Roper: Legislators admit climate ‘solutions’ will bring economic ‘chaos’

By Rob Roper

I have been closely following the testimony regarding the Global Warming Solutions Act, currently under debate in the House Energy and Technology Committee. Last week brought some unexpected honesty and clarity to the issue. Two students from the Vermont Youth Lobby came to advocate in favor of the bill, which would make mandatory the greenhouse gas emission reduction goals set out in statute. If the state fails to meet those goals under the proposed law, which it will, anyone could bring legal action to force compliance through the courts.

Rob Roper is the president of the Ethan Allen Institute.

And here was the moment of honesty: Rep. Robin Chesnut-Tangerman (P-Middletown Springs) asked the kids how much “chaos” they would be willing to tolerate during a transition to a green economy. When the young lady in the witness chair asked for clarification that the “chaos” Chesnut-Tangerman was referring to was economic chaos, not environmental chaos, the Progressive Rep. replied, “They will not be mutually exclusive.” This is an admission that the policies these folks want to inflict on their constituents will result in economic chaos. Committee Chair Tim Briglin (D-Norwich) acknowledged that the economic disruption brought about by these policies would be significant.

And the moment of clarity came, ironically, with the most unclear spewing of word-vomit I think I’ve ever witnessed. One of the students, answering a question from Rep. Scott Campbell (D-St. Johnsbury) about how much economic chaos/personal sacrifice he’d be willing to put up with, responded with the following:

“For me, um, quantifying that is really hard because of the perspective. The perspective for me is, like Evelyn [the other student testifying] said, it’s all or nothing, so whether or not I’m going to be filling up my gas tank, or whether or not I can drive four hundred miles on a tank instead of five hundred, um, it’s meaningless to me because I’d rather drive four hundred miles than have an earth that’s uninhabitable. I’d rather drive four hundred miles and not be able to fill up my gas tank. I’d rather be composting and focusing on that. Whatever that myriad of things is — not having access to natural gas — I’m willing to suffer those consequences, and I can’t quantify that because I understand the perspective is — it’s that or it’s nothing. Like Evelyn said, it’s all or nothing and with that in mind I think that’s what allows us to look past the shortcomings, the chaos, and to really just focus on managing it because that’s all we have.”

What does that mean? Your guess is as good as mine.

I understand that these are young kids and they are being largely manipulated by powerful special interests in this process, but it is pretty clear from this string of nonsense that they have no idea what it is they’re advocating for, or what the consequences will actually be if they succeed in getting what they ostensibly want. Driving 400 miles instead of 500 miles represents an all or nothing sacrifice to save the planet? Even if you throw in that little bit of composting, you’re not even in the universe of what would be required to achieve these goals. Giving up your driver’s license entirely would be a start. Limit your cell phone charging to enough for just one hour a day of screen time might be helpful. None at all would be even better! But no one on the committee thought to mention or inquire about such potential sacrifices. Let’s not get these kids thinking too much, after all.

Matt Cota of the Vermont Fuel Dealers Association, however, has given some serious thought to what the economic chaos could look like should the Global Warming Solutions Act pass, and here’s what he had to say:

“We have real fears. ‘Swift and decisive action’ in five years [the timeline set out in the GWSA to achieve reductions GHG reductions to 25% below 1990 levels] is right now is unknowable to us, and I can only make assumptions to what it could be. And it could be, possibly, depending upon which lawyer you talk to (and I’m not a lawyer), bans on combustion, bans on burners and boilers and furnaces that use fossil fuels, bans on vehicles that consume fossil fuels. It could be new fees or fines associated with combustion of fossil fuels. I don’t know. I don’t know what ‘swift and decisive action’ is in five years when it’s mandated by a judge.”

Neither do the people who will likely vote in favor of this bill. But, whatever it is, you can count on economic chaos to be the result.

Rob Roper is president of the Ethan Allen Institute. Reprinted with permission from the Ethan Allen Institute Blog.

Image courtesy of Michael Bielawski/TNR

10 thoughts on “Roper: Legislators admit climate ‘solutions’ will bring economic ‘chaos’

  1. And that is precisely what they want. When the citizenry is decimated, they are then completely dependent on government.

  2. Here is an example of legislator malfeasance, by kowtowing to special interest groups to have air source heat pumps in Vermont’s energy-hog houses.

    That program is a colossal, unaffordable failure, plus it reduces CO2 at outrageously high prices.

    About 100,000 to 125,000 of Vermont’s free-standing houses would need to have major energy retrofits, at an average turnkey capital cost of about $30,000 per house ($3.0 to 3.75 billion), to reduce their space heat to less than 15.0 (Btu/h)/ft2, at 65F indoor and -10F outdoor, to make them economically suitable for 100% space heat from ASHPs, plus about $20,000 per house ($2.0 to $2.5 billion) would be needed for ASHPs. See table 5A.

    CO2 Reduction

    The below CO2 calculations, source energy basis, are for a typical Vermont house with an oil-fired traditional system and one ASHP. See table 5A.

    100% Heat from Traditional Systems
    – CO2 from fuel oil was 14798 lb CO2/y.

    39% Heat from ASHPs, 61% Heat from Traditional Systems
    – CO2 from ASHPs and fuel oil was 10656 lb/y, for a reduction of 4142 lb/y
    – CO2 reduction cost was $4500 / (4142 lb/y x 15 years) = $0.0724/lb, or $145/US ton, or $160/metric ton; capital cost basis; excludes all other costs.
    – CO2 reduction cost was $427.03/y / 4142 lb/y = $0.1031/lb, or $206/US ton, or $227/metric ton; amortization basis; excludes service and maintenance costs.

    100% Heat from ASHPs
    – CO2 from ASHPs was 6996 lb/y, for a reduction of 7802 lb/y
    – CO2 reduction cost was $20000 / (7802 lb/y x 15 years) = $0.1709/lb, or $342/US ton, or $377/ metric ton; capital cost basis; excludes all other costs.
    – CO2 reduction cost was $1897.91/y / 7802 lb/y = $0.2432/lb, or $486/US ton, or $536/metric ton; amortization basis; excludes service and maintenance costs.

    Not only are owners with ASHPs in their energy-hog houses losing money each year, on an overall basis, but the CO2 reduction costs/metric ton for 100% heat from ASHPs are outrageously high, because with 100% heat from ASHPs, they have to do hard work on the cold side of the temperature range, i.e., low COPs, in cold climates.

    Passivhaus-style buildings are an attractive alternative over energy-hog buildings, on a lifetime basis.

  3. Bernie is on board with using global warming to destroy our Capitalist Economy!!

    He is the winner of who can fly the farthest and most often in a private jet plane.

    Being the UberMeister has it’s responsibilities – so rules do not apply.

  4. Here’s just one reason why we should not leave the conduct of our private lives to government.

    1. The world is supposedly coming to and end in 10 years if we don’t do something.
    2. Doing something apparently involves a gigantic ramping up of an infrastructure to replace the stuff that’s so environmentally destructive now (cars, airplanes, tractors, steam generators, wood burning stoves, etc.).
    3. The only resource we have to develop that infrastructure is fossil fuel (mining, smelting, transportation, new factories, etc.).
    4. So we will have to massively increase our use of fossil fuel and, consequently, massively INCREASE the production of CO2.
    5. And that will inevitably bring Doomsday closer. (When piloting an aircraft, that’s called being on the wrong side of then power curve.)

  5. Can’t quite understand how a “youth lobby” is taken seriously. These young folks may mean well, but send them out into the real world and let them get a few bruises before we listen.

  6. Has the Vermont Youth Lobby offered any calculation on how much this will affect the temperature or weather in Vermont or, for that matter, the planet? Given the extreme energy profligacy of the bishops and cardinals of the AGW faith I doubt they personally believe their own dogma and I cannot but see them as self exalting hypocrites. The Youth Lobby would better expend their energies making needlepoint samplers of the comment by Ottmar Edenhofer, co-chair of working group 3 of the IPCC: “One must say clearly that we redistribute de facto the world’s wealth by climate policy. […] One has to free oneself from the illusion that international climate policy is environmental policy. This has almost nothing to do with environmental policy anymore.” John Kerry’s bete noire was air conditioning. I’ll bet he didn’t shut his own off in the summer – have they?

  7. Let’s start with a simple trial run and shut off the heat at every school VT Youth Lobby members attend when the temperature is over freezing. They can come back and testify next session so we can hear how that worked for them.

  8. Next Vermont legislators will be inviting a child from Sweden for guidance.
    This goes to show Legislators are bankrupt of ideas.
    They have not a clue.
    None of them are experienced energy systems analysts.
    None of them could make up a capital cost estimate of what they are proposing.





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