Editor’s note: This letter is by Tom Licata, a resident of Burlington.
Vermont accounts for approximately 1/7 of 1% of the U.S.’s carbon footprint. If Vermont were to disappear, its impact on reducing CO2 emissions would be virtually meaningless. But should proposals 3 and 7 pass, much socioeconomic pain and loss of freedom would occur, as government would have the power to ration energy — both in what is produced and what is distributed into homes and businesses.
Burlington’s McNeil Generating Station’s primary source for electricity is wood. Wood has a ratio of combustible carbon atoms to hydrogen atoms of about 10:1, whereas natural gas has a ratio of 1 carbon to 4 hydrogen. Moving McNeil’s primary electrical source to natural gas from wood would reduce CO2 emissions. Yet proposals 3 and 7 would disallow this. This is counter-productive!
To meaningfully reduce Vermont’s CO2 emissions and simultaneously create a more vibrant economy, Vermont should (1) increase its purchases from Hydro-Quebec, and (2) build a fourth generation nuclear power plant (SMRs). These plants are proven to be safer than fossil, biomass and solar; they run 24/7 and can be manufactured more economically than previous generations.
Quoting from a Scientific American article: “The International Energy Agency and the Nuclear Energy Agency suggest in a report … that nuclear will have such a significant role to play in climate strategy that nuclear power generation capacity will have to double by 2050 in order for the world to meet the international 2-degree Celsius warming goal.”