Roper: The Climate Council’s ‘carbon tax plus’ agenda for Vermont

By Rob Roper

As gasoline prices hover around record highs, putting tremendous pressure on family budgets, stressing businesses and making life generally more expensive, the Vermont Climate Council is coming up with a plan to make the problem worse. Much worse.

At the July 11 meeting of the council’s Transportation Task Force, which is formulating a plan for the Legislature that will lower CO2 emissions from the transportation sector enough to meet the mandates of the Global Warming Solutions Act, new carbon taxes on gas and diesel were at the top of the list.

Rob Roper is on the Board of Directors of the Ethan Allen Institute.

Council member Jared Duval (who is also running for a Washington County Senate seat) said to unanimous agreement, “At a minimum, what will be necessary to meet the GWSA requirements, is either a ‘cap’ — and that could be Cap & Invest or Cap & Reduce — or a ‘performance standard.’ At the very least we need to tell the legislature that it’s going to take one or both of those options. And they may not be sufficient on their own. But I feel extremely confident that we cannot have anywhere near the degree of confidence in meeting the CAP [Climate Action Plan] without at least one of those policies.”

Let’s look at definitions here. An example of a “Cap & Invest” program is the Transportation Climate Initiative (TCI-P), which would have forced motor fuel dealers to purchase “allowances” in order to sell gas and diesel. These “allowances” are a de facto carbon tax that will be passed along to Vermont drivers, driving up the cost of gas and diesel and putting “market” pressure on people not to use them.

Before the multi-state compact imploded last December, TCI-P was expected to cost Vermont drivers an additional $20 million to $30 million a year for motor fuels. While this sounds like a lot, and is, it’s not even close to what the Climate Council’s proposed programs will cost — multiple billions of dollars — so what a Vermont-go-it-alone version of TCI-P could look like is truly mind boggling.

The difference between a Cap & Reduce and a Cap & Invest program is the latter is more interested in raising revenue from GHG emissions (cripple the host but keep it alive so you can continue sucking its blood), and the former’s priority is simply to reduce year over year the amount of gas and diesel allowed to be sold in state until it’s gone (kill the host). This could lead not only to higher prices at the pump, but fuel shortages as well.

Transportation Performance Standards are basically outright bans on vehicles that don’t meet government mandated GHG emissions limits. In other words, a transportation related Performance Standard policy could mean you can’t own a car or truck (or snow machine, ATV, tractor, lawn mower, etc.) that emits more than a set level of greenhouse gasses. Vermont is already set to adopt California’s Advanced Clean Cars II and Clean Trucks emission standards (another Climate Council recommendation), which begins the process of limiting after 2026 and then banning entirely the sale of new internal combustion engine vehicles by 2035. Presumably an additional Vermont-based performance standard would be even more expansive and restrictive about what consumers would be allowed to buy and use.

And this is just the transportation portion of the Climate Action Plan. The Council is also going to recommend that the Legislature bring back the Clean Heat Standard, which is a TCI-P-like de facto carbon tax on home heating fuels. A total 99 House members failed to override the governor’s veto of this bad idea by a single vote back in May. As of this writing, the cost of a gallon of heating oil is $5.37.

All this is, of course, unaffordable, impractical and potentially catastrophic for our economy. New Hampshire isn’t banning the sale of cars and trucks, nor is it jacking up the taxes on gas and heating fuel. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see what will happen if we do this.

In fairness to the Climate Council, they’re just doing their job, which is to figure out how to meet the goals of the Global Warming Solutions Act passed by the Legislature. It’s not in their purview to say this is nuts and we shouldn’t do it. No, the real culprits behind this colossal mess are the 103 representatives and 22 senators who voted for the Global Warming Solutions Act over the veto of Governor Scott. They’re the ones demanding these policies.

Thankfully, between now and when the Climate Council makes its formal recommendations to the Legislature there will be an election. Let’s hope the new Legislature that hears these recommendations for new carbon taxes on gas and heating fuel, bans on cars and trucks, and who knows what else, will be ideologically different than the Legislature that asked for them.

Rob Roper is on the board of directors for the Ethan Allen Institute. He lives in Stowe.

Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons/Infrogmation

17 thoughts on “Roper: The Climate Council’s ‘carbon tax plus’ agenda for Vermont

  1. $1,476.75 is the projected cost to fill a 275 gallon oil tank. More likely around $1,000 every time you have it refilled since you don’t want to run out. It’s going to have a significant impact on those of us who have to pay for oil directly or indirectly. And realize that because the cost of fuel (gas, diesel) is increasing so is the cost of firewood and pellets.

  2. More “feel good” pablum from the “Land-of-the-Dopey’s”. Greenie energy has a problem. Texas is in a small crisis – as the wind towers aren’t “winding”. POWER shortage. Germany is in power trouble…Land of Greenies & “Greta’s”….Germany seeks to turn back on nuke plants and they seek to RE OPEN COAL PLANTS. India and China are INCREASING hugely their COAL PLANTS because the Enviros want to kill oil and natural gas…so as oil and natural gas skyrocket in price $…the rest of the world goes back massively- to dirtier COAL. Don’t you get it “Dopey’s”? Shut down oil and natural gas and you will GET MORE AND MORE COAL & MORE NUKES! Wind and solar are a joke.

  3. Here’s an assignment for Mr. Duval to determine how much the people of Vermont want the climate action plans to be carried out.

    If a Vermont town wants to build a new school, the cost is determined along with the financing costs and its presented to the voters for a vote. The citizens know the total cost and cast their votes accordinglyl…….It’s as simple as that.

    Mr. Duval should determine what the total cost of implementing the climate action plan of each Vermont family would be and put the proposal before the people for vote…….Let the people decide if they want to bare to burden of a multi-billion climate action plan……..A plan that that will accomplish nothing to halt global warming.

    If Duval cannot not tell Vermonters what the exact cost is…….He should stay so and make no recommendations and allow individual families decide on what to do……No meaningless mandates wanted nor needed.

  4. Jared Duval is the Executive Director of the Energy Action Network…….So what exactly is the EAN, who are its members and what are the sources of the money needed to carry out its mission of achieving Vermont’s climate and energy commitments?

    According to the Energy Action Network’s web site, the organization is comprised of more that 200 businesses and nonprofits and its mission is “policy and promotion of renewable energy. No mention is made of the businesses that comprise its membership, where the money comes from to fund its operations or what what the businesses putting up the money expect to get in return.

    So why the silence, secrecy and failure to name the people, businesses and nonprofits who fund the promotion of renewable energy in Vermont…….The promotion of which will cost all Vermonters dearly?

    Where does the money come from to fund Mr. Duval’s mission and what will these businesses get in return for providing the money?

    The people of Vermont must be told where the money is coming from to promote renewable energy and the billions of dollars that the providers of this money stand to earn.

  5. Trying to address a global issue with a Vermont only solution does not make any sense. Absolutely imperative that enough Republicans and Independents get elected to the Vermont House of Representatives to sustain Governor Scott’s repeated vetos on this misguided endeavor.

    • John,
      You’re so right. The lunacy that VT is going to save the planet from the Global Elite’s faux climate crisis is utter nonsense. High time for VT voters to wake-up.

      • Sadly, a majority of voters simply seem to cast their vote without researching the candidates. A “p” or “d” next to the name on a ballot is sufficient for them to feel good about their choice.
        Later, after the bureaucrats and climate evangelicals get at the plan, the voter sighs and merely blames government for their woes. If I had a nickel for every time I heard the phrase “ yeah, but what can we do about it”……
        Vermont escaped, temporarily last sessions climate carbon tax by but one mere legislator’s nay vote. I’d say there’s plenty to “do about it”.

  6. In the only state that shows all blue on the voting map we have to be as stupid sided as the idiot puppet potato heads string pullers in DC.. begging the Arabs for oil that could easily be produced here. Putin isn’t our enemy DC and VT political hacks are THE ENEMY..wake up voters…

  7. And I suppose these fools have considered the fact that all State and Town vehicles used to plow snow grade roads, dig ditches transport school children, police our counties, towns and highways, enforce Game laws, transport Fire, Rescue,and First responders all run on fossil fuels?

  8. Just think of the trouble we’re in when this State’s energy policy direction is determined by people like Jared Duval.

    We’re really in big trouble and will need many more vetos from Gov. Scott to keep the Jared Smith’s from destroying this State while countries around the world continue burning coal to generate electricity and to power the economies of China, India, Japan plus European and third world countries around the globe………What is Jared Duval thinking or does he even think at all?

  9. Any statement of fact used to take at least 3 Truth Tests to pass acceptance:
    1. Does it look like S***?
    2. Does it smell like S***?
    3. Does it taste like S***?

    Only after passing these 3 ironclad rules could any sane person finally decide that yes, it is S***!
    It’s quite obvious that the Global Warming Solutions Act is S*** and should be treated as such.
    Pay close attention as to who lines up at the trough to eat S***.

  10. When will the ” Real ” Vermonters wake up, and start voting these liberal fools ” OUT “,
    you keep working and they’ll keep taxing and spending ” you ” right into the poor house
    for what, nonsense ………… the sky is falling, the sky is falling is pure BS.

    If Vermont was 100% net-zero today, it would amount to a drop in the ocean, it’s all hype
    just follow the money……. Wake up people, before it’s too late, and it won’t be from CO2
    emissions !!

  11. Civilization began when the early man discovered fire – using carbon to enhance Human Life !!
    Shall we give up using Carbon for accelorating our achievements during all world history.???
    The smarter we get – using carbon – The better our lives become !!

    The stupid line “Oh, go buy a sweater ” Ignores how sweaters come to our stores.
    Can there be any useful rebuttal for that???

  12. If Vermonters don’t wake up and vote every RINO out of office our state is doomed..

    • The Rhino in Montpelier is the only one saving us! We need to get rid of the leaders of, and the lemmings that create the need for all his vetoes!

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