McClaughry: Global Warming Solutions Act needs a Scott veto

By John McClaughry

Six weeks from now the Global Warming Solutions Act will likely be on Gov. Phil Scott’s desk. There are five compelling reasons for him to veto it.

The bill declares that to deal with a “climate emergency” Vermont must observe the carbon dioxide emissions limits prescribed by the UN’s Paris Agreement of 2016. In particular, Vermonters must somehow be made to cut their yearly CO2 emissions from the present about 9 million metric tons of CO2, down to 7.5 MMt (-16%) by 2025, and down to 1.73 MMt (-80%) by 2050.

First reason to veto: The bill sets up a 23-member climate council within state government. The governor would have eight appointees; the House and Senate leadership will appoint the other 15. The council will spend a year creating a sweeping plan to instruct state agencies to adopt whatever rules (regulations) that they find necessary to get Vermonters to stop using gasoline, diesel fuel, home heating oil, natural gas and propane to achieve the meaningless CO2 emission reductions. (Vermont emits approximately one-seventh of 1 percent of U.S.CO2 emissions.)

John McClaughry

John McClaughry is vice president of the Ethan Allen Institute.

This is clearly intended to put Gov. Scott on the sidelines. The climate change lobby groups are clearly fed up with the governor dragging his feet on supporting its lengthy list of “climate solutions,” notably a carbon tax that Scott has resolutely said he would veto. No governor worth his salt, of any party, would stand still for this hijacking of his or her responsibilities as head of the executive branch of state government.

Second reason to veto: Under the plan the bureaucrats could require all new homes to use electric heat with superinsulation, ban the sale of low mpg internal combustion vehicles, prohibit fuel-intensive entertainment events (such as Thunder Road), prohibit the sale and use of snowmobiles, ATVs and pleasure boats, decree zoning changes to keep people from building homes in rural areas, limit cattle populations to reduce methane emissions, license home contractors and prohibit them from doing anything that fails to comply with LEED standards, restrict new natural gas connections, and force manufacturing plants (such as craft breweries) to reduce their CO2 emissions.

There will be few limits on what the agencies can require by rule, except that they can’t impose a carbon tax, and they can‘t magically come up with enough subsidy money to persuade 86,000 more Vermonters to buy pricey electric vehicles.

Third reason to veto: No legislator will ever vote on these sweeping, invasive and costly rules. This is a shocking abdication of our legislators’ accountability to the people. House Republicans moved to require a record vote to approve these bureaucratic rules. The backers of this bill crushed it 99-44.

Fourth reason to veto: The bill literally invites “any person” to go to court to sue the state of Vermont for not moving fast enough or far enough to drive down “carbon pollution.” This is a gift to the Conservation Law Foundation (CLF), which in 2016 won a suit against the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection for not pushing hard enough to implement that state’s GWSA.

Not only does the bill open wide the courtroom door to CLF, but it also specifies that if that organization “substantially prevails” in its lawsuit, the taxpayers will pay its legal costs and attorney’s fees. The same taxpayers will pay the attorney general to defend the state against the lawsuits, which could well go on for years.

Fifth reason to veto: The House version of the bill appropriated $972,000 to launch this Climate Action Plan adventure. The Senate Appropriations Committee, confronted with a projected $400 million all-funds deficit for the fiscal year that began two weeks ago, struck out the appropriation altogether.

This ponderous enterprise can’t get under way without funding. Getting our economy up and running again after the pandemic, and helping Vermonters who were crippled by it, are far, far more pressing needs than throwing away a million dollars to support this counterfeit government instructing unaccountable bureaucrats to hatch sweeping, costly and invasive rules to achieve no detectable effect on the global climate.

Late in August the House will likely accept the zero-funded Global Warming Solutions Act (H.688) and send it to the governor. If he fails to veto it, or lets it become law without his signature, watch for this sly move: The legislative leadership will slip the $972,000 into the billion-dollar appropriations bill coming out in early September to fund state government for the nine remaining months of this fiscal year.

Those five reasons make a powerful case for a Scott veto, notwithstanding the outraged protests of the climate warrior lobby. He can take his stand on the liberties and economic well-being of Vermonters, accountable democracy, constitutional separation of powers, far more important spending priorities, and protecting the state from costly virtue-signaling nuisance suits, all in a misbegotten bill that will produce no detectable effect on climate.

John McClaughry is vice president of the Ethan Allen Institute.

Images courtesy of Wikimedia Commons and John McClaughry
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15 thoughts on “McClaughry: Global Warming Solutions Act needs a Scott veto

  1. Some people take their orders from the United Nations, the Who, those who become giddy with the thought of a New World Order, all power and everything controlled by the never wrong, elite.

    Perhaps we need somebody, something to cut the strings to which our local marionettes seem to be attached.

    Perhaps we should be focusing on the 45 steps in which to subvert a country and do the opposite, there by changing the course of this rather dismal play.

    There is a wonderful play, to which many from all over the world come to enjoy, they’ll even sneak in the back door without paying if they can.

    The foundations upon which this country were built are solid and true. Other countries can only leech off the prosperity, freedom and harmony brought to this world. Please tell me where are all the defectors trying to sneak into socialist wonderland?

    Perhaps we should be having these field trips for our students?

    These bills have nothing and never had anything to do with improving the planet in any shape or form, it was and never has been the intent. Being a good steward to the environment would expose their baseless and senseless argument for the scam that it is.

  2. You are in a comic opera, score by Arthur Sullivan, lyrics and plot by Jonathan Swift. I’d commiserate with you, but I suspect by act three we’ll all be (supporting) members of the cast. What happens to revenue from Vermont property taxes which are already among the highest in the nation when this lunacy drives property values down and businesses move out? Maybe the Supreme Court will give it back to the Indians.

    • John, I have contacted the governor and urged him to veto this measure. This whole exercise is as Willie the Shake once said is “much ado about nothing”. Vermont’s contribution to global warming from the world’s prospective is a big fat ZERO!!! My guess is that this gives the tax folks yet one more excuse to add a tax to our over taxed burden.

  3. Global Warming Solutions Act, just another pipe dream being feed to
    the ” simpleton ” liberal mindset by globalist !!

    Vermont is one of if not the cleanest state in the nation, Governor Scott
    should ” Veto ” this boondoggle if he really cares about Vermont as a
    state, but my money is he’ll sign it ………… NO cojones Scott.

    If I’m wrong I’ll vote for him………………..

  4. Is the Vermont legislature still in session? Vermont is a tiny homogeneous state. If the people of Vermont would only vote for legislators that are too busy to sit in session for half the year or more, they would find that the legislature would to far less meddling in their lives. But if Vermonters really feel they need these folks to guide their every step, they will re-elect these baby sitters.

  5. The thing that is needed for Scott to veto this bill is that he grow a pair. Don’t count on it

    • The veto will be overridden

      Vermonters, with GWSA, will have decades of hardship, higher taxes, fees, surcharges, and behavioral mandates, you shall do this by that date, or else pay a fine, and have a court order tell you to do it, and pay court expenses and a fine?

      It is something for already-screwed-over Vermonters to look forward to, and whatever they do, will not make one iota of difference regarding climate.

      GWSA is merely a vehicle to ensure decades of generous subsidies to the already, overly subsidized, coddled, RE sector, at the expense of almost all other sectors

      • That is for sure. But he should be able to say I did not support it. It was all those A holes.

      • As far as I can see, there is only ONE compelling reason for the governor to VETO this stupid, naive piece of meaningless legislation and that is the impact on global warming will ZERO while the inegative impact on Vermonters will be HUGE!!!! The governor has no choise but to use his VETO authority!!!!

      • THE GLOBAL WARMING SOLUTIONS ACT A DECADES-LONG BURDEN ON VERMONT
        https://www.windtaskforce.org/profiles/blogs/the-global-warming-solutions-act-a-decades-long-burden-on-vermont

        Vermont House passed the Global Warming “Solutions” Act bill, GWSA, and sent it to the Vermont Senate, which also passed it. The bill, if enacted, would convert the aspirational goals of the Vermont Comprehensive Energy Plan, CEP, into MANDATED goals, with penalties. GWSA has been called “must pass this Session”.

        Vermont Business Climate

        Vermont has a very poor climate for traditional, private-enterprise job creation. Forbes, et al., rate Vermont near the bottom. There are too many onerous taxes, fees and surcharges, and rules and regulations, that have caused businesses to not grow in Vermont, to leave Vermont, or not even come to Vermont.

        Vermont’s population is stagnant. Ambitious, younger people leave, older, more-needy people stay. Well-paying, steady jobs, with decent benefits, are hard to come by in Vermont.

        GWSA to Subsidize Job Creation in RE Sectors

        GWSA would require major increases in the current levels of various subsidies to all sorts of RE businesses for decades; an expensively subsidized, industrial policy to produce expensive, mostly variable wind/solar electricity and “to create jobs”.

        GWSA would be a poor substitute for traditional, private-enterprise job creation, which has proven so difficult in Vermont, largely because of historic, socialistic mindsets within the Legislature, which prefer to protect vote-getting pet projects, rather than create the conditions for a vibrant private sector.

        GSWA Requires Major Annual Spending Increases

        Annual spending on RE would have to increase from the current $210 million/y (includes $60+ million for Efficiency Vermont) to about $1.0 BILLION PER YEAR, to implement the CEP.

        If the RE subsidies were “freebie” federal subsidies, they would subsidize and grow RE businesses, and create jobs.
        However, federal subsidies increase and decrease, and come and go.

        If the subsidies were “state” subsidies, such as for 1) heat pumps, 2) electric vehicles, and 3) above-market, feed-in rates for solar, such as net-metering at 21.7 c/kWh and Standard Offer at 21.7 c/kWh, they would be extracted from Vermont ratepayers, taxpayers and tourists, which, as has been proven, would create jobs in the RE sectors, but would, as has been proven, eliminate jobs, or prevent jobs from being created, in almost all private-enterprise sectors. That would further worsen the near-zero, real-growth Vermont economy, and prolong the adverse employment conditions of the “Virus economy”.

        Brief Summary of GWSA

        The Agency of Natural Resources, ANR, led by Peter Walke (who is a member of EAN), has to create the rules and regulations, and penalties for non-compliance, which would be subject for review by a “Council of Wise Men”, i.e., mostly appointed RE proponents.

        As part of GWSA, if the ANR measures would not sufficiently reduce Vermont’s carbon dioxide, CO2, as scheduled, any Tom, Dick and Harry would be allowed to sue the state government, with lawyer’s fees reimbursed, if the suit is upheld in Court.

        As part of GWSA, the legislature would play no role other than vote to provide the money, extracted from more and more impoverished, already-struggling, Virus-unemployed Vermonters, to implement it all.

        I foresee one litigious brouhaha after another; Vermonters becoming more and more oppressed and impoverished in the pursuit of impossible climate goals and Vermont becoming less and less attractive as a place to live.

        GWSA would be decades of torture of Vermonters to achieve nothing regarding the climate, other than “feel-good/virtue-signaling”.

  6. If he does not veto it we just be one step closer to communist control of the people. There is a communist take over attempt that is accelerating across the nation with democratic support.

  7. Regarding EVs and ASHPs.

    Self-Serving, Impossible CO2 Reduction Dreams of EAN
    https://www.windtaskforce.org/profiles/blogs/the-global-warming-solutions-act-a-decades-long-burden-on-vermont

    “Meeting Paris”: In 2019, EAN made estimates of what it would take to “meet Paris”, i.e., reduce CO2 from 9.76 million metric ton, at end 2016, to 7.46 MMt, at end 2025, or 2.281 MMt. See URL
    https://www.eanvt.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/EAN-report-2020-fi

    EAN proposed several measures to reduce CO2, including deploying, by end 2025:

    Table 1A/Item Quantity/5y Quantity/y CO2 CO2/y
    Total MMt Mt/y
    EV 90000 18000 0.405 4.500
    ASHP 90000 18000 0.370 4.111

    Increase solar from 438.84 dc, at end 2019 to at least 1000 MW dc, at end 2025
    See Note and pages 3, 4 and 5 of URL

    Vermont had deployed, at end 2019:

    3541 plug-in vehicles, increasing at about 750 per year
    17,717 ASHPs, increasing at about 2850 per year

    The totally unrealistic EAN goals would be unattainable, even if the 50% of the cost of EVs and heat pumps were donated by ratepayers, taxpayers, and added to government debt.

    The above EAN CO2 reductions per EV, and per ASHP, are grossly overstated, because of flawed analyses.
    As a result, many more EVS and ASHPs would be required to achieve the above CO2 reductions.
    See URL and below ASHP and EV articles
    http://www.windtaskforce.org/profiles/blogs/response-to-energy-acti

    NOTE: All of Europe (550 million people, excl. Russia) is not “meeting Paris”, and neither are China (1.4 billion people), India (1.4 billion people), etc.
    If the heavy hitters are absent, why should ultra-light-featherweight Vermont “meet Paris”?

    This has nothing to do with climate change, but everything with loading up the subsidy-gravy-train for the RE sector, to the detriment of almost all other sectors.

    • Nepotism and crony capitalism are the first cousins of socialism. We are getting closer year by year.

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