest were left undisturbed for many decades. See next section.
The other 30% is like all other CO2, i.e., not renewable. That percentage is almost never mentioned by logging proponents, mainly because it would create confusion and dilute the mantra: “Wood Burning is Renewable”.
Here is an explanation regarding Item 8:
Most people are familiar with the logging industry claim, we harvest low value trees for burning, i.e., misshapen, diseased trees, standing deadwood, etc., called net available low grade, NALG, whereas, in fact, that is often not true, based on satellite and drone photos of clearcutting on harvested areas.
Regarding table 1, people may argue about the percentages of each category, but not about the existence of each category. See URL
Wood-Burning is NOT Renewable by a Long Shot
The logging industry claim is “wood burning is renewable”, and therefore the combustion CO2 should not be counted.
The EPA and IPCC are proponents of this fallacy. They pretend there is no other CO2.
I have written extensively on the CO2 released by decay of belowground biomass, which starts almost immediately after harvesting.
Table 1 shows there are various other sources of biomass decay.
This article has 5 examples of CO2 released by only underground decay. See URL
CO2 Release Over Time
In northern climates, it takes about 35 years for the CO2 to get back to neutral after harvesting
The initial CO2 release, due to belowground biomass decay, is very high.
The decay CO2 quantity decreases according to standard decay functions, in NE for a period of about 80 to 100 years.
Initially, the decay CO2 far exceeds any CO2 absorbed by biomass regrowth on OUR harvested area.
In NE, the debit balance continues for about 17 years, i.e., the harvested area is a source of CO2
But to offset that debit balance, and get back to neutral, regrowth on OUR harvested area needs to take place for another 17 to 18 years
Note, the decay CO2 is entirely independent from 1) combustion CO2, and 2) CO2 other than combustion. See above list and table 1.
– Combustion CO2 of year 1 would have to wait for 35 years to start being absorbed by regrowth on OUR harvested area, which takes about 80 – 100 years.
– All other categories of CO2, due to: 1) logging, 2) chipping, 3) transport, 4) in-plant processing, and 5) plant operations other than combustion, etc., is no different from all other CO2.
CO2 Absorption Cycle
Combustion CO2 is absorbed, under NE conditions, in about 80 to 100 years.
However, the combustion is not absorbed until after about 35 years, the C-neutrality period.
The the entire cycle is about 115 to 135 years!!
Year 1 is the combustion year. See URL for C-neutrality explanation.
When a woodlot is logged, some belowground biomass is killed (clear cutting kills all of it), because it is no longer needed by the trees that were cut. It decays and emits CO2.
The decay process, start to completion, under NE conditions, takes about 80 to 100 years.
While the decay takes place, any new tree growth on OUR harvested areas would offset more and more of the decay CO2, until the new tree growth has completely offset the decay CO2, which, under NE conditions, takes about 35 years.
After the C-neutrality period, the combustion CO2 of Year 1 (and ongoing decay CO2) would start to be absorbed by the new tree growth on OUR harvested areas.
Interrupting the CO2 Absorption Cycle.
In the real world, the new trees on OUR harvested areas would be cut well before they have had a chance to absorb all the combustion CO2 of Year 1 (and ongoing decay CO2).
In the real world, a logger would come along, would see OUR 40 to 45-year-old trees, and would harvest them; veni, vidi, vici.
Those trees had barely started to absorb OUR combustion CO2!!
There ends the fantasy of “burning wood is renewable”, because there is no spare forest for “our remaining combustion CO2 (and ongoing decay CO2)”. Other forests already are busy absorbing CO2.
OUR combustion CO2 has to be absorbed on OUR harvested areas to be called renewable.
The OTHER CO2, not related to combustion, is similar to any other CO2, for accounting purposes.
The atmosphere, the oceans, and other CO2 sinks would absorb a part of “our remaining combustion CO2” (and ongoing decay CO2)”, as well “our OTHER CO2”.
That absorption would not be by OUR harvested area, and thus not be “renewable”.
The combustion CO2 absorption process, in effect from Year 35 to about Year 45, about 10 years, was ended by the subsequent logging.
The logging industry continues to claim, without blushing: “Burning wood is renewable”.
Particulates from Wood Burning
The wood burning sector is major cause of combustion CO2 and other CO2 in NE, plus sub-micron particulates.
Gas, hydro and nuclear have nearly none of such particulates.See URL
Burning of some forests have been happening for million is not 100’s of millions of years. Some very larger forests are completely dependent upon fire for regeneration.
Trees are competing for light and resources 24/7/365 days a year. Many don’t make it.
150 years ago we had 20% forest in Vermont, now we have 80%…..and suddenly we’re in a forest crisis? We can’t use the forest products? I’m finding this hard to swallow.
I find it hard to believe using forest products is going to end the world, no more than using other agricultural products will bring a demise to this world.
The almost total deforesting of Vermont in the 1800s and early 1900s, led to huge erosion, which depleted soils.
As a result the regrowth can be only a pale copy of what was there before.
Acid rain rain from the 1950s onward, further damaged the soils.
As a result at least 50% of Vermont’s forest have LOW QUALITY wood.
Some folks say, we will burn that wood in power plants, etc.
That may be the right thing to do for pro-burning folks and their businesses, but it is exactly the wrong thing to do from the forest’s point of view.
The LQ wood is the forest’s way of rebuilding the soil.
It would be best, if there were a government program to pay loggers to chip the LQ wood and spread it on the forest floor.
The NATURAL rebuilding of the soil would take at least 100 years in colder climates, IF THE FOREST LIES UNDISTURBED.
The time span would be shorter with help from loggers doing the chipping and spreading.
CO2 EMISSIONS FROM LOGGING, CLEARCUTTING AND BURNING
A nearby farm in Hartford, Vermont has 200 acres of open fields, plus 700 acres of woodland. During a recent logging operation, the trunks of the high quality healthy trees were set aside and cut to 8.5, 10.5 and 12.5 ft lengths, for transport to lumber mills, and the less valuable material, such as tops of trees and branches, misshapen trees, standing dead trees, sickly trees, etc., were gathered and piled up for chipping.
The less valuable material is fed into very large chippers. It is a noisy sight to behold. A large crane grabs an 18-inch diameter tree, feeds it horizontally into the big hopper, and within about a minute the entire tree has become wood chips that are blown into a 40-ft trailer!
The tree roots, a.k.a., belowground biomass, are no longer needed. They die, decay and disappear. The very fine, hair-like roots disappear first. The stumps are the last the go.
The aboveground part of a stump decays within about 25 years.
The belowground part of a stump and larger branches decay within about 80 – 100 years.
The decay CO2 is high in the beginning and slowly decreasing at time passes.
Clearcutting Holocaust of the 1800s
The NE clearcutting holocaust of the 1800s and early 1900s occurred for two reasons:
1) Clearing for farming and pasture (haying for cows and horses and for sheep that produced wool)
2) Production of charcoal for iron working.
On hilly land, the clearcutting caused erosion of topsoil and nutrients into nearby streams.
The clearcutting released vast quantities of CO2 due to decay of 1) belowground biomass, 2) dead wood, 3) litter, and 4) soil organic carbon.
New England was mostly reforested by the 1950s; some farmlands became forests again; some forest area was permanently eliminated by human encroachments.
However, the clearcutting had damaged forest soils, which reduced the storage of biomass/acre.
Undisturbed, old forests, on healthy soils, store much more biomass per acre, than young forests on damaged soils.
Acid rain from the 1950s onward has been harmful for forest soil, regrowth and health as well.
A continuous forest is much healthier and has a greater abundance and diversity of flora and fauna than a fractured forest.
Forest fracturing is due to human encroachments, such as roads, paths, transmission lines, wind turbines on ridgelines, partial land clearing for development. See URLs
Not one more acre of Vermont nature [to be] taken (for anything). In Massachusetts I’ve seen a nature land trust bulldoze acres for nature centers. What is wrong with these people? End consumption and control of 100 percent of the natural landscape. End species’ forest consumption for solar and wind. Re-use existing developed lands for solar. Businesses only want to know the rules and they will thrive. All stakeholders on Vermont committees are suspect. A stakeholder is a person or business which has a money or property interest in some action. They should not be on our committees, but should be responsive to our committees. More words should come from committees than, in the words of Greta Thunberg,” Blah, blah, blah.” — from the deep woods of the Species’ Forest, Conway, Massachusetts, 501(c)(3) land trust with an ethical vegan board of directors speciesforest.blogspot.com (Richard Stafursky, Vermont)
The climate is fine – the cult is not – the green in green energy is lining the pockets of the elitist billionaires who fly 400 private jets to meet about the next stage of the hoax. How many more gullible, naive sheep will drink the nihilist’s kool-aid – there are many schools helping out with this plan….it’s not just CRT – it’s this nonsense too.
This is fun antidote to the climate gaslighting:
The whole concept of a Vermont Climate Council is flawed, and the appointed, not elected, members are someone’s useful idiots in driving a nonsensical agenda. That there is a spin off committee in the Standing Trees Vermont, from this bogus council, is ludicrous…
Lets go Brandon!
When is everybody going understand these Regressive greedy control freak Socialists, Marxists, Communists, & Maoist pathological liars, especially those in all levels of Vermont’s State, local Municipal Governments, & the gigantic VT public unions including teachers (nowadays really indoctrinators), have All been taking over by fascist leftists masquerading as Progressives, Democrats, Independents, Greens, & Republicans & they really dont care about anything except permanent power, their evil agendas, their own wealth and destroying our great State & Country. This climate change, global warming, global cooling, seas rising (while buying ocean front estates), Ice melting is all BS from highly indoctrinated leftists for decades.. What happened to the next Ice Age 40yrs ago? Of course the climate changes idiots & I seriously doubt humans could fix the problem anyway even if we are the cause. If all this prohibitively expensive pat each other on the back but really do nothing except make leftists rich is passed I forsee the North East & New England having fire seasons like scummy demon filled California!
Also for the record as a US Army OEF/ OIF Combat Veteran I am sick of Socialists, Communists, and all the other racist fascist leftist out there like angry hateful Commie BS Thanking me for my service! Im sorry Socialists & Communists out there I didnt fight for you & your evil, racist, divisive, Seditious, Subversive, treasonous Ideology which is Permanently incompatible with/ & an enemy of The US Constitution Bill of Rights & Vermont’s State Constitution so stop thanking me because I 100% agree with & uphold my Oath to support & Defend against all enemies foreign & Domestic & 100% support the American peoples 2nd Amendment rights to defend themselves and destroy a fascist, authoritarian Governments controlled by people who never should have been allowed to take Oaths of Office to our Constitution in the first place! Let these people pass and do what they want they are losing legitimacy, because every regressive leftist agenda item they are pushing now, have done, planning on pushing down peoples throats are all Violations of Current Federal & State Laws, The US Federal & all 50 State Constitutions, & The Bill of Rights.. Just wondering where my supposed Windham county State Senator or Representative Balint thinks she has the power, and authority to force The people of Vermont to where a mask because of what she believes is happening.. The real Constitutional, lawful answer is she doesnt non of them do Balint is far from a Democrat! The BS they passed & have planned for 2022 undercover behind closed doors this year is all hateful divisive anti American anti Freedom Illegal Unconstitutional Destructive Communist garbage which she doesnt care at all what the truth is none of them do so Stop Thanking me for my service because I did Not fight at all for Lieberal Demoncrats, Socialists, definitely not their evil violent leftist fascist groups B L M, ANTIFA and Communists. I fought for everything they hate because I fought for All Lives Matter, New York, My Family, fellow Patriots, fellow Combat/ Peacetime the Constitutions of the USA & States Freedom, God, & I fought would have went to battle against Communists and Socialists!
-Thank you to all who read my comment here!
Andrew C. Brattleboro VT
OEF/ OIF US Army Combat Veteran
The VTGOP should be recruiting people like you and jettisoning the rinos’ out the torpedo shoot, 10,000 feet below sea level.
Instead they protect the uniparty, NWO pimps by giving them the cover of bearing the honor to be called a republican. Party over country. Money and power are their God, not Jesus Christ.
See people do know what the hell is going on. Until we replace swamp creatures with good men and women, we’ll never get out of this mess.
Meanwhile our intelligencia in Montpelier will promote drug dealing, prostitution and dependence upon the state because to do otherwise is racist.
Time for change, old school, repent! We reap what we sow. We are sowing a bigger Uniparty, so we’re gonna get a bigger uniparty! Simple as that.
Just think if we swapped out every RINO for a man like this!
P.s. He seems to understand what “let’s go Brandon!” means, unlike out new president of the VTGoP.
This is only about controlling everything you own.
It is grabbing all property through zoning and regulations, so you have to ask permission from the king on what to do with his land. It’s purely a take over of ALL property rights through regulation.
There is no forest problem.
What forms of government want complete control of all property and production? What are the outcomes of those countries? Who benefits most in those countries?
What are our school systems educating our children on these questions?
How does military subversion tactics use the school systems in the countries they want to overtake?
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