Opinion: Phil Scott a rock against climate absolutism

By Guy Page

The only person standing between Vermont businesses and residents and new, aggressive anti-carbon taxation and regulation is Gov. Phil Scott.

VTDigger columnist John Walters wrote yesterday that Phil Scott’s climate change strategy of innovation over taxation and regulation “rests on the assumption that we can afford to wait until new technology and market forces catch up to our climate challenges. Others would argue that that will be too little, too late.” Another VTDigger headline said carbon tax and regulate legislation is caught “between Scott and a hard place.”

Phil Scott may have been Gov. Flip-Flop on gun rights and who knows what else. But against carbon tax and regulate? He’s a rock. He believes technology will deliver market-friendly carbon reduction, and soon. He won’t sacrifice quality of life and vital state services on the altar of climate absolutism.

Guy Page

The climate absolutists in the Vermont Legislature can’t wait, won’t wait for affordable electric transportation, battery storage, cold-weather heat pumps, and energy-saving homes. We are in the midst of what Sen. Dick McCormack and many others call a “climate emergency.” As they see it, when the global house is burning we can’t dicker over the cost of the fire hose. For the carbon absolutists, relegating the War on Carbon to anything less than a priority of the first magnitude smells of irresponsibility. It won’t happen on their watch.

But here’s the problem with that. Directly and indirectly, climate absolutism wages war on the poor. Every state dollar spent on climate change or denied due to climate regulations means less help for people in need. The liberal heart no longer bleeds for the poor like it used to. It has moved on to another object of devotion – the reduction of climate emissions by 2050.

Climate absolutism directly hurts the poor by forcing them to pay more to stay warm (proposed doubling of heating fuel tax) and drive to work (various gasoline carbon taxes). And the indirect pain of prioritizing climate change over other pressing, right-now, real-world problems is widespread and severe.

Last year, Sen. Jane Kitchel (D-Caledonia) warned fellow senators that Reach Up funding that helps low-income parents keep a roof over their kids’ heads hasn’t increased since 2004. In response, a climate warrior senator said in effect, okay, sure, but reducing carbon is what’s really important.

And speaking of transportation – right now, the Department of Transportation can’t afford to plow every state highway equally. Some highways get less attention than others. And everyone knows that the icier the road, the more likely the accident. It’s inevitable. But instead of budgeting for enough plows, drivers, sand and salt, the Legislature is increasing spending on railroads, electric buses, bike paths, and electric car subsidies. Emissions reduction is their #1 priority and it’s hugely expensive. Think of that the next time you’re sliding around an icy state highway.

Inadequate elder care funding must be addressed as the Baby Boomers age. Last week a nursing home in Derby announced it will close because it’s going broke and can’t find enough workers. In fact all health care sectors need more workers. The solution is to raise and train an army of well-paid, skilled workers. That too will cost money that will only be available if Vermont has a strong, growing economy.

Vermonters suffer right now from inadequate housing. In the cities and resort towns it’s unaffordable. Elsewhere it’s old and substandard. Homelessness is a real and growing problem. The solution involves government spending millions upon millions in for rehab and new construction and giving the private sector a break with more relaxed permitting and regulations. Climate absolutists would restrict significant housing growth to downtowns and would create and enforce expensive renewable building standards and carbon offset programs. As strategies go for creating plentiful, affordable housing, that’s a can’t win.

All of these problems — not to mention equality of educationhealth care insurance relief, and pension deficit reduction — require state revenue from a healthy, growing economy. But the climate absolutists see only that Mother Earth is dying and the State of Vermont must rescue her. In the War on carbon, sacrifices must be made. And if government becomes more intrusive — to the point of turning off your fridge or hot water heater at times of peak usage — well, that’s what happens in wartime.

It doesn’t need to be this way. Many of the same lawmakers and lobbyists who demand carbon tax and regulate get positively blasé about prosperity-minded, market-oriented carbon reduction. Enthusiasts for subsidized solar and wind power reject low-cost, carbon-free nuclear power or hydro power. Many of the same critics of oil-powered furnaces and woodstoves also oppose extending natural gas pipelines that would deliver lower-cost, lower-carbon heat. Plant more carbon-eating trees? Meh.

Don’t they know there’s a war on?

As with most absolutists, it’s their way or the highway. But against their irresistible force, there’s still one unmovable object. Phil Scott. The Rock.

Read more of Guy Page’s reports at the Vermont Daily Chronicle.

Image courtesy of U.S. Department of State

18 thoughts on “Opinion: Phil Scott a rock against climate absolutism

  1. This is not about us vs them, nor are we non believers, this is about the fact that activism and subsidy alone will not garner the trust of Vermonters that might otherwise be supportive of pursuing such goals, precisely because they imply force and manipulation is required to achieve them. This concept is contrary to Vermont’s tradition of working side by side to build a better life together.

    There is always resistance when force is exerted, yet here we are taking from some to give to others to manipulate our once free market system, confiscating wealth for redistribution does not seem the best way to encourage cooperation or elevate a common goal.

    If these agendas cannot compete fairly in a free and open market, their time has not yet arrived!

  2. What a tangled web we weave…Comrade Phil is a traitor of the highest order period – snarling and showing complete disrespect and utter disdain for VT gun owners and our constitutional rights…an eyeopener.

    Was a rock for RKBA…until he wasn’t. Caved to a GunSense staged event as pretext to jump on the nonexistant ‘gun violence’ bandwagon to show corrupt Democrats and Progs he’s thete guy…

    Little Mike must’ve slipped him a big wad just as globalist Koch boys did…then called in their markers.
    Just as serial cheats and philanderers…a deeply dishonest integrity flaw which rarely changes and the ultimate betrayal. Not really abt what those inclined do but who they are – making it impossible to trust as they generally lie like a rug as well.

    Mr Scott will leave us high and dry after his next conquest. Face it…he blew it and showed us who he really is. Credit where due and hopefully for the sake of our failing state he will try to repair at least some of the damage caused.

  3. THREE CHEERS FOR GOV. SCOTT!!!!! t LAST, someone in Montpelier is using his God given intelligence to take a stand. Time to move on.

  4. Thanks for this excellent article Guy Page.
    As I listened to the governor’s state of the state address last month, I heard mixed messaging that concerned me. He’s between a rock and a hard place and he knows it. His appeal to progressive legislators to stop the tax and spend methodology they are supporting sounded like the Phil Scott I voted for in his first bid for the state’s highest office. Unfortunately, the rest of his address was about appeasement of the liberal base who he knows must vote for him in the next primary so can get another term.
    When he frittered away my personal rights on the front steps of the state house that day in April 2018, it made me realize that it’s time for a change at the top of the Montpelier food chain. No matter how much he tries to convince us that he has changed, we know that he never will.

    • With their repackaged tax plan, we will see a increase if food costs and we won’t be able to drive to the grocery store to get some crumbs!
      Thanks Terry

  5. Vermont is suffering from a climate obsession, not a climate emergency and some rocks are more easily eroded by sandblasting than others!

    If past deterioration of this rock is any indication of how it will withstand the barrage of incoming, most will choose not to hide behind it, instead they will opt to regroup behind another leader and attack!

  6. Why not welcome new fundamental thinking in the climate debate rather than offer a faux solution like new tech? If Progressives find the potential for a truth other than their manifesto pure anathema, then let them act out their drama. Who is this life about anyway? Them or us? VT could really boost its credentials if it hosted a scientific debate between the deniers and the believers. And the intellectual bar for the presenters would be set very high – no politicians. Why doesn’t the phrase regnat populous mean anything anymore as a social goal? It is fundamental to our constitutional origins. With such a debate, VT would truly be deemed a leader in a very material way.

  7. Scott is right about technology catching up.
    Look at EVs
    They have become more reliable, have longer range, and are more efficient, I.e., less kWh/mile, and their prices have held steady or decreased.
    All that in just a few years.

    Tesla has has been THE LEADER.
    It has shown a profit selling Teslas for two quarters in a row.
    It’s stock sells at over $650
    It will be selling over 500,000 Teslas in 2020; Model X, Model S, Model 3 and Model Y, and maybe also it’s full size pick up truck.
    It will have 5 assembly plants in the world by the end of 2023
    Three in the US, one in Europe and one in China.
    This means a revival of the US car industry under the leadership of Tesla.
    That means a huge reduction in future CO2
    All that without debilitating expensive government programs.
    US ingenuity rising to a challenge.
    Montpelier should pay attention, instead of dangerously flirting with Socialism

    • From what I’ve heard Tesla has been kept afloat by the energy credits. And until they find a sustainable, efficient way to produce electricity without a carbon footprint then it is nothing but a feel good mode of transportation.

      • I’ve heard / read that Tesla has a battery manufacturing plant in Canada to develop a new battery that lasts over and above what’s now (for years) on the market, little change. Tesla is named after Nikola Tesla.

        CEO Elon R. Musk is a citizen of South Africa, Canada, and the United States (resides permanently) and has several companies including SpaceX.

        I wouldn’t rule him out in developing a new type of battery especially for Tesla vehicles and aircraft and can / lead to other uses. He’s worth $34.8 Billion.

        He’s my man.

        • Tom,
          Tesla was up 127 today.
          Some people predict 6000 by 2025.
          Tesla will be selling 1,500,000 EVs in 2025
          Tesla just announced increased range of 320 for the Model 3 and the Y.
          Tesla Model 3 will use 0.25 kWh/mile, as measured by the vehicle meter.
          That would likely be 0.30kWh/mile, as measured by the DEDICATED wall meter.
          Just google Tesla website

          • A few problems to overcome first. Cold weather power loss, heater, extra power used on snowy roads, increased charging time, lack of charging stations, cost of charging stations, cost of energy to produce and dispose of battery, lack of power to plow roads, unreliable distances and finally how to produce all the electricity to run these vehicles? Also how to fund highway maintenance through taxation of EV electric use, reconstruction of the electric grid to handle the increased load of charging vehicles. Critical thinking escapes everyone’s excitement over technology that is years away from changing transportation.

    • Great for the rich to get big subsidies for electric transportation Bragging rights!
      Almost every tax subsidizes this ‘climate change” stampede – for 1 degree.
      Without rich people buying, and poor people taxed, for their subsides
      Tesla would be on the failure heap with so many other overblown start-ups.

      You really can’t recharge your car overnight with your rooftop solar panels

      However, with Nuclear power all these dreams MIGHT become real

  8. This is the time Vermont conservatives get to see what the Governor is made of,
    he tried and failed when he sided with progressives on gun control looking for new
    friends in the statehouse and slapped his supporters in the face.

    His new friends, well they are back with this TCI boondoggle TAX ………… Is he a rock ??

    Time will tell, Vermonter’s can forgive but they’ll never forget !!

    Vermont’s Legacy, Death by Debt & Taxes…….Thank a Liberal.

  9. I wish the gov. would have been a rock against the abuses of the legislature of my natural civil rights protections, instead of joining in with the abusers as he is with the delusional climate change scam.
    It would have been a win win for the gov. and Vermonters civil rights as was his promise to Vermonters who at that time voted for him based on those assurances,a lie by omission or crossed fingers remains a lie.

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