Governor and legislators back Vermont going solo on Paris climate treaty

Republican Gov. Phil Scott and several state lawmakers want Vermont to join the Paris climate treaty regardless of President Donald Trump’s rejection of the deal at the national level.

The treaty sets goals for participating nations to limit carbon dioxide output through taxes, caps or other measures. Proponents say it’s necessary to limit the effects of climate change, while critics say it won’t change global temperatures but will damage the economy.

Sen. Anthony Pollina, P/D-Washington, told True North he stands with efforts to commit.

“I think Donald Trump is really out of step with the rest of the country,” Pollina said. “I think that the further out of touch he gets, the more important it is that states take steps to do the work that he should be doing.”

Pollina denies that additional costs on carbon would slow the economy.

“It’s just not true,” he said. “Basically, you are talking about a bunch of nations making voluntary commitments to reduce their carbon footprint. It’s hard enough to get them all to the table, and the fact that they all agreed to do what they are beginning to do is really important. There’s no way to put a price on climate change — you are talking about the future of the planet.”

RELATED: Will Vermont pay $20 million to Green Climate Fund?

Ethan Allen Institute Vice President John McClaughry says the Paris accord’s goals are unrealistic for Vermont.

“How does the state go about making that happen?” he said. “I know it subsidizes wind towers, solar farms and stuff like that, but overall you’d probably have to double the gas tax to drag people off the highway. And the state’s Comprehensive Energy Plan is not made with carbon dioxide reductions in mind so much as the 90 percent renewables by 2050.”

To support his skepticism, McClaughry points to Act 168 of 2006, which set a 50 percent reduction target for carbon emissions from 1990 levels, to be achieved by 2028. As of 2015, McClaughry said, records don’t indicate any decline in carbon output, with levels remaining stagnant at about 8 megatons per year since 2006.

“Somebody needs to ask Phil Scott, if you are going to be the enforcer for the Paris climate agreement, what are you going to do to make us cut down on emissions? Are you going to do a carbon tax?”

Scott hasn’t said what Vermonters will need to do in order to achieve these goals. Furthermore, he continues to call for a moratorium on any new industrial wind turbines, a pledge from his 2016 campaign.

Scott’s position on the Paris accord runs counter to the Republican Party platform, which calls for the U.S. to reject “the agendas of both the Kyoto Protocol and the Paris Agreement.”

As noted by analysts for the Daily Signal, the treaty is costly.

“If carried out, the energy regulations agreed to in Paris by the Obama administration would destroy hundreds of thousands of jobs, harm American manufacturing, and destroy $2.5 trillion in gross domestic product by the year 2035.”

Trump in a recent speech echoed these concerns.

“America is $20 trillion in debt. Cash-strapped cities cannot hire enough police officers or fix vital infrastructure. Millions of our citizens are out of work.  And yet, under the Paris Accord, billions of dollars that ought to be invested right here in America will be sent to the very countries that have taken our factories and our jobs away from us.”

Robb Kidd, manager of the Conservation Program for the Vermont Chapter of the Sierra Club, told True North that he thinks the nation is trending towards supporting the treaty.

“The thing is, when you see statements from ExxonMobil addressing climate change, you’ve got to realize that it is a problem. Those serious companies, serious businesses, want to see action on this.”

Kidd added that executives from Tesla and Walt Disney have dropped off the president’s economic advisory council after Trump announced the U.S. withdrawal from the pact.

“This is the way the actual market is changing now, so why would we go back to an antiquated system that is completely demonstrated is a problem?” he said.

The Vermont Public Interest Research Group executive director Paul Burns said in a press release that he supports the treaty: “A U.S. retreat from the climate agreement would not only represent a colossal abdication of leadership and a triumph of ignorance over science, it would also jeopardize America’s economy and the health of our people.”

New York, Washington and California were the first states to form an alliance for keeping the climate agreement, but other states are now seeking to join that effort.

Michael Bielawski is a reporter for True North Reports. Send news tips to and follow him on Twitter @TrueNorth82X.

Image courtesy of Lou Varricchio/TNR

8 thoughts on “Governor and legislators back Vermont going solo on Paris climate treaty

  1. MIT claims, with FULL implementation of the voluntary, Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs) agreed to during the COP-21 conference, and kept in place till 2100, COP-21 would prevent about 0.2 C of any warming that would occur by 2100, i.e., instead of 4.3 C from pre-industrial baseline, it would be 4.1 C by 2100. See Page 2 of MIT URL. Bjorn Lomborg estimates COP-21 would prevent about 0.17 C, in close agreement with the MIT estimate.

    That means the agreed COP-21 emission reduction would be grossly insufficient. In fact, the COP-21 emission reduction would have to be increased by about a factor of 100 to achieve the 2 C target by 2100, according to Bjorn Lomborg. Based on outcomes of about a dozen prior COPs, the RE investments required for such a huge CO2 emission reduction likely will not take place. See Lomborg URL. Energy %26 Climate Outlook.pdf

    Total world GHG emissions were 52.4 billion metric ton, excluding international aviation and shipping.

    – US CO2eq emissions, based on staying with COP-21, would have been about 5.0 billion Mt, but they would be about 6.4 billion Mt, based on leaving COP-21. In the US people live in a spread-out manner, which requires more energy per capita. It would have required several trillion dollars of investments in RE systems and efficiency to achieve the 2030 INDC targets agreed to by Obama.

    – China and India would continue to increase their CO2eq emissions. This was agreed to during COP-21 negotiations, because of their low energy per capita. Neither country is making a contribution to the Green Climate Fund, which were scheduled to become quite large for other countries by 2020. See below. China’s energy per capita is at least 2 times that of India, which likely will receive funds from the Green Climate Fund.

    – The EU 2030 INDC target would achieve a slight decrease compared to 2030, as planned. In the EU people live close together, which requires less energy per capita. EU transformations likely would require significantly less investments for its 2030 INDC target, than the US would need for its 2030 INDC target. No wonder, Germany, France and Italy immediately declared “no renegotiations” of COP-21, after Trump stated he wanted to renegotiate.

    The upshot is, the US would have to make major adjustments to its economy to achieve the overly ambitious INDC targets agreed to by Obama. Trump was absolutely correct to insist on renegotiating the COP-21 agreement.

    Obama, without permission from the US Congress, committed $3 billion to a Green Climate Fund to literally buy the votes of poor countries, so they would commit to COP-21. Some of these countries are among the most corrupt in the world. Some of that money likely will disappear into Swiss bank accounts, instead of being used for COP-21 goals, as there is NO monitoring mechanism in place. Obama paid $1 billion to the Fund just before Trump was sworn in. Because the US is leaving COP-21, the other $2 billion STAYS IN THE US. See URL for full transcript of COP-21 withdrawal announcement.

    Green Climate Fund: The Fund is administered by the UN. As of 17 May 2017, a total of $10.3 billion had been pledged to the Fund.
    – EU member states pledged $4.7 billion (UK $1.2 b; France $1.0 b; Germany $1.0 b; Others $1.5 b)
    – US $3.0 billion; already paid $1 billion.
    – Rest of World $2.6 billion (Japan $1.5 b; China $0; India $0; Others $1.1 b). See table in URL.

    The Fund has a goal of distributing to recipient countries $100 billion in 2020, much more in EACH YEAR thereafter. The US, about 20% of gross world product, likely would be hit up for $20 billion in 2020, and much more in EACH YEAR thereafter. That Fund likely would become the mother of all boondoggles.

    No. Thank you, said Trump. He was not about to let the UN do boondoggle projects with US taxpayer money.

    If the world is making so little progress towards RE, then the US, “doing its RE part” by staying with COP-21, would be engaging in an expensive exercise in futility.

    The RE movement is primarily driven by Europe, Japan and others, because they have insufficient domestic energy resources. Europe, Japan and others want the US to stay with COP-21, as a big source of cash for future financing of the Green Climate Fund, and because they would become less competitive versus the US, if they increased investments in RE and the US did not.

    The US, with chronic budget deficits of about $500 billion/y, already has a huge trade handicap, largely due to overinvesting in defense spending to maintain its world leadership peacekeeping role, and underinvesting in the goods and service sectors. For decades, Europe, Japan and others have underinvested in defense, because of the US protection guarantee; only 5 of 29 NATO nations spend at least 2% of GDP on their own defense.

    Country Defense Spending
    % of GDP
    US 3.61
    Greece 2.38
    UK 2.21
    Estonia 2.16
    Poland 2.00

    Europe, Japan and others have been shirking the world peacekeeping burden, as it would divert investments from their goods and services sectors. Instead, they invested in producing and exporting superior goods and services, which the US did not. This causes the US, hamstrung by having to adhere to World Trade Organization rules, to have chronic trade and budget deficits, each about $500 billion/y.

    Europe, Japan and others want to keep the good times rolling, i.e., have the US protect them for free, if possible, in hamstrung mode, with chronic trade and budget deficits, WTO rules, and COP-21 requirements.

  2. Look, we all agree that there is climate change and climate change has occurred since the beginning of our planet. There have been many ice ages and still more to come. If, and I say if, human kind has any effect on the progression of climate change, compared to natural occurrences such as volcano activity, it is extremely small. Ultimately, we are headed for another ice age and would be if we did not inhabit this planet. The only thing that we may accomplish by cutting carbon emissions is to delay the coming ice age by a month or two. So, the money that is being spent in over-reacting to the inevitable would be better spent on the preparation for humanity to survive what we can’t stop rather than push it a couple of months into the future. Plainly, the over reaction is more political and makes financial opportunities for those associated with and in agreement to the political party that cries “THE SKY IS FALLING”.

  3. Whatever happened to common sense? The green movement is not only political but has become a new religion. They even have their own Bible, The Green Bible. If you don’t believe me, just goggle it. Even the Pope has joined this insanity.

  4. I believe that the Governor is feeling the Progressive heat in Montpelier , give me a break this
    Paris Climate Agreement was a boondoggle from the start. Our Buffoons in Montpelier are now
    balking at the US pulling out, just grand standing ( Soap Box ) on this issue. All this bill did was
    hold the US hostage ( $$ ) while the rest of the world just chugged along spewing all the carbon
    they wanted . Pass an agreement that holds All Nations feet to the fire , then you’ll have something
    to cry about !!

    I would think that the Governor could find a better thing to stand against something like State
    Debt and Jobs .

  5. [The Vermont Public Interest Research Group executive director Paul Burns said in a press release that he supports the treaty: “A U.S. retreat from the climate agreement would not only represent a colossal abdication of leadership and a triumph of ignorance over science, it would also jeopardize America’s economy and the health of our people.”] The experience of seeing how VPIRG has treated Vermonters who have cried for help in the face of the health and financial damage inflicted on them by “Big Money’s Big Wind”, tells me if VPIRG is for it, then I’m against it.

  6. When I voted for Phil Scott, I did so because I trusted him and because there really was no choice. He was the only candidate who was not pro-abortion, the only candidate who might protect Vermonters against the interests of the “Big Wind” and “Green Vermont” profiteers, and appeared to be the only candidate who was looking out for Vermont tax payers. I never expected that his hopes to garner Democrat votes would lead to such animus against our President that he would drag our citizens and taxpayers into such a costly boondoggle. I didn’t vote for my Governor to use the Office we pay him to fill for his own personal animus and/or personal gain. Which of the Green Profiteers paid you off, Phil?

    • Well said. As always, another disastrous governorship no matter which of the political triplets gets elected.

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