Keelan: Vermont Climate Council mandates will cause ‘outcry and divisiveness’

By Don Keelan

I am pleased to report that my Arlington office greenhouse gas emissions, for the year ending August 31, 2021, emit just a few metric tons with heating and electricity usage making close to 80% of the total. That’s a significant reduction over the last several years.

While I am not required to report my findings to any government agency, such as the Securities and Exchange Commission, I believe it is essential to stay on top of the data using the Carbon Footprint Calculator.

Don Keelan

Collecting the data for carbon emissions reporting is no easy task; the data collection system lacks standardization and accuracy.

In my case, I calculated what carbon emissions are produced and included the estimated emissions of those automobiles that bring visitors to my office. It does not end there. I also had to derive the impact of the Staples, USPS, Fed Ex, and UPS deliveries, although deliveries have diminished since my retirement two years ago. However, I continue to drive my car each day, the one mile to the office.

I can’t imagine how much work and cost it must be for a publicly-traded company to extract its carbon emissions.

For example, in a recent Wall Street Journal article, Microsoft Corp. reported that its 2017 carbon emissions were 22 million metric tons (later reduced to 11 million). Interestingly, only 3% of the emissions came from the company’s manufacturing. The balance, referred to as Scope 3 emissions, came from employees driving to work, suppliers producing products for the company, and if you can believe this, users producing carbon emissions while playing with a Microsoft product, such as Xbox.

Just how accurate are these numbers that are being reported to shareholders, lenders, and the SEC? For many corporate filers, the data is compiled by the companies’ outside auditors or consultants.

Back to my carbon output: it has come down significantly after replacing all of the office windows and bringing in a new oil-fired furnace that operates at 91% efficiency, not in the high 60’s as was the case of the old furnace.

The office went from consuming 1,400 gallons of oil annually to 400; the make-over wasn’t inexpensive, about $25,000 several years ago.

I was looking forward to additional improvements by having my next-door neighbor, who does the landscaping on my small plot, forgo his gas-fired lawn mower, hedge trimmer, leaf blower, and weed wacker. Unfortunately, he declined my suggestion of using a rotary mower, bellows, sickle, and hand-held hedge cutter.

It was wise of me to have done the window and furnace work when I did. Because if I interpret the latest publication from the Vermont Legislative Climate Solutions Cases correctly, what were once “statute aspirational targets” will now be “mandates.”

The VLCS and the Vermont Climate Council are reportedly developing the “roadmap” to reduce Vermont’s greenhouse gas emissions by 26% below 2005 levels by the year 2025. Suppose these mandates are forced upon Vermonters — home, business, nonprofits, municipalities, schools, and rental apartment owners. The outcry and divisiveness will be far greater than Vermont experienced when Act 60 or civil unions came into existence.

Asking a company to calculate how much a product end-user is churning out in carbon emissions is ludicrous.

I hope to do even better by adopting what was reported in the WSJ piece concerning the National Resource Defense Council’s suggestion: we should all convert our toilet paper usage to recycled paper. In my case, I can go from being responsible for producing 839 annual pounds of carbon to 260 pounds.

Meanwhile, I have written enough. I am going home now to maintain the 36 deciduous trees recently planted along my Battenkill River frontage by 350VT, Trout Unlimited, Battenkill Watershed Alliance, and Bennington County Regional Planning. The trees are to provide riparian support for the river’s fish 50 years from now.

Don Keelan writes a bi-weekly column and lives in Arlington, Vermont.

Image courtesy of Public domain

11 thoughts on “Keelan: Vermont Climate Council mandates will cause ‘outcry and divisiveness’

  1. Vermont’s Climate Council is a joke, this gaggle of fools is only interested in one thing
    and that is the Liberal agenda !!

    Yes, Vermont saving the world from pollution, what a joke as the promotors of this BS
    agenda fly around the world in their personal jets stating we need to change our personal
    lifestyle, then condemn us for mowing our lawns, hypocrites and fools follow them !!

    But the big three China, Russia, and India spew more toxin in a day than Vermont will
    in a hundred years, but Vermont’s council clowns, think my gas boiler or lawnmower or
    leave blower an issue and they are in charge, what happened to common sense !!

    Wake up Vermont, put fools in charge and this is what you get.

  2. Excerpt from


    I installed three heat pumps by Mitsubishi, rated 24,000 Btu/h at 47F, Model MXZ-2C24NAHZ2, each with 2 heads, each with remote control; 2 in the living room, 1 in the kitchen, and 1 in each of 3 bedrooms.
    The HPs have DC variable-speed, motor-driven compressors and fans, which improves the efficiency of low-temperature operation.
    The HPs last about 15 years. Turnkey capital cost was $24,000

    My Well-Sealed, Well-Insulated House

    The HPs are used for heating and cooling my 35-y-old, 3,600 sq ft, well-sealed/well-insulated house, except the basement, which has a near-steady temperature throughout the year, because it has 2” of blueboard, R-10, on the outside of the concrete foundation and under the basement slab, which has saved me many thousands of space heating dollars over the 35 years.

    I do not operate my HPs at 15F or below, because HPs would become increasingly less efficient with decreasing temperatures.
    The HP operating cost per hour would become greater than of my efficient propane furnace. See table 3

    High Electricity Prices

    Vermont forcing, with subsidies and/or GWSA mandates, the build-outs of expensive RE electricity systems, such as wind, solar, batteries, etc., would be counter-productive, because it would:

    1) Increase already-high electric rates and
    2) Worsen the already-poor economics of HPs (and of EVs)!!

  3. A question for the Climate Council:

    About couple years ago, like Don, I bought a new oil fired furnace plus replaced my 275 gallon oil tank……Cost about $12,000………The furnace is serviced annually and operates very efficiently. I assume that there are many thousands of other Vermonters with similar circumstances.

    Here’s the question for any member of the Climate Council to answer : My wife and I are both in our late seventies, will we be able to sell our house in a couple of years with an oil furnace in it without any sort of penalty under the new standards the Climate Council will be proposing?

    This is a serious issue and our situation is undoubtedly very common in Vermont. The Climate Council should have considered this and have an answer to my question…….A await an answer to the question.

    Members of the Vermont legislature, who represent us, will be considering all the Climate Council recommendations and also must consider issues of this nature and act to protect us from financial harm.

    How many others of you have a similar situation and what do you think?

  4. All the mandates and spending of billions is for naught… China said NO to Kerry’s and the Obiden regimes climate initiatives so anything the USA does is for nothing..

    and the billions biden gave to the Paris Accord are now just flushed down the toilet
    of leftist dreams and wishes..

  5. The purpose of my comments is to inform folks wind, solar, battery systems, heat pumps, electric vehicles and $million dollar transit buses, are the very last things Vermonters need.

    The GWSA Committee folks should know by now, the wind conditions in New England are the poorest in the US, except for the South, and the solar conditions in New England are the poorest in the US, except for the rainy, cloudy Seattle area.

    GWSA Committee folks should know by now, Vermonters need very efficient housing and other buildings, which need very low-capacity heating and cooling systems, and very efficient lighting systems, and very efficient appliances, and Vermonters need very high-mileage vehicles, such as the 54 mpg, Toyota Prius, non plug-in.

    All that would mean, existing electric grids and generating plants would be more than adequate to serve future needs.

    All that would reduce CO2 at the very lowest cost, plus it would save money each year for many years.

    Vermont would be seen as a rational, real leader, putting the horse before the cart.
    People from all other states would come to Vermont to learn how we did it.
    No socialistic experimentation need to be involved.
    Just good old common sense.

    BTW, that good old common sense is being drowned out by centralized command/control, so very much favored by certain folks, who have the chutzpah to tell us THEY know better.

  6. I’m not sure how these 3 words wound up together like this: “Climate Council mandates”
    I am tempted to laugh.

    Also tempted to point out that warming causes CO2 to rise…..It is not the other way around.
    And thus the entire discussion…..fades away,,,,,[Sigh]

    Then I remember it is the age of COVID………a time that has to proved to everyone who has an IQ
    and a bit of science expertise that…….NO AMOUNT OF HUMAN STUPIDITY SHOULD SURPRISE US.




    A 2021 Subaru Outback, medium SUV, has 32.5 cu. ft. of cargo space behind the rear seats and 75.7 cubic feet with the rear seats folded down, standard AWD, range about 540 miles in summer, costs about $27,000; no options, no destination charge, no sales tax, no subsidies.

    A 2021 Hyundai Kona, compact SUV, has 31 cu. ft. of cargo space behind its rear seats and 61.9 cubic feet with these seats folded, AWD not available (unsuitable for rural New England), range about 258 miles EPA combined, cost about $37,390; no options, no destination charge, no sales tax, no subsidies.

    A 2021 Model Y, compact SUV, has 68 cu. ft of cargo space, split between a front trunk and a large rear cargo area, standard AWD, range about 326 miles, cost about $49,990; no options, no destination charge, no sales tax, no subsidies.

    Amortizing the MSRP difference of 37,390, Kona – 27,000, Outback = $10,390 at 3.5% for 10 years would be $1,233/y, or 12.3 c/mile, if 10,560 mile/y

    Amortizing the MSRP difference of 49,990, Model Y – 27,000, Outback = $21,990 at 3.5% for 10 years would be $2,610/y, or 26.1 c/mile, if 10,560 mile/y

    The cost of amortizing the MSRP difference of gasoline vehicles vs equivalent EVs should be added to the cost of operating EVs. See Notes and table 5

    NOTE: On-the-road data from privately owned EVs was analyzed: 158,468,000 miles from 21,600 EVs
    EV travel ranges from 9,548 to 9.697 miles/y. This article uses 10,560 miles/y. See table 7
    See page 17 of URL

    NOTE: Annual travel of gasoline vehicles:

    1) Light duty truck/van, 11,991miles/y
    2) LDV, 11,507/y
    3) Car, 11,370/y
    See image in URL



    This article describes the efficiency of electric vehicles, EVs, and their charging loss, when charging at home and on-the-road, and the economics, when compared with efficient gasoline vehicles.

    In this article,

    Total cost of an EV, c/mile = Operating cost, c/mile + Owning cost, c/mile, i.e., amortizing the difference of the MSRPs of an EV versus an equivalent, efficient gasoline vehicle; no options, no destination charge, no sales tax, no subsidies.

    CO2 reduction of equivalent vehicles, on a lifetime, A-to-Z basis = CO2 emissions of an efficient gasoline vehicle, say 30 to 40 mpg – CO2 emissions of an EV


    Real-World Concerns About the Economics of EVs

    It may not be such a good idea to have a proliferation of EVs, because of:

    1) Their high initial capital costs; about 50% greater than equivalent gasoline vehicles.
    2) The widespread high-speed charging facilities required for charging “on the road”.
    3) The loss of valuable time when charging “on the road”.
    4) The high cost of charging/kWh, plus exorbitant penalties, when charging “on-the-road”.

    High-Mileage Hybrids a Much Better Alternative Than EVs

    The Toyota Prius, and Toyota Prius plug-in, which get up to 54 mpg, EPA combined, would:

    1) Have much less annual owning and operating costs than any EV, for at least the next ten years.
    2) Have minimal wait-times, as almost all such plug-ins would be charging at home
    3) Be less damaging to the environment, because their batteries would have very low capacity, kWh
    4) Impose much less of an additional burden on the electric grids.

    Hybrid vehicles, such as the Toyota Prius, save about the same amount of CO₂ as electric cars over their lifetime, plus:

    1) They are cost-competitive with gasoline vehicles, even without subsidies.
    2) They do not require EV chargers, do not induce range anxiety, can be refilled in minutes, instead of hours.
    3) Climate change does not care about where CO₂ comes from. Gasoline cars are only about 7% of global CO2 emissions. Replacing them with electric cars would only help just a little, on an A to Z, lifetime basis.

    “Electrify Everything”; an easily uttered slogan

    It would require:

    – Additional power plants, such as nuclear, wind, solar, hydro, bio
    – Additional grid augmentation/expansion to connect wind and solar systems, and to carry the loads for EVs and heat pumps
    – Additional battery systems to store midday solar output surges for later use, i.e., DUCK-curve management.
    – Additional command/control-orchestrating (turning off/on appliances, heat pumps, EVs, etc.) by utilities to avoid overloading distribution and high voltage electric grids regarding:

    1) Charging times of EVs and operating times of heat pumps
    2) Operating times of major appliances
    3) Demands of commercial/industrial businesses

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