House passes Global Warming Solutions Act with slight veto-proof majority

House lawmakers on Wednesday passed the Global Warming Solutions Act, advancing legislation that would turn state carbon emission reduction goals into mandates and allow individuals to sue Vermont if targets are missed.

H.688 passed by a 102-45 vote, setting up a slight veto-proof majority should Gov. Phil Scott veto the bill. The Legislature can override a governor’s veto with a two-thirds majority vote.

Last month, Scott made a series of demands that the bill would need to meet to gain his approval. In an Aug. 12 letter to House and Senate leaders, the governor urged that the new 23-member climate council established in H.688 should have all members appointed through the executive branch to avoid a constitutional conflict over separation of powers.

Scott also took issue with the bill’s provision allowing lawsuits against the state for failure to meet carbon emission reduction targets. He also wants any initiatives created by the new council to be voted on by the full Legislature.

ORCA Media

House Speaker Mitzi Johnson, D-South Hero, addresses the full House membership Wednesday over Zoom.

The Senate rejected similar proposals from the governor in May. House members did not mention the governor’s requests during Wednesday’s virtual House floor session.

House Minority Leader Patricia McCoy, R-Poultney, took issue with the bill’s lack of accountability to voters.

“I do not take lightly the responsibility of representing our citizenry and I am opposed to giving away my authority to draft a plan, write policies, and roll out a plan that will get us to our carbon emission goals,” she said.

McCoy is referring to the climate council’s authority to create energy plans, as described in H.688. The bill calls for council members to be comprised of state government officials, Vermonters from various economic sectors, and citizen experts. The Agency of Natural Resources would carry out the council’s plans.

Rep. Jim Harrison, R-Chittenden, said the bill is out of touch with the current economy and COVID-19 concerns.

“There are parts of our economy that are in shambles right now,” Harrison said. “We have thousands unemployed, we have businesses that have closed, and others that are hanging on by a thread. And directly related, our state revenues are down and expected to be even further reduced next year.”

The GWSA seeks to curb global warming by mandating that Vermonters reduce carbon emissions by set dates. Requirements include a reduction of 26% below 2005 carbon levels by 2025, then 40% below 1990 levels by 2030. Emissions must drop to 80% below 1990 levels by 2050.

Rep. Anne Donahue, R-Northfield, also said the timing of the GWSA is bad, even though she supports parts of it.

“I vote yes in my heart for this bill,” she said. “But I vote no on moving this bill forward irresponsibly during our current pandemic and during an emergency extension of our legislative session.”

Rep. Laura Sibilia, I-Dover, said bad things will start to happen if action isn’t taken to fight climate change.

“Madam Speaker we must do this,” she said. “It is difficult, change of this magnitude is scary, but Vermonters are counting on us. We know this is coming, we have an obligation to act, we cannot wait.”

Rep. Mari Cordes, D-Lincoln, spoke for the bill.

“It is our responsibility as lawmakers to protect Vermonters and be proactive especially when it is hard, and we must have the courage to do more than one hard thing at a time,” she said. “Supporting the Global Warming Solutions Act is supporting economic resilience and protecting the most vulnerable from the devastating impacts of climate change.”

Michael Bielawski is a reporter for True North. Send him news tips at bielawski82@yahoo.com and follow him on Twitter @TrueNorthMikeB.

Image courtesy of ORCA Media
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25 thoughts on “House passes Global Warming Solutions Act with slight veto-proof majority

  1. Couple thoughts. Vermont legislators spend too much time in Montpelier and need to justify their existence. We need shorter sessions that focus on safety of Vermonters and economic growth.
    Secondly, our Democrats and Progs must be listening very closely to AOC. She says if we don’t do something now we have only 10 years to live (6 months ago she said 12 years) and to do nothing could lead to WWII.. yeah she said that.
    So apparently our majority legislative leaders are heeding the advice and warnings of AOC. VOTE Republican 2020.

  2. If you want proof that global warming is utter nonsense, just look at the west coast. The liberals are running around saying the forest fires are caused by global warming — but the fires all stop at the Canadian border.

  3. What makes this even more sad and ironic is that the carbon dioxide-global warming catastrophe scenario is a myth!
    If somebody is worried about the CO2, they should encourage more plants to grow, which is the only thing that takes it from the atmosphere.
    But ice core records show that the atmosphere has has way more CO2 in the past, without extreme warming.
    The fact is, the earth has been warming since the last ice age, and when that ends, it will be heading to another ice age, but we will be long gone by then.
    So bottom line, this is insane; cultish, fear-mongering, stampeding herds of semi-intelligent humans, who think they are very smart because they were told that in school, are destroying our civilization in order to “save the planet”.

  4. If the Governor does not veto this bill, and the vote commitment does not change in the house, for veto procedure, and this becomes law….. Vt is one election away from bankruptcy. It will happen during this next two years, and the next election in two years, will be subordinated in cleaning up the mess. The only thing that is saving us right at the moment is low interest rates.

    Take note folks, because what is around the corner could be the worst ride of our lifetime. This all started the day Phil Hoff was sworn in back in ’62. Whomever made the statement that the liberals are a patient lot, this is the story, right here. It took 58 years.

  5. Here are some background numbers regarding GWSA.

    Most legislators have not a clue regarding the reductions of CO2 and the turnkey capital cost to achieve them.

    This comment includes observations regarding the Energy Action Network CO2 reduction plan for the 2020 – 2025 period
    https://www.eanvt.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/EAN-report-2020-final.pdf

    In 2007, the Legislature passed a law that called for CO2 reductions:

    25% below 1990 by 2012, i.e., 8.59 – 2.15 = 6.44 million metric ton.
    50% below 1990 by 2028, i.e., 8.59 – 4.30 = 4.29 MMt
    75% below 1990 by 2050, i.e., 8.59 – 6.44 = 2.15 MMt

    Gross Vermont emissions. See fig. 1 of URL
    https://dec.vermont.gov/sites/dec/files/aqc/climate-change/documents/_Vermont_Greenhouse_Gas_Emissions_Inventory_Update_1990-2015.pdf

    Actual emissions:
    9.00 MMt in 2012
    9.99 MMt in 2015
    9.76 MMt in 2016

    Gross Vermont Emissions and Forecast: Brief
    Estimated emissions. See page 18 of URL
    9.41 MMt in 2017
    9.02 MMt in 2018
    https://dec.vermont.gov/sites/dec/files/aqc/climate-change/documents/_Vermont_Greenhouse_Gas_Emissions_Inventory_and_Forecast_1990-2016.pdf

    Gross US emissions: About 6,700 MMt in 2018.
    Vermont emissions are just a tiny fraction of US emissions.
    https://www.epa.gov/ghgemissions/sources-greenhouse-gas-emissions

    Enforcement of CEP, courtesy of GWSA mandates
    2028; SHALL be 4.30 MMt, or 50% below 1990
    The 2028 goal is physically and financially impossible!!

    Here are various GWSA-MANDATED 2050 goals:
    See fig 16 of URL
    https://dec.vermont.gov/sites/dec/files/aqc/climate-change/documents/_Vermont_Greenhouse_Gas_Emissions_Inventory_Update_1990-2015.pdf

    2050; SHALL be 2.15 MMt, or 75% below 1990
    2050; SHALL be 1.72 MMt, or 80% below 1990
    2050; SHALL be 0.43 MMt, or 95% below 1990

    ENERGY ACTION NETWORK

    EAN made estimates of what it would take to reduce CO2 from 9.76 million metric ton, at end 2016, to 7.46 MMt, at end 2025, or 2.281 MMt.

    That would be 8.59, in 1990 – 7.46, in 2025 = 1.13 MMt below 1990, or 13% below 1990
    https://www.eanvt.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/EAN-report-2020-final.pdf

    The turnkey capital cost would be EXCEEDING $15.046 billion during 2020 – 2025, about $3.010 billion/y.

    Amortizing the cost of the mostly short-life assets (EVs, ASHPs, battery storage systems, etc.), at 3.5% over 15 years, would require payments of $1.291 billion/y, more than offsetting the EAN ESTIMATED energy cost savings of 800/5 = $160 million/y, during the 2020 – 2025 period.

    Vermont’s existing RE spending is about $210 million/y, including Efficiency Vermont.
    The EAN spending during 2020 – 2025 would be about 15 times greater.

    HOWEVER, THERE IS A SMALL HITCH

    EAN, with help from VT-DPS:

    – Used fudged emission data for electricity, grams CO2/kWh
    – Did not consider upstream CO2 for heat pumps and electric vehicle analysis
    – Did not consider embodied CO2 of electric vehicles
    – Did not determine amortizing cost of the short life assets.

    Plus EAN did not make a detailed turnkey capital cost estimate to achieve its claimed CO2 reductions by 2025

    That means:

    CO2 reductions were GROSSLY OVERSTATED
    Cost savings were GROSSLY OVERSTATED

    All that was done to bamboozle the legislators get them to vote for GWSA, and to bamboozle the rest of Vermonters, who will be suffering for decades to come.

    All is explained in the following URLs

    http://www.windtaskforce.org/profiles/blogs/vermont-co2-reduction-of-ashps-is-based-on-misrepresentations
    http://www.windtaskforce.org/profiles/blogs/vermont-co2-reduction-of-evs-is-based-on-a-misrepresentation
    http://www.windtaskforce.org/profiles/blogs/response-to-energy-action-report-2019-to-reduce-co2-in-vermont

    NOTE: I sent these URLs to almost all legislators, and to VT-DPS, VT-PUC, and VT Media, who likely did not read them.

  6. Even if Scott vetos and it isn’t overridden, the writing is and has been on the wall for several decades. Vermont’s legislature has become so liberal and progressive leaning that there’s no going back. If GWSA fails this year, there’s a new biennium next year. Liberals are patient. The sad part is, this legislature is usurping their own power. It becomes the Judiciary that decides the economic fate of Vermont, not the Executive or legislative branches. I foresee a large migration in and out over the next few years as folks give up and leave- and are replaced by others that yearn for government control of their lives. Freedom and Unity it ain’t anymore.

  7. Vermont is a tiny dot in this world and what climate change are we going to make when the rest of the world does nothing climate change was been going on for millions of years and our effort will be minuscule plus if this passes Vermonter will be leaving be groves because taxes are unbearable

  8. This is a great issue for candidates to run on. Governor Scott’s conditions that people not be allowed to sue the state and that the legislature have to vote on any solutions proposed by the new council is extremely sensible and should resonate with a wide spectrum of voters.
    Having ideology and fear as the driver makes for very poor policy as evidenced by this bill.

    • Another view from the elitist middle-roaders. Between them and the Democrats, they are merely negotiating over how it will be implemented.

      • Ken,
        Actually requiring legislators to review and vote on what will be impractical schemes with negative consequences for our state may be the best way to stop it. Shumlin had to pull the plug on his single payer plan after finally acknowledging there was no way to make it work.
        Unfortunately we live in a state where for many ideology matters more than practicality or competence. The Progressive dominated city council in Burlington is a shinning example of that and the problems that result.

  9. see carton on solar fire truck on townhall today – where Vermont is headed, progressive socialists just don’t care! Kurt Schlichter novels may have to come true…

  10. I’ve lived in Vermont all my life. I keep seeing the tax rates going up and up. More mandates and legislation to hurt the lower middle class and poor people. So many people are being wiped out of their Savings, their Businesses, their Home’s and their Jobs! Most of our senators think Vermont can handle all of this without blinking an eye! GWSA is not going to work for the average Vermonter. The state is taxing the little guy out of Vermont, and turning it into a Rich Person State.

  11. We endlessly hear of “inequity” in our society from the left……”Inequities” so bad that we’re told politicians and governmental entities must hire “Equity officers” to insure that regular people get and keep a greater share of their money……….But, with the GWSA, the left takes us in a direction totally opposite of “Equity”.

    With the GWSA, the regular people will see their future monthly electricity bills sky rocket and their hard earned money transferred to out of state renewable energy investors and developers.

    With the passage of H.688, Speaker Johnson and her colleagues have managed to create the greatest opportunity for the transfer of money away from regular folks to the renewable energy industry since the invention of the light bulb………Where are the “Equity” officers when the people need them?

    With the “Equity Officers” on break, it is now up to Governor Scott to rescue the regular people by vetoing H.688. With Gov. Scott’s veto, the Vermont legislature has one more opportunity to get it right by sustaining the veto and allowing Vermonters to keep their money.

  12. I read a ton of news and I see nothing going on anywhere else in the country about all this baloney except for in Vermont.
    It’s really no wonder that people with functioning brains are fleeing the state..

    Here you have thousands of young families struggling to make ends meet, their top priority is food, heat and keeping a roof over their heads.. and they have the nuts to be focused on yet another scam to rob us and destroy capitalism-at a time when so many people are in despair?
    Vermont has become a very sick state, it really has. And believe me, we are watching in NH because the river ain’t wide enough.

    • “It’s really no wonder that people with functioning brains are fleeing the state..”

      Amen…. <—- Am I allowed to say that in a "Vermont" based forum?

      "And believe me, we are watching in NH because the river ain’t wide enough."

      Our family put 1000 miles between us an VT. Hopefully the cancer will stay at bay for a few generations. I have family in NH and they are equally concerned. They are now looking at Tennessee if it looks to be spreading.

      • As I look at this, I really wonder sometimes if Vermont, that is chuck full
        of “Do-Gooders” ever stops to think about the effect the state has on their neighbor right next door.. and further, thanks a lot of growing the career of Bernie Sanders! What a thorn in the side of America he’s turned out to be.
        We have people that leave NH to get away from Vermont because
        the “Vermont Effect” on our state is now so concerning to us.

        We are watching Vermont becoming very extreme and with seemingly a complete loss of the common sense and the practicality that IS The Peoples Values up here in New England.. you’ve totally lost your roots Vermont, and it’s been an awful thing to watch.
        And guess what, as your people are driven out of the state this is causing a building boom over here in our state.
        So these same people care so much about Vermont’s environment, are then driving their population out to then cause us to lose our own fields to development-which then effects OUR Environment. You aren’t going to stop peoples desires to do what they want to do to survive, all you do is re-locate these issues into other states.
        Which helps our economy yes, but a lot of us are concerned about over development too. There needs to be balance as we all know. But increasing population can be as big as a problem as losing population.

        Vermont is totally becoming a New Hampshire problem..we don’t recognize our own towns all along the river anymore. I was just in the middle of NH this weekend and it was nothing but Trump signs everywhere (We are actually a Red State afterall) I never saw a single BLM sign. I go over to Orford to get to 91 and it was nothing but extreme Leftwing political activism..literally plastering both sides of the road all down through Fairlee. It was not like this anywhere over here except along the river.
        It was ugly and it was not the way that things used to be here at all- or in Vermont.
        And then, even worse, I saw a handwritten sign in Orford offering a $1000 dollar reward for information about who destroyed their Veterans Monument. NH LOVES it’s Veterans, as the sign proved. How Terrible!! I really think it’s pretty clear what happened.
        We are just disgusted. For crying out loud, reel that state in !!

        • That’s what progressives do. They make it so they can’t even afford to live in their home town so they move next door then do the same thing yet for some reason expect different results. Utopia is expensive, and only the elite will be able to afford it. VT has become a satellite of NYC,Boston, etc… it’s the rural stomping ground for the liberal elite.

          It;s a building boom down here. We can’t build schools fast enough. My town just built it’s 3rd K-5 school in 15 years. All why they flee states like VT, ILL, etc. Why because the unions, and progressive elite have made it impossible to afford to live there. A $500k house down here costs less in then $1800/year in property taxes. Same house in VT would be 10k and probably 12k in NH. That’s $80k in my pocket over 10 years. Nice fund for my kids college. At least in NH there are no income taxes and regressive sales taxes like in VT. Exactly why NH has the highest median income in New England.

          It’s certainly sad to watch from afar … but not surprising at all. Just glad we jumped from the sinking boat in time.

        • I hear you Laura. I have a daughter and son inlaw in NH. Their town enacted the strictest mask mandate anywhere in the state. They see lots of down country plates on election days? The Dartmouth College and hospital folks in the Upper Valley are part of the liberal left imho. Lebanon and Enfield appear to be the only affordable places to live in the Valley.

  13. As hard as it to believe I see even HIGHER taxes in the future for the folks in VT. So who gets to pay for all those law suits. Every single one who pays taxes. Who disproportionately pays a high percentage of their income to regressive taxes in VT!

    The poor and lower middle class. Way to go VT. Land of the elite.

    Looks like a hammer a sickle should be added to the state flag.

  14. The Vermont Legislators should not be mandating what Vermonters must do in the future. They should be addressing the problems we have now. The GWSA is terrible legislation and the Gov.Scott should veto it.

  15. “Supporting the Global Warming Solutions Act is supporting economic resilience and protecting the most vulnerable from the devastating impacts of climate change.”

    where have we heard the protecting the most vulnerable before,,, um maybe like
    they protected the ol folks homes and rehab centers from the commie krud????

    Leftist regressive s driving another nail in the coffin of a free independent Vermont,,
    Maybe we should just change the state name to Kali nord…..

    • Vermont loves to emulate California.

      Solar panels, wind turbines, battery systems, demand and supply management, electric cars, heat pumps, and GWSA mandates to do impossible CO2 reductions in a hurry.

      Where would all the money come from?
      Tens of thousands of Vermont households and businesses already are hanging on by a mere thread

      Maybe Vermont should be renamed Calizuela-East

      My cousin, and her mother and father, in Los Angeles, bought a house in Idaho to move there as soon as possible, after they sell their house in LA.

      • “r, in Los Angeles, bought a house in Idaho to move there as soon as possible”

        While that’s a very smart move on your relatives part Willem, the commie d rats
        in Cali are proposing a bill to be able to tax people who do move out.. not sure how
        they would enforce it but shows the lengths they will go to steal your money.. Yes
        VT’s flatlander overlords do want to emulate Cali’s corrupt gov platform as there isn’t a creative thinking mind among the lot of them to figure out solutions. They choose virtue
        signaling agenda over actual work to help Vermonters..

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