Roper: What’s in the Global Warming Solutions Act?

By Rob Roper

The Legislature returned in late August to tie up the loose ends of the 2020 session, and one of those loose ends is the Global Warming Solutions Act (GWSA).

Both the Speaker of the House, Mitzi Johnson (D-Grand Isle), and the Senate President Pro Tem, Tim Ashe (D/P-Chittenden), promised to get the bill through its final stages of passage and to the governor’s desk before they break again for good (Sept. 25 at the latest).

The GWSA is and always has been a Trojan horse piece of legislation. Its outer appearance is inviting: Let’s mandate that Vermont lower its greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions so we can, as the name implies, “solve” global warming. Specifically, the bill requires GHG reductions of 26% below 2005 levels by 2025, 40% below 1990 levels by 2030, and 80% below 1990 levels by 2050.

Rob Roper is the president of the Ethan Allen Institute.

Great! But what’s inside? How do we accomplish this? What will it cost? What impact will it actually have on future climate trends?

On all of these rather significant questions, the bill — and its advocates — are silent. We’ll figure that out later after we pass it, they say! And what happens if we fail at this currently undefined but clearly daunting task? Well, then anyone from anywhere can sue the state at taxpayers’ expense. That bit is in the bill.

Seriously, what rational person would sign a contract like this? Sending your bank routing number to the prince of Zambia who just emailed you that you won their national lottery and he’s ready to wire you the money exhibits sounder judgment than voting for the GWSA.

But, the lack of any plan or details is a key part of the cynical design of the GWSA. If voters knew what was required to achieve the mandates the law, it would be a political non-starter. So, as it stands, a newly appointed panel of unelected “stakeholders” (that’s political-ese for “special interests”) will design a plan to meet the GHG reduction mandates and give it to the unelected bureaucrats at Agency of Natural Resources (ANR), who will then create, implement, and enforce rules impacting the lives and livelihoods of Vermonters based on that plan.

As of now, we the citizens have no idea what that plan is. Nor do the legislators who will vote to pass this bill (and, again by cynical design, will never vote on the rules that will result because of it). This is inexcusable negligence.

But we can speculate as to what the GWSA will ultimately require.

The only way to reduce GHG emissions is to limit or eliminate the activities that generate GHG emissions. And the only way to reduce GHG emissions by the amounts mandated in the bill is for ANR to limit or eliminate a whole lot of those activities. What sort of things fall into this category? ANR could ban ATVs and snow machines. They could ban gas powered landscaping equipment. They could ban backyard barbeques and fire pits. They could ban fireplaces and wood stoves in new homes and/or curtail their use where they already exist. They could disallow fossil fuel heating systems from being used in new or renovated homes or other buildings. They could limit the types of vehicles and appliances allowed for purchase, they could ban racing at Thunder Road.

“Hold on,” our critics wail. “You’re just fear mongering. None of that stuff is in the bill!” Exactly. That’s the point. It’s not, but for the sake of transparency and honest government, it should be.

We know what items are on the GWSA menu. We deserve to know what’s going to be ordered off that menu — every bit of which we will be mandated to swallow — and what the price of each item is before we agree to sit down for this meal.

If the GWSA becomes law, what kinds of actions will ANR be allowed to take and to what degree necessary to meet the GHG emissions goals laid out in the law? What will it cost, directly and indirectly, to do this? What tangible benefit will Vermonters gain as a result? Until those questions are well and clearly answered — and defined in the bill itself — nobody has any business supporting the GWSA in any way, shape or form.

Most importantly, does passing this bill now, in the midst of the Covid-19 economic recession make any sense? When Vermonters are struggling to rebuild their household finances and businesses are fighting to remain viable, how can legislators justify saddling our citizens with significant new expenses and draconian restrictions on economic activity? Supporters of the GWSA don’t want these questions asked, likely because they know the answers.

Rob Roper is president of the Ethan Allen Institute. He lives in Stowe.

15 thoughts on “Roper: What’s in the Global Warming Solutions Act?

  1. More Than 93,000 Are Without Power in LA and OC
    September 7, 2020 Updated: September 7, 2020

    LOS ANGELES (CNS)—The holiday heat wave is taking a toll on the Southern California power grid with more than 90,000 Southern California Edison and LA Department of Water and Power customers without power early Sept. 7 and electricity for some not expected to be restored until Sept. 8.

    The DWP reported at 9 p.m. Sept. 6 that its crews had restored power to 77,000 customers since the extreme heat storm started causing problems on Sept. 5. But crews were working to restore power to some 70,000 customers by repairing overheated and overloaded distribution equipment.

    Neighborhoods most affected by the power outages included Highland Park with 12,000 customers, Mid-Wilshire with 5,100, Sylmar with 4,500, and Studio City with 3,700. The DWP warned some customers might be without electricity for 24 to 48 hours.

    By early Monday, Edison reported 402 outages on its website affecting 19,091 Los Angeles County customers, and 95 outages in Orange County affecting 4,055 customers.

    There were 2,289 customers without power in unincorporated Los Angeles County, 1,690 in San Gabriel, 1,194 in South Gate, 1,075 in Whittier, and 710 in Pomona.

    Newport Beach had the greatest number of Orange County outages with 636 customers affected, Mission Viejo had 194 and Lake Forest had 180. Edison said some customers might not have their power restored until Tuesday.

    The DWP urged people to set air conditioners to 78-82 degrees and “skip laundry and heavy appliance use.
    Those experiencing a power outage were urged to report it at or by calling 1-800-DIAL-DWP (1-800-342-5397) using the automated system.

    Meanwhile, Gov. Gavin Newsom highlighted a number of steps to free up energy capacity.

    “California has always been the canary in the coal mine for climate change, and this weekend’s events only underscore that reality,” Newsom said. “Wildfires have caused system failures, while near record energy demand is predicted as a multi-state heat wave hits the West Coast for the second time in a matter of weeks.

    “Californians are rising to the occasion to meet these unprecedented challenges for our energy grid, and I want to thank all of the businesses and individuals who are conserving energy. Californians should heed (California Independent System Operator’s) warnings and flex their power to shift energy consumption to earlier in the day.”

    Newsom said the state has already taken the following actions to free up capacity:

    -Working with large commercial and public energy consumers to shift their energy usage away from peak hours;

    -Ramping up appeals to Californians to flex their power, pre-cool their homes before noon and conserve energy from 3 p.m. onward;

    -Partnering with third party energy producers to bring back-up energy generation resources online, from the State Water Project to DWP and the state’s investor-owned utilities;

    -Asking the Navy and commercial ports to use on-ship electrical generation instead of pulling resources away from the grid.

    At about 6 p.m., Sept. 6, the California Independent System Operator, which oversees the state’s bulk electric power system and it utility companies, declared a Stage 2 Emergency, announcing its operators were “taking all the steps to protect the grid, manage transmission loss and avoid outages.”

    A Stage 2 Emergency means “the CAISO has taken all mitigating actions and is no longer able to provide its expected energy requirements. A Stage 2 warning requires ISO intervention in the market, such as ordering power plants online,” according to the agency’s website.

    The Stage 2 Emergency was lifted just after 9 p.m. However, the flex alert will continue Sept. 7 from 3 p.m. through 9 p.m.
    Temperatures set new records around Southern California Sept. 6, including:

    121 degrees at Pierce College in Woodland Hills, which broke a 2006 record of 119;
    Van Nuys hit 118 degrees, breaking a record of 117 set in 2018; and
    114 degrees at Burbank Airport tied a previous record set Sept. 5.

    An excessive heat warning issued by the National Weather Service will be in effect until 8 p.m. Sept. 7 in the San Gabriel and Santa Monica Mountains, Santa Catalina Island and the San Fernando, Santa Clarita, San Gabriel and Antelope valleys as well as Orange County.

    Cooling centers (wading pools) will be open throughout the weekend in Los Angeles and Orange counties.
    The list can be found at:

  2. All you need to know about the Global Warming Solutions Act (GWSA) is that it’s
    going to cost you more mone and it’s going to impact your way of life !!

    This boondoggle will get shoved down your throat, why because it’s the liberals
    agenda and you’re of no relevance to them.

    Wake up people, you vote these fools in, so how’s that working for you ???

  3. This seems to me to be the perfect example of a philosophical bent overriding not just good judgement, but the hosting party giving up their power to mandate the rules by annual legislation. Has anyone seen this happen in any legislator where they shrug their shoulders and pass legislation the negates their future power? I have not.
    So, why are the progressives willing to do this? Simply because they believe that those that they somehow get on the “Committee or Council or whatever the unelected group will be called” will be controlled by their philosophy and the Continued whispered conditions of in The halls of power From those that that gave them such power.
    As an ex-pat Vermonter living in New Hampshire, I am so glad I moved here and so sad for the State I grew up in, got my self-sufficient identity from, grew my character in and raised my son in.

  4. What’s in the GWSA?

    Redistribution of money to implement socialist dogma passed down from the United Nations.

    Yeah…..nothing to reduce pollution. It’s never, never been about the environment. Don’t be fooled.

  5. This whole antiglobal warming would be the all time funny except these crazies are pushing for legislation with one major achievemenm, it would hurt the little guy and accomplish absolutely NOTHING as far as climate change is concerned.

    • But both the Legislature and Chairman Phil will implement it because of an “emergency,” and it’s for “the good of everybody.” This is what allowing them to get away with color of law edicts has made possible.

  6. Global Warming Solutions Act: Before this bill is voted, an estimate (with provable documentation open to challenge) should be presented specifying how much the actions mandated will affect Vermont’s climate or the climate of Planet Earth. Since “warming” is the bill’s target, what fraction of a degree difference will result from the actions and how much it will cost taxpayers per (for example) each hundredth of a degree. Such bills should never be passed without a cost/benefit analysis and be time limited, to expire automatically if not renewed by vote to insure that non-working or economically impractical bills do not go on forever. To impose specific cost on the public but empirically deny control to the public vote is tyranny and AGW is a religion the foundation of which, that humans can meaningfully affect the climate, is under dispute.

      • If Republicans offered common sense ways to be more environmental, it would soothe those who believe our would is going to end. Good stewardship is always welcome.

        One instance: Allow any vehicle that has less than 50cc to operate without a motorcycle license, without a license and people who are trying to rebuild their lives and be green by getting more than 100mpg makes life a bit easier.

        Vermont has the most stringent regulations AGAINST the use of high mileage vehicles like this.

        Life is easier with some freedom, life in a socialist state is always a struggle and expensive, which is the core of Vermont’s problems.

      • Want to through in another Republican ideal that saves the environment and helps the poor?

        No tax on any vehicle with less than 300cc for motor.

        Those for the GWSA, want to have the argument, as they frame the Republican’s as anti- environment, which is their true secondary goal.

        Republicans could own the conversation, they could dominate the political landscape in Vermont if we only exposed the lies and the true intent, if all the Republicans voted for and posted the above bills, what are the NWO pimps going to do?

        They have to vote against it, as it doesn’t give them money and control. This will expose the pimps for being the narcissistic, prideful, thieving scum they truly are. The public will immediately see, we don’t have to fight, it’s best not to fight. It’s best to expose their hearts and true intentions.

        This is one path to peace and harmony.

  7. Mitzy Johnson & Tim Ashe are not to be trusted. These two just schemed, by way of H.942 to place limits on ATV’s in Vermont (H.942 was an emergency Transportation funding bill) which added fees, insurance requirements, helmet mandate and other requirements to all Vermonters. They did this by slipping this into this bill without public comment or debate. We fought a revolutionary War to rid ourselves of BS like this.

    • We may find that the GWSA “Board” decides that ATV’s aren’t “green” and disallows their use in Vermont- or any other carbon producing activity- recreational or not. Mitzi and Tim can wash their hands of any repercussion, as the decision was made by the “Board” and the courts. Don’t like ATV’s? Sue the State. Find chainsaws offensive? Simply find an Environmental lawyer. If you prevail, collect tax dollars for your time and effort. Perhaps this is the start of a new industry of “green” jobs.

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