Roper: Climate council says the ‘C’ word

By Rob Roper

During the July 8 meeting of the Vermont Climate Council’s Cross-Sector Mitigation Committee, the group started to delve into some of the details of what “the plan” to reduce the state’s greenhouse gas emissions might actually look like.

In a nutshell, how you drive, heat your home and heat your water are going to have to change. Needless to say, subsidizing multiple tens of thousands of Vermonters into electric vehicles, weatherizing many thousands of homes, and switching out existing heating systems for many more, will cost a mountain of money.

So the “we’re-not-proposing-a-carbon-tax” line is just the loud part. The quiet part is, “as a proposal in and of itself, but we are proposing it as a funding mechanism for all this other stuff we want to do, and it will be massive.”

After inventorying this list of proposals, committee member Richard Cowart made a truly unbelievable attempt at gaslighting about a carbon tax. He said, “I have a final point … about something that’s not on this list … and that is a carbon tax or something like that. We quite clearly are not proposing that. … And we’re not following the tack of thinking that if we were just to impose higher energy costs that the magic of the market would deliver these solutions.”

There was a brief spate of self-congratulatory agreement until Peter Walke of the Scott administration stated the obvious: “Most of them [program proposals] are devoid of funding sources for these activities, so there will likely be discussion about how these things are funded as part of the Climate Council process. That’s likely to produce another round of discussion around a carbon tax.”

Cowart concurred, “I totally agree with that. … Sure, we’re going to need revenue sources to run and deliver these programs.”

Johanna Miller, of the Vermont Natural Resources Council, agreed. “I think it’s hard not to put these ideas on the table and not have a conversation about how you’re going to pay for that.”

So the “we’re-not-proposing-a-carbon-tax” line is just the loud part. The quiet part is, “as a proposal in and of itself, but we are proposing it as a funding mechanism for all this other stuff we want to do, and it will be massive.” Not exactly an honest presentation of information to the buying public.

Later the conversation turned to the Transportation Climate Initiative (TCI), which is essentially a regional carbon tax on motor fuels. Cowart again led the conversation: “One of the big options on the table now and has been for some time is the Transportation Climate Initiative, and I didn’t hear you focusing particularly on that.”

Gina Campoli enthusiastically chimed in, “It’s in the list! … We can’t avoid talking about it. A considerable amount of work has been done, and we want it to be on the table.”

And Cowart again, “A lot of the recommendations do require funding, and so either TCI or something else realistically needs to be part of our policy package.”

So much for not recommending a carbon tax as a policy initiative in and of itself.

Johanna Miller then concluded, “Recognizing that we need more secure sustainable funding sources, so we did recommend Transportation Climate Initiative. … That’s why we have a placeholder here for including TCI, but likely not limited to.”

So, in the span of less than an hour we went from, “We’re not proposing a carbon tax,” to “We are totally recommending a regional carbon tax on motor fuels, which likely won’t raise enough revenue to cover all the spending we want, so we’ll need another source of revenue, which will likely come from a straight carbon tax at the state level.”

Rob Roper is president of the Ethan Allen Institute. Reprinted with permission from the Ethan Allen Institute Blog.

10 thoughts on “Roper: Climate council says the ‘C’ word

  1. The CARBON tax to implement a FLAWED DEM/PROG agenda

    A carbon tax to have more heat pumps would be a disaster for Vermont, because AIR SOURCE HPs cannot ECONOMICALLY displace 100% of fuel oil, or propane, or natural gas, as shown in this article.


    Heat Pumps are Money Losers in my Vermont House (as they are in almost all people’s houses)

    I installed three Mitsubishi, 24,000 Btu/h HPs, each with 2 heads; 2 in the living room, 1 in the kitchen, and 1 in each of 3 bedrooms.
    The HPs last about 15 years. Turnkey capital cost was $24,000

    They are used for heating and cooling my 35-y-old, 3500 sq ft, well-sealed/well-insulated house.
    The house has 2” of blueboard, R-10, on the outside of the concrete foundation and under the basement slab which has saved me many thousands of space heating dollars over the 35 years.

    Energy Cost Reduction: Before HPs, my space heating propane was 1,000 gal/y
    After HPs, it was 750 gal/y, a reduction of 250 gal/y, or $600/y, at $2.399/gal; I am a member of a fuel-buying group.
    Additional electricity cost was 1,899 kWh x 20 c/kWh = $380/y, including taxes, fees and surcharges.
    Domestic hot water, DHW, heating, requires about 200 gallon/y
    My energy cost savings were 600 – 380 = $220/y, on an investment of $24,000!!

    My existing Viessmann propane system is used on cold days, 15F or less, because HPs would have low efficiencies, i.e., low Btu/kWh, at exactly the same time my house would need the most heat; a perverse situation, due to the laws of Physics 101!!

    The HPs would be slightly more efficient than electric resistance heaters at -10F, the Vermont HVAC design temperature.
    It would be extremely irrational to operate air source HPs at such temperatures.

    Vermont forcing, with subsidies and/or mandates, the addition of expensive RE electricity, such as wind, solar, batteries, etc., would increase electric rates and worsen the economics of HP operation!!

    Amortizing Heat Pumps: Amortizing the $24,000 turnkey capital cost at 3.5%/y for 15 years costs about $2,059/y.
    This is in addition to the amortizing of my existing propane system. I am losing money.

    There likely would be service calls and parts for the HP system, as the years go by.
    This is in addition to the annual service calls and parts for my existing propane system.

    Cost of CO2 Reduction would be (2059, amortize – 220 energy saving + 200, parts and maintenance)/0.838, table 4 = $2,433/Mt, which is even greater than electric school buses. I am losing more money.

    Ground Source HPs: They are widely used in many different buildings in northern Europe, such as Germany, the Netherlands, Denmark, Norway, Sweden and Finland.

    Their main advantage is the coefficient of performance, COP, does not decrease with temperature, because the ground temperature is constant; i.e., 100% of fuel oil, or propane, or natural gas can be economically displaced, whereas the economic displacement would be at most 50% with air source HPs; the percentage depends on how well a building is sealed and insulated.

    Their main disadvantage is greater turnkey capital cost

    If I had a highly sealed, highly insulated house, with the same efficient propane heating system, my house would use very little energy for space heating
    BTW, about 1.0 to 1.5 percent of Vermont households have such housing.

    If I would install HPs, and would operate the propane system on only the coldest days, I likely would displace more propane and would have greater annual energy cost savings; much depends on electricity and propane prices. See Note.

    However, those annual energy cost savings would be overwhelmed by the annual amortizing cost, i.e., I would still be losing money, if amortizing were considered.

    NOTE: I likely would need 3 units at 18,000 Btu/h, at a lesser turnkey capital cost. Their output, very-inefficiently produced, would be about 27,000 Btu/h at -10F, the Vermont HVAC design temperature.

    NOTE: VT-Department of Public Service found, after a survey of 77 HPs installed in Vermont houses (turnkey cost for a one-head HP system is about $4,500; almost all houses had just one HP), the annual energy cost savings were, on average, $200, but the maintenance and annual amortizing costs would turn that gain into a loss of at least $200, i.e., on average, these houses were unsuitable for HPs, and the owners were losing money.

    BTW, all of the above (minimal annual CO2 reduction and meager annual energy savings) has been widely known for at least a

  2. Did they finally say Communism?

    BLM is pro Cuba, other leaders are coming out and saying Cuba is most equitable of all countries with regard to race. Too funny…..

    cats out of the bag now, it’s all about taking over America, getting everybody poor like Cuba so we’re all equal, but the pigs in leadership are just “more equal”!

    Bernie hasn’t given up any of his money, nor lived by his tax code, nor lived by his “green ideals”.

    The c word is communism, the goal for so many on power. Should we ration water and power like Cuba too?

    Marxist scum. They are not American, that’s for sure.

  3. Ha ha…
    When I first read the title of this article: “Climate Council Says The ‘C’ Word”, the thing that popped into my head wasn’t ‘Carbon’ but ‘Communism’. The fact that either word coming out of their mouths wouldn’t be a surprise, is telling enough.

  4. Read this Climate Council conversation and then try to figure out how soon you can get the hell out
    of Vermont with as many of your belongings as possible.

  5. Meanwhile……..China (1.4 billion people consuming energy) continues to build coal fire power plants around the globe, Russia prepares to ship fossil fuels to Europe via a giant pipe line (a pipeline Biden Okayed), the Middle East has been asked to pump additional millions of barrels of oil to compensate for Biden failed energy policies and a second meanwhile…..The Vermont Climate Council continues to dispense the Climate solution Kool-Aid to the true believers.

    For eons, societies all around the world have selected elders endowed with wisdom to make major community decisions……Tossing human history aside, Vermont in its quest to be the first in saving the planet has junked wisdom in favor of advocates and ideologues for major energy decision making…….Unbelievable.

  6. Republicans need to stop constantly playing defense! give them what they are asking for. As I have pointed out previously, this is the way to drive a stake thru the heart of the Socialist Vampires demand for a carbon tax forever. Turn it on them! Promote the Carbon Tax based on amount of carbon emitted per square foot area of impervious surface area. Since they govern all the large urban/metropolitan areas the tax would fall almost entirely on them. Then the amount of tax collected could be distributed as a tax credit to taxpayers in more rural carbon cleaning/oxygen producing forested areas as a fee for service. They would drop the whole Carbon Tax scam like a hot potato!

  7. At some point we will wake up to what’s happening to you! Taxing people to death will not change anything but the minions will feel better!

  8. When will people wake up to the realization that taking a vacation in an electric car any distance, say 200 or more miles from home, will require significant planning to locate charging stations and lots of extra time to accomplish charging. And what about the people who like to take a travel trailer? Electric car support that?

    • You are right on, Lester but another question looms, and that question is:
      Where is all the additional electricity coming from that will be needed to replace gasoline, diesel fuel, propane, and natural gas? Solar panels installed on the rooftops of these cars and trucks ain’t goin tuh cut it folks.
      And then how about heating our homes in the winter, how is that goin’ tuh hapun?
      I may have been born at night, but it was not last night.

  9. This committee resembles a high-school problem solving session. Lots of talk, lots of happy thoughts and no resolution to the assigned problem…If CO2 is really a problem…
    My high school science taught:
    78% Nitrogen
    21% Oxygen
    0.9% Argon
    0.04% CO2
    0.06% Everything else.
    But, hey- a tax will fix that.

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