Alas, Vermont’s progressives were snoozing and missed the chance to be the nation’s “first” to ban sales of gas-powered vehicles — California announced such a ban last year, effective in 2035. Massachusetts also beat Vermont in banning new car sales. Even New Jersey is ahead of Vermont in this fantastical folly, which is a perfect example of impossible utopian goals being legislated by out-of-touch bureaucrats with no concept of constitutional or other limits on their seemingly infinite power.
In its push to ape California Gov. Gavin Newsom, New Jersey is also paralleling Vermont’s unconstitutional Global Warming Solutions Act (GWSA). A New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection report lists actions required to meet a 2006 legislative mandate that calls for reducing the state’s greenhouse gas emissions by 80 percent compared to 2006 levels.
“The target for that is 2050. … And because of the large amount of emissions generated by passenger vehicles, this means that 100 percent of new vehicle sales in New Jersey will need to be electric by 2035 if the 2050 emissions reduction target is to be met,” the report concludes.
These carte blanche “legislative mandates” are the new tool to hyper-expand government and get citizens and their complaints out of the way of “saving” the planet — even though electric vehicles and solar panels are actually accelerating environmental degradation and cannot possibly solve the consumption problem. It is just more manufacturing and pollution repackaged in an ideological boondoggle that makes billions of dollars for special interests while citizens are given a false sense that something has been accomplished. Since these proposals are impossible as well as unconstitutional, they will fail. And the politicians who have opportunistically leapt onto this idiotic bandwagon will evaporate, leaving our children to clean up the economic and environmental disaster compounded by left-wing dithering on behalf of corporate profiteers.
Americans are waking up to these truths, but Vermont’s progressive Legislature remains stuporous, or is stubbornly opposed to the realities on the ground. Under Vermont’s GWSA, the Legislature can “take actions” to meet vague, arbitrary goals that are unaccountable to the Constitution or even to the limits of what is possible. Does the due process clause no longer apply to Vermont businesses that sell combustion engine vehicles, or has Vermont gone full socialist and will take over the economy with a five-year plan? (After all, it wants to cover rents for tenants. Will it then become the landlord, and just oversee all rentals like it plans to do with the automotive industry?) And what is banning snowmobiles or ATVs outright, compared to mandating we buy expensive electric cars? Perhaps swimming pools, golfing, and large lawns will be circumscribed by the new GWSA government. But it surely is not a democratic, or even constitutional, process.
President Joe Biden has jumped on the inefficient electric car bandwagon, announcing last summer a sort of “cash for clunkers” redux that will be as environmentally destructive and stupid as when then President Obama did it. Every time a combustion-engine vehicle is prematurely “retired” to be replaced by a “more efficient” vehicle, a gross environmental offense occurs — it took the equivalent of many hundreds of barrels of fossil fuels to manufacture those “clunkers,” and manufacturing new ones in their stead creates exponentially more CO2 and chemical pollution than continuing to drive a “clunker” that has already contributed the bulk of its environmental footprint. (It is akin to “recycling — use it till it dies rather than artificially shorten its useful life!). Plus there are issues of equity — it is regressive to subsidize expensive vehicles that poor citizens can’t afford.
Like California’s plan to prohibit new car sales, Biden’s plan is more promise than delivery, empty words followed by counter-productive action:
The piece that would impact drivers the most is a plan to offer incentives or rebates for people to swap their older, less fuel-efficient cars for EVs made in America. … During today’s speech, Biden didn’t share details of the idea such as how much the incentives would be or what constitutes bad fuel efficiency. … The plan seems rooted in a proposal from Sen. Chuck Schumer (D–New York) that would cost $454 billion over 10 years to offer incentives for people to trade in their gas car for an electric, hybrid, or hydrogen fuel-cell vehicle.
These proposals pump up sales of manufactured goods by large corporations, subsidized inefficiently by the government. That is, they increase profits for certain industries while increasing pollution for future generations, all while virtue-signaling that a solution has been discovered. Nothing could be more untrue.
Vermont’s Progressives likely already have plans drafted to follow suit and ban combustion engines. But the plan is pathetically shallow and demonstrably impossible. As one commentator recently observed, California has closed down its nuclear plant and is rushing to replace all power with so-called “renewables,” but it continues to consume out-of-state electricity to meet demand:
“Green” energy policies are a disaster everywhere they are being implemented, but California will probably crash and burn before the other states that have gone down the “green” path.
Perhaps Vermont will benefit from not being first this time, and sober up to the reality of our aging infrastructure and the absence of any new technology to rescue us overnight. Common sense is in short supply in Montpelier. When the renewable boondoggle implodes, perhaps real solutions to limitless consumption will be sought, rather than false panaceas that benefit a few corporate and political “stakeholders” while dragging us all backward economically and environmentally.
John Klar is an attorney and farmer residing in Brookfield, and the former pastor of the First Congregational Church of Westfield. © Copyright True North Reports 2021. All rights reserved.