Joe Benning: Global Warming Solutions Act is no solution

This commentary is by Sen. Joe Benning, who represents the Caledonia-Orange District in the Vermont Senate. He is also a Republican candidate for lieutenant governor of Vermont.

For a very long time I’ve considered myself an environmentalist. In elementary school I helped our school develop its first Earth Day program. In high school I helped organize what we called “Walk for Mankind,” to draw attention to human impacts on the world. In college we fought against the acid rain defoliation of our mountain forests caused by Midwest coal-fired energy plants. As president of the Lyndonville Rotary Club I spearheaded the effort to clean up approximately five miles of the Passumpsic River. That effort removed 32 tons of metal car parts, almost 500 tires and over 3,000 pounds of general trash- all taken to proper disposal/recycling facilities.

state of Vermont

State Sen. Joe Benning, R-Caledonia

Each effort required the use of proper tools to accomplish the task. The river clean up alone required a crane, a bucket loader, hand tools and plenty of boats. I spent many hours with snorkeling gear diving underwater to hook up a chain to numerous car and truck frames, likely deposited there initially to protect the river banks after the flood of 1927. The right tools helped achieve the objective. The wrong tools do not. In fact, they sometimes result in bigger problems.

I should pause to note that I long ago accepted the fact that mankind’s use of fossil fuels is problematic. Fifteen seconds with my nose close to the end of my motorcycle’s tailpipes with the engine running makes me sick. Quickly. Multiplied by the likely billions of running motor vehicles on the planet, it is not rocket science to understand that’s a heck of a lot of pollution thrown into the atmosphere. We need to fix that.

But the tiny population of Vermont can’t fix anything unless it uses the right tools. This essay deals with a wrong tool — the Global Warming Solutions Act and its progeny: the Clean Heat Standard bill recently vetoed by Governor Scott.

The Global Warming Solutions Act took previous “goals” for lowering our carbon output and turned them into “mandates.” No legislator (being honest) truly believed we would meet those mandates without draconian measures. To avoid facing controversial proposals head on, a bureaucracy was created to make suggestions for carbon reduction, which insulated legislators from the direct wrath of Vermonters who’d be most impacted. To nobody’s surprise, that bureaucracy suggested imposition of (in plain English) a heavy tax on fossil fuels. Every Vermonter using an internal combustion engine and/or a heating system powered by fossil fuels would have to pay it. The hope would be less consumption, and proponents could thus claim Vermont did something about climate change.

The sad part of this feel-good measure is that it can’t achieve the objective. If the total carbon output of Vermont’s miniscule population disappeared tomorrow, it would have virtually no scientifically registerable impact on climate change. In exchange the only thing we’d accomplish would be to drive a substantial portion of our population into financial distress. That’s called using the wrong tool. I’m not suggesting doing nothing. With Vermont’s limited resources, we should be using those resources to weatherize every Vermont home to enable resilience. Resilience and conservation are two proper tools when it comes to addressing climate change.

As a Republican candidate for Lt. Governor, I find it even sadder that all four of the Democratic candidates in this race recently took Governor Phil Scott to task for properly vetoing the Clean Heating Standard bill that would have imposed that heavy tax on fossil fuels. Their unwillingness to consider the severe financial consequences caused by use of this improper tool is troubling. Vermonters cannot give up heating their homes or traveling to work. I cannot condone the use of this improper tool, especially when its imposition on such a small population does virtually nothing to accomplish the objective.

We need to use our heads, as well as the proper tools, when it comes to addressing climate change.  The Global Warming Solutions Act is no solution.

Images courtesy of Public domain and state of Vermont
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19 thoughts on “Joe Benning: Global Warming Solutions Act is no solution

  1. There’s a huge problem, Senator: there is no catastrophic CO2 warming.

    Due diligence: measure twice, cut once. This is common sense. The bigger the task, the more careful the due diligence. Yet with supposed catastrophic CO2 warming, there’s zero due diligence– none. The IPCC is just a club of like-minded individuals with many failures to vet the evidence. Much has been written about this, including Donna Laframboise’s “The Delinquent Teenager Who Was Mistaken for the World’s Top Climate Expert” and Ross McKitrick’s “What is Wrong with the IPCC?” Also see Steve Koonin’s book, “Unsettled.”

    And then there’s the paper on the dying Great Barrier Reef, with 46 co-authors. Yet, it’s fiction. https://jimreagen.substack.com/p/global-warming?s=w

    So the first thing we should do if we want to make huge social and political changes in order to “stay safe” from catastrophic CO2 warming is vet the science: how solid is it, what are the real dangers, etc. This is common sense. Yet no one who is promoting this theory, and the supposedly “necessary” changes, wants to do this. Why not? These folks studiously avoid “red teaming” the science but yet insist that it’s all “beyond debate” despite that there’s huge debate over nearly every aspect of climate science. Does this make any sense? No. It makes no sense whatsoever. The science is, indeed, full of holes: anyone can see this if they care to look closely. We know where the holes are, too; it’s no secret. But all of this is ignored.

    To a hammer, everything looks like a nail. So now, without any rigor in thinking or examining causation, we point to everything and say “global warming!” But either the things we point to aren’t really happening, or else they are but the cause isn’t CO2. Reef degradation is an excellent example of this: it’s happening, but it’s due primarily to over-fishing for well-known scientific reasons. It has zero to do with CO2.

    Please perform due diligence on CO2 warming theory before advocating policies to tackle a non-existent problem, or at best, a very minor problem that we can certainly adapt to. But it looks to me like it’s just very bad science elevated to the level of certain and irrefutable truth and sexed-up by models.

    Real pollutants need to be handled– of course. CO2 isn’t a pollutant. It’s necessary for life. And what you breath from your motorcycle tailpipe that makes you dizzy is carbon monoxide, not carbon dioxide.

    Jim1

  2. Joe,

    You don’t suppose slaughtering The unborn with your support is keeping our carbon levels down in vermont do you?

    Sorry Joe but I don’t know how anyone could support you as lieutenant governor in the state of vermont.

    You sold every vermonter out when you decided to try to oust Donald trump as their president.

    Just looke where we are today because you’re such a big rino and support our traitorous governor phil scott.

    Another one of your great moves… You should hang your head in shame but I don’t think you know the meaning of the word.

    The closest you should get to that position is waving hi to Greg Thayer after the election

  3. Joe Benning,

    Please stop using the word “weatherizing”, which usually costs about $10,000/house.

    Such a measure is not anywhere near sufficient to displace 100% of fossil fuel Btus with electricity Btus; IT IS A MERE BAND-AID.
    It is akin to whistling past the graveyard.

    A house would have to be highly sealed, highly insulated, R40 walls, R60 ceiling, R20 basement, R7 windows, R10 doors, with exhaust hear recovery system, etc., to have air source heat pumps ECONOMICALLY displace 100% of fossil fuel Btus with electricity Btus

    Weatherizing Vermont’s Energy-Hog Houses

    Vermont has a government-subsidized weatherizing program, that aims to decrease the energy consumption for heating, cooling and electricity of average Vermont houses. The average weatherizing cost is about $10,000/house.

    However, owners who have weatherized should not think their house has become suitable for air source heat pumps to displace 100% of fossil fuel Btus with electricity Btus. Nothing could further from the truth!

    I have a well-sealed, well-insulated house, i.e., it already is weatherized, but my 3 air source heat pumps, with 6 heads, economically displace only 35% of my fossil fuel Btus with electricity Btus, based on 2 years of operating data.

    An air source heat pump in an average Vermont house displaces only 27.6% of the fossil fuel Btus with electricity Btus, as confirmed by the CADMUS survey report.

    A Vermont house would have to be highly sealed and highly insulated, and be oriented/designed for passive solar gain, to economically displace 100% of fossil fuel Btus with electricity Btus.

    This is well known by energy engineers at VT-DPS, and EAN, and VEIC, and Efficiency-Vermont, etc.
    Those engineers likely know of some very energy-efficient Vermont houses, that can displace 100% of fossil fuel Btus with electricity Btus, year-after-year.

    Air Source Heat Pumps are Uneconomical at Low Temperatures

    Air source heat pumps are very uneconomical at low temperatures, which is exactly the condition when your house requires the most space heat. With heat pump system losses, aka overhead, it would almost be like heating your house with electric heat; a very expensive hardship on cold days.

    If a house had a space heat requirement of 11,500 Btu/h at 47F, the propane cost would be about 40 c/h, but the electricity cost would be about 16 c/h, for a saving of about 24 c/h

    If a house had a space heat requirement of 35,000 Btu/h at 0F, the propane cost would be about 121 c/h, but the electricity cost would be about 141 c/h, for a loss of about 20 c/h

    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-losers-in-my-vermont-house-as-they-are-in

  4. A voice of reason. Senator Benning is pragmatic, realistic and articulates well how he cares for Vermonters.

    I appreciate your words here Mr. Benning.

  5. Of course it’s no solution Joe, it’s a leftist feel good policy like all the crap they try
    to shove down our throat that won’t accomplish one itty bit towards global cooling when
    huge creators of co2 are not going to do anything.. It’s our punishment for letting the
    marxist nazis control us. We should be proud of our minuscule 0.03% and leave it at
    that. On their other agenda of golf cart cars that also will produce more co2 then it diminishes, plus ruin the landscape and kill millions mining the lithium/cobalt but hey it’s
    all about the feelz good…

  6. NO VOTE HERE MR BENNING……
    want someone on top of it before its past the point of no return……

  7. Senator Benning……..You’re a day late and dollar short with you pronouncement that the Global Warming Solutions Act is “no solution”.

    Vermonters have been saying and pointing out the “no solution” problem from the minute the bill was introduced and pushed through into law…….Nothing new with your late awaking on the GWSA at this point.

    So tell us specifically what you’re going to do as lieutenant governor to rid the state of this oppressive/accomplish nothing law………The voters don’t want “a day late and dollar short” hand wringing…..They want to hear solutions!

    • Peter: I made this same argument on the Senate floor when the Global Warming Solutions Act was originally debated a couple years ago. I believe my subsequent vote against it is recorded. We lost. I made this same argument on the Senate floor again when debating the Clean Heat Standard bill. I believe my subsequent vote against it is also recorded. We lost again. Not much more I could have done since those of us with this mindset are in a severe minority. The solution? Simple: get more legislators elected with our mindset. I’ve been saying that since 2010 when I first got elected in every forum I’ve been given the chance to say it. Should I get elected to the position of Lt. Governor, I’ll continue to say it in every forum I get the chance to.

      • Senator Benning……..Thank you for your response……It’s much appreciated as far too many Vermonters believe that their elected representatives in the legislature are not listening.

      • Is it true you support the VT Constitutional Amendment to kill unborn people? First let me say the Reproduction what-ever act is a false statement to begin with. There are no laws in the U.S., I am aware, of that bans reproduction. What this amendment does is codify constitutionally the exact opposite of reproduction – the act killing of unborn people. I believe there is a compromise and that is people can terminate their soon to be person before a heart beat is detected. In fact from what I recently heard from an abortion supporter over 90% of abortions occur before a heart beat. And there are common sense solutions for late term medical issue with a birth that may be dangerous. The rape and incest arguments are at best
        fallacious at best. The right to choose is also problematic. Society/The government has always interfered with our right to choose; just refer to VT Statues -on line. Heck you can’t ride a motorcycle without a helmet. You can’t commit suicide, you can’t kill someone you choose to kill and on and on.
        So! Do you support infanticide?

  8. A try RINO…

    JOE, anyone in their right mind would never trust you.

    You represent the slaughter of The unborn.

    You are not a republican…you are a disgrace and destroying us from within…

    Please seitch parties and stop selling us out…

  9. Thank you Senator for sticking your neck out with a bit of truth. We need more like you to point out the politics of revenge that the left has imposed on us citizens of Vermont. It really is pretty simple. The left perceives “Americans” to be their enemy and have made us so. They are deliberately enacting laws to HURT us. This is what they do. Thye have turned themselves into sad, vitriolic and vengeful warriors against a foe that is only in their minds.

    • crankyoldgeezer…thank you for sharing that link, wow oh my oh dear…..this is scary
      everyone listen to it……

  10. “the only thing we’d accomplish would be to drive a substantial portion of our population into financial distress.”
    That is exactly what they want.

    • Into DEPENDENCY?

      More and more folks would need a government program, managed by the friends and families and associates of Dem/Prog legislators, to get by/kept in dependency forever, to increase the caseload.

      It has been the Socialist Montpelier mode of operation applied to whatever cause works, such as COVID, drugs, crime, global warming, blm, gay rights, etc.

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