Rep. Cynthia Browning: How Vermont should spend carbon tax revenue

This commentary by state Rep. Cynthia Browning, D-Arlington, originally appeared Jan. 10 in the Manchester Journal.

I believe greenhouse gas emissions from burning fossil fuels are contributing to more volatile and a warmer climate. Scientific predictions and evidence of higher temperatures are persuasive. It makes sense that the increase in man-made fossil fuel greenhouse gas emissionssince the beginning of the Industrial Revolution would generate changes in weather and climate through complex feedback mechanisms. While Vermont’s emissions are a tiny fraction of the global amount, we all have a responsibility as stewards of the earth to mitigate these potentially destructive changes.

state of Vermont

State Rep. Cynthia Browning, D-Arlington

Aside from climate change, there are other good reasons to reduce our reliance on fossil fuels. Particulate air pollution from burning them is a health hazard to our lungs, and extraction, transport, and processing cause air, water and land pollution.

We therefore need to reduce fossil fuel use by investing in energy efficiency and conservation – which is useful in lowering immediate costs aside from climate change issues — and by switching to renewable energy sources as feasible. Reducing current use is imperative, but it is of utmost importance that our investments in equipment now reduce greenhouse gasses in the future. Since our emissions are largely from transportation and heating, the vehicles we buy, the furnaces we install, the weatherization we undertake, and the renewable energy we create are key. We will also need to invest in community preparations for more volatile weather.

We need state policies to provide incentives and requirements so that we alter our behavior. The market economy we operate includes only immediate private costs. It does not include short run pollution or long run climate change costs in the prices of fossil fuels, with the result that lower prices mean we use more than we should. Our political system tends to have a short run bias – politicians often don’t look beyond the next election, so to impose certain costs in order to achieve expected future benefits can be difficult. The influence of special interests opposing such policies makes it even harder.

As an economist, and as an environmentalist, I am committed to the development of policies to reduce our greenhouse gasses. Policies should phase in requirements to give people time to adjust. Any revenue raised through taxes or licenses that raise the costs of fossil fuels should be used in two ways. One is that some other tax should be reduced to offset the revenue. A second is that the additional revenue should be re-distributed to working Vermonters and small Vermont businesses to help them make the needed investments in transportation and heating equipment, and to communities to develop weather resilience. Such policies could be both effective in reducing our use of fossil fuels and equitable in supporting those who need help bearing the costs of change.

The Vermont Legislature will be considering at least two approaches to mitigating climate change. One is call the Transportation and Climate Initiative (TCI). This regional policy framework has distributors bidding on a limited number of licenses to sell fossil fuels. The costs of the licenses would increase fuel prices, which would reduce our use of them. The revenue from the licenses would come to the participating states for investments in transportation and heating capacities, with a special emphasis on helping low-income Vermonters.

The other approach is called the Global Warming Solutions: mandatory goals for the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions by a certain amount by a certain date are put into law. State agencies would develop plans to meet these mandates.

Each of these approaches has strengths and weaknesses. As with so many legislative initiatives, the details and the timing of changes will be important in determining whether they meet my criteria for effectiveness and equity. I will be working to ensure that these policies will make us both safer and stronger.

State Rep. Cynthia Browning (D-Arlington) represents Arlington, Manchester, Sandgate and part of Sunderland in the Bennington-4 district.

Images courtesy of Flickr/401kcalculator.org and state of Vermont

38 thoughts on “Rep. Cynthia Browning: How Vermont should spend carbon tax revenue

  1. Typical, spend revenue defore it exists. How about figuring out ways to REDUCE revenue????? Never happen. These folks should go home before they do anymore damage.

  2. Cynthia Browning and other climate alarmists zealots can wear green hair shirts, but leave the rest of us out of your useless and ridiculous climate change policies
    THEY ARE
    VERMONTERS IN NAME ONLY

  3. Actual (“real”) Science does not support the “Climate Crisis” being promoted that is based on CO2.
    CO2 is NOT a “Green House Gas” or a pollutant.
    CO2 is a compound of basic elements essential for plant life and is a natural life phenomenon.
    Temperature controls and influences atmospheric CO2, not the reverse.
    Oceans sequester CO2 based on temperature and release more CO2 as they warm.
    The earth is cooling and atmospheric CO2 will never return to its once highest levels.
    Wood burning is renewable energy (solar power) that helps stabilize the environment.
    Fossil fuels are not the problem for Vermont (currently, the “looneys” in Montpelier are).
    Time for a change.

    • Bob,

      This recent study in Finland shows CO2 has minimal effect on climate and global warming.
      https://arxiv.org/pdf/1907.00165.pdf

      EXCERPT:
      “In this paper we will prove that GCM-models used in IPCC report AR5 fail to calculate the influences of the low cloud cover changes on the global temperature.

      That is why those models give a very small natural temperature change leaving a very large change for the contribution of the green house gases in the observed temperature.

      This is the reason why IPCC has to use a very large sensitivity to compensate a too small natural component.

      Further, they have to leave out the strong negative feedback, due to the clouds, in order to magnify the sensitivity.

      In addition, this paper proves that the changes in the low cloud cover fraction practically control the global temperature.

  4. “TCI will distribute a FRACTION of the allowances revenues to states?”

    After paying exorbitant salaries and expenses to the organization of wise people thinking up and administering this cumbersome TCI scheme, what happens to the fraction, after excessive expenses, that is NOT distributed to states?

    This looks to me like another costly boondoggle about to go viral.

    The TCI scheme is wide open to fraud, waste and abuse, as there will be minimal to no meaningful oversight, other than by insiders who agree to the TCI agenda, i.e., the fox guarding the hen house!!!

    TCI will become a proxy CARBON TAX collector for states, AT A FAT FEE. Vermont needs that like another hole in the head!

    Legislators in each state do not have to vote for much-hated CARBON TAXES, which would be increasing each year, until we all croak.

    They would be “off the hook”. They would say: “I know you pay more taxes, but it is not my fault, and re-elect me anyway. Bull manure!

    Legislators of each state should be ashamed to allow a large amount of CARBON TAX money being mis-appropriated by a “superstate” entity over which they likely would have minimal or no control. Another autonomous/out-of-control Big Brother Entity.

    Analysis shows the new CARBON taxes would add up to about $56 BILLION, due to fuel dealers buying allowances over 10 years, to reduce CO2 by an additional 1% to 6%, above what would be reduced by EXISTING policies.

    TCI is legal? ….. it is robbery developed by politicians who need funding for more untested, unproven “programs” that would further increase Vermont State government budgets.

    TCI is not serious about dealing with the issue of climate. Airline travel is FAR worse.

    There are about 20,000 commercial jetliners in the air.
    All burn a large quantity of of DIRTY jet fuel
    Airline travel climate impact is a factor 6 to 47 greater than the impact from car travel, because its CO2 and particulate pollution is released in the UPPER at atmosphere.

    Raising gas prices in tiny Vermont will have ZERO effect on global warming, but it provides lots of “feel good” to the people.
    As for the people who cannot afford higher fuel prices…….. well, they can take the bus.
    How are these $350,000 electric buses working out?

    And no one seems to mention that increasing the price of fuel will increase the price of everything else – your groceries come on a truck.

    And for all you people who voted for the current Dem/Prog legislators because you hate Trump, ponder that vote when you’re gassing up and when you will be in the voting booth in November; JUST VOTE NO.

  5. How about not counting your chickens before their hatched!! No carbon tax here yet and hopefully never if those in the Legislature get some sense or hear us little people complaining very loud!!
    I would prefer to keep my money in Pocket, instead of the very slim chance this state will give it back!!

    • Don’t forget more than 80 legislators signed on to support a Climate solutions Caucus that plans to support the TCI agreement, this time the Carbon Tax has been imbedded in the dealers cost so we it would be harder to detect.

      We should also understand that entering into multi state agreement will mean we could be subject to the whims of othes and restricted in our flexibility to act independently if the need arose.

  6. “The revenue from the licenses would come to the participating states for investments in transportation and heating capacities, with a special emphasis on helping low-income Vermonters.“

    So in the end only the working man ends up carrying the load of TCI.

    I’ve got another idea. How about you just throw out all of your ideas that make life in a Vermont less affordable. The green economy, as envisioned, is a complete ripoff to the rest of us. Anybody who wants an electric car, solar panel, Tesla Battery, LED lightbulb, or a anything else along those lines….buy them yourself! A few of those are fine ideas as long as they don’t lean on my way of life.

    At a minimum: Don’t look to the rest of us to bear ANY higher costs in order that the few would benefit from having these things.

  7. Cynthia Browning and other climate alarmists zealots can wear green hair shirts, but leave the rest of us out of your useless and ridiculous climate change policies.

    • Hi Rob,
      You mentioned hair shirts.

      Recently, Highview Power, i.e., destroying pristine ridge lines for wind turbines, was musing to liquify air with wind electricity. When I saw this, my thought was: They have got to be kidding!!!

      Baker Hughes (https://www.bhge.com/industrial/energy-storage/liquid-air-energy-storage), is advising this technology for Highview Power, and is estimating the all-in cost (financing, operating, maintenance, etc.) at $150-250/MWh, just for storage.

      Using the Baker Hughes number of $200/MWh cost, or $0.20/kWh!

      That is on top of the cost of wind at about 9.5 c/kWh

      These are wholesale prices.

      This is a whole new meaning of “cost effective” with which I was previously unfamiliar……

      Someone mentioned, once TCI and other CARBON taxes raise the cost of fossil-fuel-generated electricity to around $2/kWh, this scheme will be so much cheaper that they’ll have to impose taxes on it to keep government revenues stable.

      My thanks for the reminder. I keep forgetting the HAIR-SHIRT, misery and deprivation future awaiting me.

      And the total cost of 29.5 c/kWh assumes the scheme will be used for short term storage of electric power, not for storage for weeks and months. BTW the way, the system would have in/out losses of about 20%, high voltage AC to high voltage AC basis.

      There is no scheme I know of that can be economically used for electrical storage for weeks and months.

      This scheme cannot be scaled up to store surplus wind and/or sun electricity produced during the sunny summer months for use later during winter.

      In the winter there are high pressure cold air masses that result in cold, windless days that for a large portion of a month.

      Vermont Electric … said that after three conversations with Highview Power, its LAES technology still remains an “option.” Are they waiting for more subsidies?

      Sounds like an LAES system hasn’t been “completely” ruled out, but any storage is more likely going to be a large battery system.

      Oh, BTW, curtailment* would be FAR cheaper; just pay the owners of wind turbines 9.5 c/kWh for the electricity they COULD have generated.

      Looks to me like a no-brainer, as long as no one games the system.

      * Curtailment is reducing the wind turbine output during high wind conditions to avoid overloading the weak rural grid of the Northeast Kingdom.

      I am so glad TNR is available for longer comments.
      VTDigger allows 1000 characters and NO REPLIES.

  8. A thought that I know many acknowledge “the best tax is NO TAX”. How simple can anyone get, simpletons in Montpelier can’t and don’t realize what this means.

    PS. nice comments and the wrong people are under the dome.

  9. Cynthia is obviously someone who believes it is ok to manipulate tax payers rather than enlist their support, she can justify this today by ignoring our founding principles and free market system of governance in favor of a forced deviation to socialism. She does this because we only think in the short term thus we cannot be trusted to recognize long term problems of the future, but Our World is Vermont.

    Vermont is our home, we love her four seasons, her green mountains, her time honored traditions and rural way of life that binds us to her.

    Settled mostly by farmers; our ancestors endured hardships of life in the green mountains to pursue a better life. They were a determined people of strong will and keen sense of awareness, able to predict the weather or a season simply by observing their surroundings, always adjusting and changing course to secure a better tomorrow. There is an old saying that kind of sums up Vermont, “if you don’t like the weather, wait a minute, it will change”.

    Vermonters have always been very adaptable to their surroundings, always willing to work hard to better their existence or help their neighbor in time of need. We take pride in our ancestors’ determination to succeed and are grateful they sought no other purpose beyond a more prosperous life for everyone. Their expectations were realistic and recognized there were things they could not change; so they focused instead on the needs of the day to make life better for tomorrow.
    Today as we move forward in pursuit of “Global Climate Solutions” we should keep in mind 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 are required to achieve them. This concept is contrary to Vermont tradition of working side by side to build a better life together.

    Contemplating action in 2020 over 80 of our legislators have formed a Climate Solutions Caucus while hailing Climate strikes and demanding bold Climate action to save our planet from an implied crisis. Vermonters are a frugal hard working people that will tackle any problem they must, but where is the eminent or obvious climate crisis in “our world of Vermont” and how will subsidizing a global movement for other parts of the world help Vermonters contend with today’s shrinking standard of living when that subsidy siphons off our capacity to remain strong and vibrant?

    Vermonters are depending on our legislators to understand our plight. The “Transportation Climate Initiative” (TCI) is eager for Vermont’s commitment and participation in an agreement that would levy a carbon tax on gasoline propane and fuel oil, all necessities for a rural state where people must commute to work and endure cold winter months. But this will remove dollars from our pockets at a time when we need more dollars to offset our affordability crisis which is in part perpetuated by numerous subsidies already in place and entangled in our daily lives and monthly billings!

    There are many agendas incorporated in “Global Climate Solutions” all seeking our dollars, but who do they benefit, and do our legislators truly understand they are charged with identifying agendas of appropriate priority for Vermonters?

    If our ancestors have taught us anything we must be aware of our surroundings and be flexible enough to adapt to the challenges we face. So doing anything to further jeopardize affordability for Vermont workers would seem to be the last thing our legislators or governor should want to entertain.

    Those who stand to gain most by subsidizing these agendas of climate crisis have vested interest in developing a carbon tax and refer to it as “a negligible fee having less impact than typical market fluctuations”, but let’s not forget, these increases are in addition to and on top of the market prices we already pay!

    However when these so called investments, these subsidies we are asked to finance merely reflect lofty goals and speculation that reach beyond our borders and far into the future, they confiscate our immediate future and yield no return beyond a promise that may never be realized even by future generations!

    When it comes to agendas of investment we must know for whom the bell tolls, Vermonters or Developers?

    Vermonters are more than willing to roll up our sleeves and work together on climate solutions that are sensible, affordable and that can be measured locally in the short term for accountability. Joining TCI would hobble us to the desires of a coalition, thus limiting our flexibility and ability to react to changes in circumstance, such as things like an introduction of new technology.
    Vermonters recognize priorities to benefit Vermont must be balanced by the realization we will not save the planet by destroying prosperity in “Our World of Vermont”!

    The mandates for Global Warming Solutions do not strengthen Vermont as much as the willingness to embrace socialism weakens it, but thanks anyway Cynthia.

    You say you will be “working to ensure that these policies will make us both safer and stronger”, but how much of our liberty are you prepared to spend for this protection scheme you promise?

  10. We need state policies to provide incentives and requirements so that we alter our behavior.:
    She’s talking mandates here – She wants to coerce a change in our behavior so we don’t use fossil fuels, aka regressive, punitive taxes and regulations that raise the cost of everything that uses fossil fuels.

    The market economy we operate includes only immediate private costs.:
    ?? This statement is essentially non-sensical. The buzz words are “market” economy and “private” – both of which are the horses the Left loves to beat in favor of more government control “for the greater good.”
    She implies the private sector is short sighted and greedy, when we know that the private sector, under a free market, watches out for and protects investments because they do not have the luxury of using other people’s money as the state does.

    It does not include short run pollution or long run climate change costs in the prices of fossil fuels, with the result that lower prices mean we use more than we should?
    Again, she implies the private sector is irresponsible and reckless. How the market economy is responsible for the price of fossil fuels is murky here and how “it” results in lower gas prices is as well. I haven’t seen lower gas prices, have you? Vermont gas prices are high compared to other states. Her conclusion is that if fossil fuels are affordable, we will use them. She knows she has to make it hurt in order for us to use less. And because of her belief in the global warming propaganda, she thinks she knows how much we “should” be using.

    Our political system tends to have a short run bias – politicians often don’t look beyond the next election, so to impose certain costs in order to achieve expected future benefits can be difficult. The influence of special interests opposing such policies makes it even harder.”
    She’s talking about political will – she wants legislators to resist doing what constituents want for fear of not being reelected. And then there’s the money from lobbyist to consider – aka “influence.”
    Because we know her position on this matter, we know she’s addressing legislators who would oppose state control of our energy, when in truth, it is she and like-minded legislators who are being funded/controlled by special interest groups pushing this agenda. Rep. Browning and her ilk in Montpelier are beholden to those special interests, not their constituents.

    Any revenue raised through taxes or licenses that raise the costs of fossil fuels should be used in two ways. One is that some other tax should be reduced to offset the revenue.
    We’ve heard this promise before – “Don’t worry taxpayers! This will be revenue neutral – this won’t hurt you AT ALL because we will cut spending somewhere else!” How many times have we heard this and how many times have we been fooled? And note the use of the word “should” – she’s not saying it WILL be used for this – she’s carful to leave herself a loophole out of this lie. And doesn’t this just begs the question – if you say you can and will cut other spending, JUST DO IT AND USE THAT TO PAY FOR IT!

    A second is that the additional revenue should be re-distributed to working Vermonters and small Vermont businesses to help them make the needed investments in transportation and heating equipment, and to communities to develop weather resilience. Such policies could be both effective in reducing our use of fossil fuels and equitable in supporting those who need help bearing the costs of change.
    So, we get to it at last – it’s the same old game of wealth redistribution. In this scheme, the poorest Vermonters might get something back at the end of the year after struggling day to day to afford gas to get to work and fuel to heat or cool their homes. Developers will get their subsidies to cover our ridge lines with wind turbines and scarf up agricultural land with solar fields, while the middle-income Vermonters foot the bill. The wealth gap will increase in favor of those positioned to suck at the government teat, and the politicians will call this a good day’s work.

    How they plan to do it: TCI
    Transportation and Climate Initiative (TCI). This regional policy framework has distributors bidding on a limited number of licenses to sell fossil fuels. The costs of the licenses would increase fuel prices, which would reduce our use of them. The revenue from the licenses would come to the participating states for investments in transportation and heating capacities, with a special emphasis on helping low-income Vermonters.
    Tell me Rep. Browning – exactly how will this reduce our USE of fossil fuels? Will Vermonters just stop commuting across the state to get to the few good jobs still available? Will they in fact be faced with higher costs not just for fuel but for food, as the cost increases you’ve imposed will be passed on to consumers? Vermont lacks large employers providing good paying jobs – do you suppose such employers will be enticed to move to Vermont (or any of the TCI region states) with the uncompetative business environment you will have created? Talk about short sighted. New Hampshire’s Governor Sununu has already declared they will NOT participate in the scheme – shall we make a wager on how many Vermonters move to New Hampshire if this boondoggle is passed?

    The other approach is called the Global Warming Solutions: mandatory goals for the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions by a certain amount by a certain date are put into law. State agencies would develop plans to meet these mandates.
    “Mandatory goals” means punitive coercion by the state to achieve an objective that is based on a false premise from the start.
    Historical records readily show that weather events, on average, are not more extreme than in the past. Observed, scientifically collected, empirical data also show the warming since the start of the Industrial Revolution is not unprecedented, even with man’s contribution of CO2 emissions. CO2 is not a pollutant – it is essential to life on this planet and is at a geologically historical low. Sea levels are not rising in any significant way. The Arctic and Greenland are not in danger of being ice free. Other than computer model predictions (remember models are NOT data – they are simply tools) which have failed to come true, there is absolutely no scientific evidence that increases in CO2 are causing a climate emergency.
    There is, however, plenty of propaganda claiming all this. The purpose of this fear mongering is not environmentally motivated, rather it is politically motivated and pushes a fundamental change in our economic model – from free market to socialist policies. The change requires governmental control of all energy, which essentially is government control of every aspect of human life. This shift is evident in Rep. Browning’s proposals.

    Yes, the climate changes and has been warming since the Little Ice Age in this inter-glacial period. Warming of the climate is historically associated with flourishing of all life. Yes, man’s activities affect his environment – always have, always will. Our discovery and use of fossil fuels has undoubtedly and drastically changed the overall condition of mankind for the better, helping us adapt to our environment and creating one that is conducive to human flourishing. We take better care of our environment today than at any time in human history, and we should continue to protect our environment for our survival.

    I do not accept Rep. Browning’s proposals as good for the people of Vermont or anywhere. She is either woefully uninformed, or her agenda is not one compatible with our Constitutional Republic; She seeks to have our elected legislators rule us rather then represent us.

    • Thank you for expressing your understanding of free market economies. The Founders not only understood free markets and individualism, they created the U.S. Constitution, a system of governance to facilite it, with the understanding that ‘the markets’ are the ‘the people’, that the most effective ballot is cast when individuals purchase goods and services, and that demagoguery (the use of popular prejudices, false claims, and promises to create factions and gain political power) should be exposed whenever it raises its ugly head.

      Not only does Ms. Browning not have a clue as to how to ‘develop policies’, she can’t articulate them with any specificity in the first place. Caveat emptor.

    • How does this lady legislator get from home to work , and does she also employ a second “home:” during the legislative session.
      BOTH create big needs for fossil energy – shame on a two talker.
      Would we be better off if she stayed in one domicile, and not drive thousands of miles “to work?”

  11. A tax is a tax is a tax. Offsetting a tax with a tax makes no sense. Most people here have to drive a considerable distance to go to work or to a store. The idea of bidding on people bidding on a “limited” number of licenses to sell fossil fuels concerns me. What happens if the demand of fuel exceeds the amount of licenses? What’s to prevent this from spiraling out of control pricewise. The whole idea is dangerous. Another social experiment at the expense of the taxpayer.

    If the legislature really want to reduce the carbon footprint they should repeal the state inspection laws. Yes that’s right the one that makes a person’s 7 year old vehicle not inspectable because of a silly issue that is not a safety issue. Junking a vehicle that has many more miles of use on it and replacing it with another one…. where’s the carbon savings on that? We need to slow down and collect our thoughts on this climate change madness that has overtake our common sense.

  12. There are not many people in Vermont and Maine who can afford a $40,000, compact, AWD, gasoline, sedan, or an equivalent EV.

    However, Mr. Schubert, a recently retired, latte/croissant-type, Vermont businessman, obviously much better off than the average Vermonter, has decided to do some virtue signaling.

    The compact Tesla Model 3, AWD, would have a range of about 325 miles, the compact gasoline sedan, AWD, about 500 miles

    The Tesla Model 3 would cost about $58,000, incl. VT sales tax, destination charge, at home Level-2 charger, etc., the compact gasoline sedan about $30,000

    NO REDUCTION IN CO2

    Several studies have shown, the lifetime CO2 emissions of an all-electric, AWD, compact sedan, such as a Tesla Model 3, is about the same as of a gasoline, AWD, 30 mpg, compact sedan, cradle to grave, both driven 150,000 miles.

    One has to be a masochist to put up with the winter shortcomings of an EV; shorter range (due to cold weather, use of heater, and use of heated seats), higher kWh/mile, slow uphill on cold days, and much less range, etc.

    One has to be an economic moron to choose a Tesla Model 3 sedan over a compact gasoline sedan, unless you have plenty of money and want to do virtue signaling.

    Any subsidies for EVs end up in the pockets of people with incomes in excess of $100,000, such as Mr. Schubert. This is GROSSLY unfair to lower-income people (about 70% of the people of Vermont) and Maine, who have to pay these subsidies and cannot afford to buy any virtue-signaling EVs.

    The travesty of a $7000 federal subsidy for EVs for upscale folks was finally eliminated.
    Vermont and Maine should eliminate its EV subsidies as well.

    How are these $350,000 electric buses doing?

  13. Cynthia used to have my support, but I am afraid she’s been tainted by those other bad apples.
    Sorry , you just lost my support and respect.

  14. Promising to return to the pockets of those whom you’ve plundered is a fool’s( politician’s) promise.
    Never has any government returned any tax plunder without their cut for “administration”.

    After the Energy Efficiency Fee hit me again this month with another $17.50 despite my $28,000 investment in solar panels, and another $15K for heat pumps, one has to wonder if I am willing to bite on anther “worm-on-a-hook” meant to help me “see the light” and mend my evil ways for ” the sake of the children”.

    Joining a regional scheme sounds like the EU, a group of un-elected bureaucrats determining the plight of the electorate.While the elites live in luxury the masses suffer. Thus came the Revolution.

  15. And the administration to make this TCI fair and return the tax where it belongs? At what cost? What a boondoggle!

  16. Lets get the government and lawmakers out of the business of picking energy winners and losers.

    Both are amateurs at so called “energy policy”. As to Vermont lawmakers. Is everyone gonna take what a part time politician thinks he or she knows about the energy market? Really?

    Consumers are a Hell of a lot smarter than some lawmaker reading VPIRG Talking Points.

    Those that are preaching carbon taxes are closed off to the idea that anyone might have a solution, other than the “electrication of everything”, including integration of biofuels

    THEY ARE GUESSING, and worse yet, IT’S OUR MONEY, not theirs

  17. Hey, Cynthia, get out of the buggy. Last I heard there are no carbon tax dollars, YET. You are no better than the rest. Spend money before it exists. So what else is new?????

  18. Again, Willem, there’s wood burning and then there’s wood burning. While many woodstoves in use today burn wood the old fashion (dirty) way, some of us use wood gasifiers. And, yes, while burning natural gas is between 88% to 98% efficient, burning oil and/or wood (in a gasifier) is not all that far behind at 82% to 92% efficient. And most of the wood systems I see installed in schools today are wood gasifiers.

    I have my own wood lot. I harvest my own fuel while, at the same time, managing my wood lot to maximize useable architectural lumber yields. I burn the dregs and seconds of my harvestable wood, keeping the forest understory well-managed for wildlife and decreasing fire risks.

    Is burning wood a panacea for society at large? Of course not. And neither is burning oil or natural gas. But, for the time being, it works for me and is no worse than the alternatives.

    What is the answer to our energy needs? Well, there’s still the under-used Hydro Quebec power from our neighbors to the north. And one day, who knows, orbiting solar farms, drilled hydro-thermal vents, maybe even compact fusion will one day power the world. But, in the meantime, please don’t throw my baby out with the bathwater.

    • Jay,

      You are commenting on my wood burning comment, but that comment has disappeared.
      I hope it gets reinstated.

      It does not matter how efficient a wood stove is.
      The values in brochures were determined in a laboratory test by professionals.

      Stoves operated by lay people have 5 to 10 times as much particulates as in a laboratory. Just google and read my articles.

      The ash is in the wood and that ash will go up the flue as sub micron particles, no matter what, whether that stove has a gasifier or not.

      And those particles are too small to be caught by the usual air pollution control systems.

      They catch only the bigger particles.

      • Of course, it matters how efficient a wood stove is. Efficiency matters. Wood gasification combusts at much higher temperatures (high enough to make glass out of sand), and the cyclone separator in the exhaust system removes much of the particulate. The particulate that does escape is no more dangerous than the particulate from fuel oil or natural gas.

        Is burning oil, natural gas, or wood gasification perfect? Of course not.

        In the final analysis, given whatever the demagoguery ‘du jour’ is, the only way to eliminate human pollution is to eliminate humans, and I’m not prepared to advocate for a contrived policy in that regard. One thing is certain, however, ‘the market’ will figure it out, or circumstances beyond our control will make that prospect irrelevant.

        • Jay,
          An efficient stove will use less wood for the same wood input, but the brochure efficiency percentage is MERELY A GUIDE, because that was achieved by professionals, in a laboratory test, using CLEAN stoves, and pre-selected, carefully cribbed woods.

          IN REAL LIFE, lay people do not get these efficiencies in usually DIRTY stoves, burning whatever wood, on whatever schedule.

          The gasifier stoves are a tiny percentage of all the stoves in use. According to the EPA, 65% of all stoves in use are pre-1990.

          Test Results of Residential Water Heating Boilers and Air Heating Furnaces

          Here are some results of PM and efficiency testing of various heating units, using various fuels, performed by engineers of the Brookhaven National Laboratory and the EPA.
          https://www.bnl.gov/isd/documents/71376.pdf

          PM Tests: The PM emissions were based on MJ of fuel input. The results of the tests were:

          1) Gas-fired units have the lowest PM emissions averaging 0.011 to 0.016 mg/MJ

          2) Regarding fuel oil units:

          – Ultra low sulfur fuel-oil-units have PM emissions of 0.025 to 0.060 mg/MJ,
          – Low sulfur fuel-oil units have PM emissions of 0.49 to 0.510 mg/MJ
          – Typical sulfur No-2 fuel-oil units have PM emissions of 1.320 to 2.100 mg/MJ
          – Pellet units have PM emissions of 25 mg/MJ; even the cleanest ones in 2020 would be off the charts dirtier than all fuel oil and gas units.

          3) Wood pellet stoves have emissions averaging 25 mg/MJ, about 1852 times worse than gas.

          NOTE: Cordwood stoves were not tested.

          Older cordwood stoves have about 5 times the PM and PAH of EPA-certified pellet stoves.
          New cordwood stoves, EPA-certified, have about 2 times the PM and PAH of EPA-certified pellet stoves.

          Particle Size Distribution of Wood Chip Boiler

          About 96% of PM in the untreated smoke from a wood chip boiler is PM10 or less, about 4% is larger than PM10.
          About 93% is PM2.5 or less.
          About 92% is PM1.0 or less.
          About 45% is PM0.22 or less, not trapped by a HEPA filter, or a precipitator.

          A cyclone separator catches NONE of the 92% (by weight) of the less than one micron particles.
          They go up the flue.
          The flue gases hang around the neighborhood buildings on wind still days.
          The flue gases are taken in as “fresh air” by HVAC systems of schools
          Children are exposed from kindergarten to age 18
          Children are exposed almost 24 hours per day, if a wood stove at home.
          This is a statewide public health hazard foisted on vulnerable Vermonters, whose parents are told the fable “it is OK, because wood burning is renewable”

          See URL
          http://www.windtaskforce.org/profiles/blogs/burning-wood-produces-extremely-small-particles-harmful-to-public

        • Jay,
          About 92% (by weight) of the wood particulate matter, PM, in flue gases is less than one micron.
          That goes go up the chimney.
          That happens whether the wood burning system has a gasifier or not.
          A cyclonic separator catches NONE of these particles.
          An electric precipitator catches only a part of these particles, if multi-stage and properly operated.
          A fabric filter catches somewhat more than a precipitator, if no faulty bags.

  19. What would make one believe, especially an elected official, that with this TCI “tax “,
    that there will be any tax revenue to be allocated back to those who paid it ??

    With this multistate” TCI TAX ” initiative, we can see where the money will end up
    and it surely won’t be back in the pocket of the taxpayers they took it from …….

    There lies the problem with the Liberal mindset in Montpelier, rob Peter to pay Paul,
    for an agenda……… It sounds like just another Ponzi Scheme

    All these worldly ” Doomsday”, so-called science experts, still promoting a 1997 study
    that as of today has been debunked………and not one of there claims have ever come
    to fruition…..

    Maybe instead of taking from the tax-burdened Vermonter’s, why not look towards the
    real polluter’s in places like China, India, Russia just to name a few, and if the USA
    is a problem maybe look towards the west ……. California and its issues with pollution.

    Wake up Vermont, you elect these people ……….. Pretty sad, when an agenda is being
    promoted over its citizens………… The Sky isn’t Falling !!

    • Yes. California unintentionally burns more forest lumber than all the wood fuel burned in the Northern States combined. Not so obvious to measure but by improving land management, forrest regeneration and water resources we can help improve our environmental impact.

  20. Vermont should have a building code that allows only Passiv houses to be built.

    Houses built to that standard are very energy-efficient.

    About 88% of Vermont free standing houses are energy hogs. They use about 3 to 4 times as much energy per square foot per year as a Passiv house.

    Weatherizing will reduce energy consumption about 25%, on average.

    That means, after weatherizing, the energy hog houses use about 2.25 to 3.0 times as much as a Passiv house!

    Deep retrofit is the only approach making any economic/environmental sense.

    A compact EV, sedan, such as Tesla Model 3, with AWD, range on a level road about 310 miles at 70F, much less on hilly terrain and during cold/snowy periods, has about the same lifetime CO2 emissions as a 30 mpg, compact gasoline sedan, with AWD, range about 500 miles, each driven 150,000 miles.

    Providing subsidies to buy EVs would go mostly to upscale households, not to the average Vermonters, who end up paying more and more road tax, etc, plus also an ever increasing TCI CARBON TAX.

    China, 1.4 billion, and India, 1.4 billion, should reduce their populations by 75%, instead of piling people on top of each other in a dehumanizing manner.

    The remainder could have a better, cleaner, and healthier life by becoming modern and more energy efficient.

    • Addition.

      If Passiv house is the gold standard, then:

      A typical older Vermont house, 1750 – 1990, is 12.6 times worse
      A newer house, 1990 – 2000, is 7.6 times worse
      A newer house, per IECC, 2000 – 2012, is 5.7 times worse
      A well-sealed/well-insulated house, exceeding IECC, 2012 – 2021, is 4.7 times worse
      A highly sealed/highly insulated house, exceeding IECC, 2000 – present, is 2.7 times worse.

      Weatherizing older houses reduces energy consumption about 30%, on average, i.e., they become 12.7 x 0.7 = 8.8 times worse than Passiv, etc.

      The only answer is to start tearing down whole neighborhoods of older houses and replace them with Passiv houses, TO MAKE A REAL DIFFERENCE.

      See URL.
      http://www.windtaskforce.org/profiles/blogs/residential-and-other-gshp-systems-in-new-england/edit

      • Must you have to have Oxygen infusions to live in one of these hermetically sealed vaults?
        How do you deal with the humidity of human breath? Mold!

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