McClaughry: Global warming meadow muffins

By John McClaughry

Two weeks ago, when Gov. Phil Scott was about to veto the Global Warming Solutions Act, the media was quick to interview activists strongly opposed to the veto — but of course, at least to my knowledge, the media didn’t bother to interview anyone outside the Scott administration who had said for nine months that this bill was really bad for Vermont.

Here’s a sample of a media interview with Emily Thompson, who bills herself as the political coordinator of Sunrise Middlebury. Said she, “Governor Scott has the opportunity to be a leader in environmental and social justice policy in this country. But if he vetoes the Global Warming Solutions Act, he will endanger young people, low-income groups, communities of color, indigenous communities, the disabled, women, and other frontline and marginalized groups.”

That rhetoric reminds me of the apocryphal headline on the very liberal New York Times maybe 30 years ago: ”World to End! Women, minorities and the poor to suffer most.”

What coordinator Thompson makes admirably clear is that her liberal mindset requires that every current cause like defeating the menace of global warming is a special threat to “frontline and marginalized groups” and of course antithetical to “social justice” and the never-ending fight against inequality.

Wrapping all these left wing causes together into an unassailable and inseparable package is on display every day. It’s a sorry pile of meadow muffins if you ask me.

John McClaughry is vice president of the Ethan Allen Institute. Reprinted with permission from the Ethan Allen Institute Blog.

Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons/Adam Jones

24 thoughts on “McClaughry: Global warming meadow muffins

  1. Senator with all due respect, I do not have the protections you have to speak out freely. You took offense to my comments that were general in nature and turned them into a personal attack. I’ve seen you speak at motorcycle rallies and sure you are not the specific problem I spoke of even though true you are not from Vermont. While some of your policies I can agree with, the fact is that you are not a true republican nor is Phil Scott or Scott Milne. To get elected in Vermont as a republican you have to pander to the majority, you have no power to beat them policy wise and our top state leaders can’t support our party’s president.

    I was born here, raised my family here, cut out a decent living for myself. The onslaught of liberals from other states, here to make a name and boost their ego in the political arena have sold out Vermont to lobbyists, corporate interest, have promoted a failed ideology, increased taxes and fees, have driven business and medical insurance out of the state, increased welfare benefits to attract more deadbeats to the state that has infested our young with opiates and have driven young people to move for lack of opportunity. That is a partial list.

    Now the legislature is going to financially punish hard strapped families reeling from months of business lock downs, unemployment and fear mongering to arrogantly believe they can heal the planet from the natural cycle of climate change of course pushed by 33 lobbyists representing 501C3 non-profit groups tied to corporations from out of state to benefit from all this money and will solve nothing about the climate or pollution.

    Hence, my comment that we are taxed but not represented. You undoubtedly have read the Vermont constitution and so have I. That does not change the fact that it has not been followed and an example is this unconstitutional mask mandate and the recent Global Warming Solutions Act. We did not vote for a 23 member environmental board of bureaucrats, we vote for representatives. Since when can the legislature vote to eliminate the governor and lawmakers out of the decision making/law enforcing mandates for the people. Article 16 is another example. The governor and the legislature violated their oaths of office by passing gun control paid for by more lobbyists out of Bloomberg money. And finally, the EB5 scandal. These are all facts in providing for the destruction of and future bankruptcy of Vermont. I can’t fight it anymore, I can’t afford to stay here and I’m tired of being lectured to by arrogant politicians who will tell me how to live out the rest of my days.

    Talking to you personally will solve nothing. While many for us here go by “fake names”, we live in times where free speech is discouraged by the mob. You are a Vermont Senator and have to answer to the public at large. I am a nobody in the scheme of things and can not harm anyone from policies I can’t propose or enact. While I am still free to speak my piece I will in the manner that I choose. I sorry that you made my comments personal. It does not change the fact that I am disgusted with what the whole collective bunch of politicians have done to Vermont.

    • Many thanks to True North Reports for the wonderful stories and providing an anonymous comment platform by allowing a safe social distance.

  2. The idea that Vermonters will be issued gas, propane, and diesel/heating fuel rationing cards is abhorrent. Being forced liked slaves to curb their energy appetites creates visions of poverty, hunger, sickness, and deaths at the whims of climate elitists.

  3. The current Vermont legislature is the most fiscally irresponsible governing body the state has ever endured. It is the most constitutionally irresponsible governing body Vermont has ever endured.
    I am no Nostradamus, but it seems to me the results of this and all the other attendant prog legislation will, down the road, lead to a state that is populated by the elite (read well-to-do) retired, the yuppie Chittenden County tech workers whose salaries, while taxed heavily, still afford them the leisure time and pleasures that Sabra Field’s Vermont will give them, trade workers whose salaries will mimic the previously named tech workers because somebody has to fix your sewer and the Elite need them and will pay them well and, lastly, high tech internet workers scattered throughout those rolling hills where again their salaries afford them the taxes necessary to keep the Vermont Progressive Socialist Dream alive.
    What Vermont will not have is companies that make stuff. With the exception, of those niche markets, and there will be some (ya, Teddie Bears), manufacturing will dry up because in a global market they will not be able to pay their workers enough to exist in the state.
    Tourism will diminish because the hospitality industry will not be able to charge those out-of-staters enough to pay their workers a salary that keeps them in the state.
    So, yes, as it has been said before, Vermont will morph into a Utopia for the rich and a playground for those able to enjoy second homes away from the cities where they make their money.
    Oh, and the population will be 1/2 of what it is today….


    California: California has had a GWSA law since 2006, which resulted in:

    – Rapid increases of electric rates and gasoline prices
    – Huge DUCK-curves, due to midday solar electricity surges
    – Unwise/untimely/political/ideological shutdown of gas plants, which resulted in rolling blackouts, when, during a multi-day heat wave, solar disappearing in late-afternoon/early-evening (DURING PEAK HOURS), and not reappearing until mid-morning THE NEXT DAY, while all that time wind was minimal.
    – A host of rules, regulations, taxes, fees and surcharges, and penalties to enforce behavior modification programs

    With high levels of weather-dependent wind and solar, huge storage (multiple TWh) would be required.
    That storage would cost several trillion dollars, if materials could be found to build such capacity. It would need to cover:

    1) Single and multi-day heat waves over large areas
    2) Wind/solar lulls throughout the year, as frequently occur in New England
    3) Short-term and seasonal variations.

    The ADDITIONAL environmental impact on millions of acres with wind and solar systems, would be enormous all over the US.

    It would be much better to build millions of PASSIVHAUS-style buildings all over the US.
    They would need only 1/3 the energy of the current energy hogs.

    Vermont: For Vermont, the only thing that makes any sense is to stop “emulating” California.
    Vermont should immediately scrap GWSA, and concentrate on:

    1) Energy conservation
    2) Energy efficiency
    3) Building net-zero-energy, and energy-surplus houses and other buildings, by the thousands, each year. See Appendix
    4) Provide incentives to buy vehicles that get more than 35 mpg, EPA combined; the more above the limit, the greater the incentive.
    5) Charge annual fees, paid at time of registration, on existing and new vehicles that get less than 25 mpg, EPA combined; the more below the limit, the greater the fee.

    The above 4 items would save money for Vermonters, and make the state economy more competitive
    Most of the other energy measures are just expensively subsidized hogwash that would not make one iota of difference regarding climate change.

  5. The below comment shows just how the EAN is based on flawed analysis.
    The sole purpose of doing that is to make electric vehicles and heat pumps look much better than in reality.


    In reality, the CO2 reduction of the EAN plan would not be achieved, because the analyses are flawed.

    EAN, with help from VT-DPS:

    – Used fudged emission data for electricity, grams CO2/kWh. See Appendix
    – Used Vermont LDV fleet average of 22.7 mpg in 2018. See pg. 4 of URL
    – Did not consider upstream CO2 for heat pumps and electric vehicle analysis
    – Did not consider embodied CO2 of electric vehicles
    – Did not consider annual service calls and spare parts of heat pumps, which reduce overall cost savings
    – Did not consider the amortizing cost of the short life assets.

    EAN claimed a CO2 reduction per EV much higher than in reality.

    If EVs were compared with 30-mpg vehicles, the CO2 reduction would be about 2.13 Mt/y, less than the 4.50 Mt/y claimed by the flawed EAN method, which used the Vermont LDV fleet average of 22.7 mpg, and a CO2/kWh about 8 to 9 times less than the NE grid!!
    With such assumptions, anything can be made to look good to lay people
    The average Vermont person likely would not be able to determine any EAN analysis flaws.

    For realism, EAN should have used my 2019 Subaru Outback, which averages 32 mpg in summer and 29 mpg in winter; has vastly more storage capacity than a medium-size EV, which costs 1.5 to 2 times as much as my Subaru.

    EAN would need 90000 x 4.50/2.13 = 190,141 EVs to achieve its CO2 reduction of 0.405 MMt/y, at end 2025
    Many more people would need to be driving EVs, which would require more capital cost. See table 1A

    EAN claimed a CO2 reduction per ASHP much higher than in reality.

    ASHPs, in average Vermont 2000 ft2 houses, have a CO2 reduction of about 2.389 Mt/y per ASHP, much less than the 4.111 Mt/y per ASHP claimed by the flawed EAN method.

    EAN would need 90000 x 4.111/2.389 = 139,385 ASHPs to achieve its CO2 reduction of 0.37 MMt/y, in 2025
    Much more ASHP capacity would be needed at each site, which would require much more capital cost. See table 1A

    The EAN-claimed energy cost savings per heat pump and per EV were overstated, as confirmed by the CADMUS survey

    Additional explanation is in this URL, which also shows turnkey capital cost estimates:

    EAN performed the flawed analysis likely to:

    – Bamboozle legislators to get them to vote for GWSA (“all we need is this and that, and we will get these fabulous results”)
    – Bamboozle/befuddle most of the rest of Vermonters, who would:

    1) Be suffering GWSA-induced headaches for decades to come
    2) See no discernible effect on the Vermont climate….
    3) The GWSA council in California recently banned the sale of all new gasoline/diesel vehicles in California starting in 2035.
    Will the GWSA council in Vermont follow suit?

  6. The EAN Plan for 2020 – 2025 saves as a guide to determine just how wrong GWSA would be for Vermont.
    It turns out the EAN Plan is based on flawed analysis. See next comment.


    EAN listed the measures required to reduce CO2 from 9.76, in 2016 to 7.46, in 2025, for a reduction of 2.28 MMt.
    EAN claimed $800 million in savings over the 5-y period, i.e., $160 million/y.
    EAN does not show detailed calculations of these savings
    That CO2 reduction has an estimated capital cost of at least $9.25 billion.
    See table 1

    Capital Cost Estimate of EAN Plan

    I made a turnkey capital cost estimate of the EAN plan, because EAN did not, but should have.

    EVs: 90,000 x $40000/small EV = $3.6 billion; installation rate 18000/y vs about 750/y, at present
    In-house fast chargers: 90,000 x $2000 = $0.18 billion

    “Deep” retrofits: 90,000 x $30,000/housing unit = $2.7 billion
    ASHPs for space heat: 90,000 x $5,000/housing unit = $0.45 billion; installation rate 18000/y vs about 2900/y, at present
    ASHPs for DHW: 90,000 x $3,000/system = $0.27 billion; installation rate 18000/y vs about 1000/y, at present

    Wind turbines: 250000/(8766 x 0.30) x $2.5 million/MW = $0.095 Billion
    Solar systems: 700000/(8766 x 0.14) x $3.5 million/MW = $0.57 Billion
    Expanding/augmenting of the grid: $0.1 billion
    Fortress Vermont to deal with excessive DUCK-curves, due to midday solar surges.
    Energy storage: $0.9 billion
    Curtailment payments: $0.3 billion

    Hydro power plants: 50000/(8766 x 0.40) x $6 million/MW = $0.086 billion

    The turnkey capital cost would be exceeding $9.25 billion, during 2020 – 2025, about $1.85 billion/y.

    NOTE: EAN-proposed solar build-outs would be from 438.84 dc, at end 2019 to at least 1000 MW dc, at end 2025
    Solar is the most expensive electricity on the Vermont grid. It would not be smart to have more of it.
    It requires about 3.5 acres per MW, and is charged to the utility rate base at 11 to 21 c/kWh

    NOTE: Current cost shifting to ratepayers for solar production of 473,686 MWh, at end 2009, was about $64 million.
    The cost shifting would become at least $130 million, if solar production were increased by 700,000 MWh during the 2020 – 2025 period. See table 4 in URL and Appendix

    Amortizing Short-Life Items

    Short-life Items: EVs, heat pumps, battery storage systems, etc., have lives of less than 15 years.
    Amortizing the cost of the short-life items, $5.7 billion, at 3.5% over 15 years (see table 1 and 1A), would require payments of $489 million/y for 15 years, more than offsetting the EAN estimated energy cost savings of 800/5 = $160 million/y, during the 2020 – 2025 period.

    Vermont’s existing RE spending is about $210 million/y, including about $55 million for Efficiency Vermont.
    The additional spending, during 2020 – 2025, would be about 489 – 160 = $329 million/y, per EAN plan
    Annual costs would be even higher, because the amortizing of longer-life items has not been included.

  7. Various people say GWSA is wrong for Vermont.
    Very few provide any realistic numbers.
    The below shows just how wrong GWSA is for Vermont, WITH NUMBERS.

    Turnkey Capital Cost to Implement GWSA Requirements

    GWSA Financial Implications: Almost no one, including most legislators, have any idea regarding the reductions of CO2 and the turnkey capital cost to achieve them.
    This article has some background numbers regarding GWSA.
    This article includes an analysis of the Energy Action Network CO2-reduction plan for the 2020 – 2025 period

    Here is a brief summary of the turnkey capital cost of Phase 1, i.e., reduce CO2 by at least 26%.
    Vermont is lucky, because it has the 14-y, GWSA-experience of California as a guide.

    GWSA-Required Gross Emissions Reductions and Cost

    Phase 1
    26%+ below 2005, i.e., (1 – 0.27) x 10.22 = 7.46 MMt, by Jan. 1, 2025, to “meet Paris”
    The Council would take about a year to develop plans, which means most of 2021 would have elapsed before any action.
    The actual CO2 reduction would be from 9.02, at end 2018 (latest numbers) to 7.46, Jan. 1, 2025, or 1.56 MMt, during the years 2022, 2023, and 2024, effectively a 3-y period.
    The turnkey capital cost would be about $6.32 billion
    The CO2 reduction appears to be a physical and financial impossibility.
    See table 1A and Note.

    The EAN plan lists the measures required to reduce CO2 from 9.76, in 2016 to 7.46, in 2025, for a reduction of 2.28 MMt.
    That CO2 reduction has an estimated capital cost of at least $9.25 billion. See table 1
    The estimated capital cost of Phase 1 would be about 1.56/2.28 x $9.25 billion = $6.32 billion.

    Unfortunately, the EAN plan is based on flawed analyses, as shown below.
    EAN would need many more heat pumps and electric vehicles to achieve its CO2 reductions
    The turnkey capital cost would increase to at least $13.5 billion. See table 1A
    Phase 1 capital cost would increase to 1.56/2.28 x $13.5 billion = $9.24 billion, during the years 2022, 2023, and 2024, effectively a 3-y period.

    Phase 2
    40%+ below 1990, i.e., (1 – 0.40) x 8.59 = 5.15 MMt, by Jan. 1, 2030
    The CO2 reduction would be 7.46, Jan 1, 2025 – 5.15, Jan. 1, 2030 = 2.31 MMt, during the 5-y period

    Phase 3
    80%+ below 1990, i.e., (1 – 0.80) x 8.59 = 1.72 MMt, by January 1, 2050
    The CO2 reduction would be 5.15, Jan. 1, 2030 – 1.72, Jan. 1 2050 = 3.43 MMt, during the 20-y period

  8. Thank you John for this article . You mention the ” Sunrise movement ” .Some people may not know much about this global movement . Here is the trailer from the documentary on the subject realized by Mollie Weaver. An absolute watch for anyone who wants to understand the roots and the extent of the green/social justice movement . . Enlightening beyond belief.

    • Wow, these are the brainwashed terrorists that think boomers like me need to late term aborted. The organizers need a little vacation cabana at Gitmo.

  9. If it were only a “sorry pile of meadow muffins” I wouldn’t be too worried. But this strategy/mindset has gripped the legislature so hard that it threatens to bankrupt our treasury in short order. First, find a cause and give it a winning label. Second, whip up emotion in support. Third, stampede the statehouse with lobbyists and special interest groups. Finally, drown out any voices who might question whether the “solution” actually works. What legislator wouldn’t want to be on the winning side in that game? How dare anyone be opposed? Why risk ridicule as a “climate change denier?”

    Well, I’m not a climate change denier. But make no mistake, the Global Warming Solutions Act is no “solution” to anything, let alone a global concern. It baffles me that people presume 600,000 some odd Vermonters, even if they completely eliminated their carbon output, will have any registerable impact on climate change. Even the bill’s proponents concede that will not happen.

    We do have an obligation to wean ourselves off of fossil fuels, but is this the best way to do it? There are only two pieces of low hanging fruit in the discussion of carbon reduction, neither of which Vermonters can stop doing: driving their vehicles and heating their homes. Vermont cannot insist that automobile manufacturers increase the miles per gallon in their products. Only the national government can do that. Vermont does not have enough money to weatherize and/or swap out the heating systems in every home. But the first former goal, now mandate, requires substantial reduction in our carbon output by 2025. Even the most ardent supporters of this bill know that will not happen.

    The new state bureaucracy of a 23 member council will have to survive with state funding, but the bill only funds them with one time money- meaning this council will have to compete in the following year’s budget with every other state need. They issue a requirement that we do “X.” (Supposedly “X” is an unknown item that must inevitably utilize the low hanging fruit cited above. Make no mistake, “X” is a carbon tax.) They will require the Agency of Natural Resources to enforce it. (Note: legislators are happily removed from the discussion and won’t have to face the ire of their constituents when “X” is imposed.) But all during testimony on this bill ANR told the committees of jurisdiction that they did not have enough staff to enforce whatever was imposed.

    Even if ANR did, Vermonters cannot stop driving and they cannot stop heating their homes. So Vermonters will pay more. Much more. And they will do so at the expense of everything else they must pay for. But they are not going to stop driving and they are not going to stop heating their homes.

    So we will be sued because we cannot meet the mandate and cannot enforce it. A judge will issue an order to require “X” but we still can’t meet the mandate and can’t enforce “X.” A contempt order will then issue, which won’t be abided by. How do we purge ourselves from that contempt? Money? Somebody doing jail time?

    I’ve been a legislator for ten years now. This bill is without doubt the most poorly written example of wishful thinking wrapped in emotion that I have ever seen. This was not the legislature’s finest hour. I’d prefer the pile of meadow muffins. We may need them to heat our homes.

    • I wish you would send this out to newspapers across the state. Few people only know that this will make our air clean. Of course they don’t know about the realities of it, especially the damage it will do to our economy.
      I tried to get candidates to publicize the truth but it doesn’t seem to be of interest.
      If you as a current senator could get people to pay attention.

    • Is the GWSA a back door way to require more industrial wind projects?

      When Mass. did not meet its GWSA, CLF sued. Mass. then issued an RFP and numerous solar and wind projects (including proposals in Vermont) responded, but Mass. chose H-Q power first through NH and when that failed, through Maine. CLF opposed the NH one but supports the Maine one.

      Could Vermont see the same outcome?

      VPIRG has made it clear their goal is more industrial wind, as the image associated with their campaign is the Sheffield Wind project. See it here

    • Senator…….. good points. Almost all of them have been repeatedly made by dozens of well informed Vermonters on TNR, VTDigger and other media over many years going back into the Shumlin administration.

      Most recently the comments have focused on the futility of the GWSA. Going back in time the problems with industrial wind, solar, costs, reliability, inability to measurably impact climate change, lack of siting and development standards and other issues have all been addressed and supported with pages of technical data for all to see.

      The problem is that far too many serving under the Golden Dome are not interested in listening…..Their attention being diverted by the army of lobbyists representing the interests of parties that will benefit from the GWSA…….Lobbyists that John McClaughry has recently cited.

    • How in the world can a person be a climate change denier? The only constant is change. Climate is cyclical and the anthropomorphic part is tiny, tiny, tiny I.E. insignificant. But every one just keeps drinking the koolaid. This, and Covid, is all a political plot to one world government. Wake up and smell the roses.

    • Senator, here is what we have, “It is futile to discuss facts or analysis with someone who is enjoying moral superiority through their own ignorance.“ Thomas Sowell quote. I’m afraid that we live in a state with taxation without representation. There are very few lobbyists for the people. We live in a failed constitutional state. We no longer follow our constitution. We are ruled not represented, and you are part of it. The whole legislature has been elevated to it’s level of incompetence and the flat lander invasion has finally destroyed once beautiful Vermont. Our legislature is populated by people who came here from other places. Our customs are being destroyed as are our farms. Empty store fronts line the streets of most of our cities and small towns. Business is not allowed and some businesses are leaving. As an elderly Vermonter, I’m thinking of leaving. What a mess these progresses have made of this state! I’m disgusted with all of you!

      • Dano, normally I don’t respond to people who comment with fake names on the internet, but it is obvious you haven’t a clue regarding my make-up. It is true I wasn’t born here, and my now-deceased mother and I long joked about where she was when I was born, but my fascination with Vermont began in sixth grade when I happened to pick up a biography on Ethan Allen. That was ions before I knew anything about politics. I was well-versed in Vermont history long before I got here.

        My decision to enter politics came one day when I was returning from Maine on my motorcycle without a helmet (it was in the 90’s) and had to stop at the Connecticut River to put a state-mandated hat on my head. That simple forced act was contrary to everything I believed this State was all about. My special interest is Vermont history, and I’m not bragging when I say I know more about the origins of this State than most natives. And anybody who has ever listened to me speak on the Senate floor knows that.

        As for the constitution, I’d invite you to visit my website if you think I don’t know anything about it. Meet me, I’ll happily quote you my favorite provision: Chapter I, Article 18. It’s on my campaign letter head and my website ( I’ve repeated that provision numerous times on the Senate floor when making arguments about frustrating pieces of legislation presented by legislators who have little regard for what Vermont’s history is all about.

        And as for your statements about empty storefronts, I’ve challenged both legislators and the press constantly to take a trip up the western side of the Connecticut River and back down the eastern side to make comparisons. This is the choir you are preaching to.

        So come on out from behind your fake name and give me a call if you’d like to discuss what Vermont is supposed to be about. 802-274-1346

        • Thought you were better than this and still think you are if you can put up with me lol. Every person who is not known by those here whether using two capitalized names or one uncapitalized is potentially using a “fake name” I or anyone could use any first and last we choose however unless you know me personally you do not know if it is real. So a Marie Smith gets me in the club?

          You and many ppl do not understand the blogosphere – it’s the way it’ts designed sir. Check out a little history – the flame wars of the 90s would leave few alive today. Our comments are judged by veracity not a who’s who. Didja ever stop to think the first-name club might be voting for you? Gotcha lol.

          And just how would you feel if you knew that over 1/2 of the nation wants you dead bc of your potus choice? And could harm your uninsured home, property, friends and family and kittycats. And just why oh why do you need to know Senator?
          Thank your ‘”Social Contract” wielding Democrat friends for destroying our shared humanity and world. I’d like to see a separate but equal nation divided by political party so I can live in peace w/o the evil monsters in my backyard.

Comments are closed.