Guy Page: Tunnel vision on carbon reduction leaves Vermont vulnerable to climate storms

By Guy Page

Vermont’s energy leaders often warn about the dangers of climate-change related extreme weather. But the solutions they propose won’t keep people or property safer when the next Climate storm, flood or blizzard hits. Most Vermont state government policies, plans, legislation and spending address carbon emission reduction. Comparatively little thought is given to adapting our rivers, roads, power lines, homes and public buildings to extreme weather.

This emphasis is noticeable to any watcher of State House legislation and government reports. Take, for example, recent statements by Vermont Public Utilities (PUC) Chairman Anthony Roisman July 8 on WDEV’s The Dave Gram Show.

Guy Page is affiliated with the Vermont Energy Partnership, the Vermont Alliance for Ethical Healthcare, and Physicians, Families & Friends for a Better Vermont.

Roisman was talking up a July 1 PUC report urging a “wartime footing” approach to getting Vermonters to buy electric vehicles (EVs) to meet Vermont carbon reduction goals. reduce carbon emissions from transportation. Roismann had spent the first 15 minutes of the show calling criticism of EV cost and range a “myth” and “fake news”. Thanks to a $7500 federal rebate many models are cost-competitive, he said. EV’s simpler mechanics and electric ($1.50/gallon equivalent) fuel make them cheaper to operate than internal-combustion cars. Range is now 200 miles and getting longer all the time, he said.

And Roisman has a point, I’ve got to admit. EV technology, to quote the Beatles, “is getting better, a little better, all the time.” Toyota now sells a winter-worthy, all-wheel drive EV. This progress begs the question: if the tech is getting better why not just wait a few years until EVs don’t need rebates to compete? Cellphones don’t need subsidies to “compete” with landlines.

Still, it’s not every day average Vermonters get to ask the chief justice of Vermont’s energy court pointed questions in public about the state’s climate change policy. It’s even more rare for his revealing answers to be broadcast statewide and then preserved in a podcast. Seizing this opportunity, caller “Doug from Underhill” and I posed back-to-back questions. (No, we didn’t coordinate. We were both just trying to “be our own media.” When you do that, good things happen.)

Doug from Underhill questioned whether federal money – derived either from taxpayers or debt – should be spent on a $7500 rebate to make EVs market-affordable. Roisman said in effect that ‘we can’t afford not to spend the money’: “The question is, are we getting value for that money? What happened in this state when we had [Hurricane] Irene? What happens to our electric grid? What happens when we have the flooding with these big storms? The cost of not dealing with the climate change issue is far greater than stopping this problem before it gets to where we have no ability to control it anymore.”

I was the next caller and I asked the obvious follow-up: “then why aren’t we spending our limited amount of time and money on adaptation instead?”

Public domain

Hurricane Irene came through Bethel, Vermont, on August 28, 2011, and left a trail of damage to houses and other structures.

Roisman answered: “Number one, if we only assume that unless Vermont can change the world all by itself that we shouldn’t do anything, then we have failed to recognized the value of setting an example. Vermont often leads by example rather than follows. Right now the US is not a leader.”

Message: This is all about setting an example to the rest of the world. To be fair, Roisman did add:

We shouldn’t be ignoring taking protective measures to deal with the effects of climate change while we are trying to get rid of the worst effects that will happen if we don’t deal with climate change. We have to do both. That’s why I refer to this as being on a wartime footing.  This needs that kind of mentality.”

It’s sort of like World War II when the U.S. prioritized the war in Europe over the war in the Pacific. Except that on this “war footing,” actual war planning (or lack of it) is leaving civilians defenseless against the invader. There’s not a word about infrastructure adaptation in the PUC report, “Promoting the ownership and use of electric vehicles in the State of Vermont.” Instead it puts EV ownership in the fast lane via subsidies, more charging stations, and ratepayer restructuring. It’s all about carbon reduction.

The same could be said about S.173, “The Vermont Global Warming Solutions Act” introduced this year by Sen. Allison Clarkson (D-Windham) and 12 other senators. It’s likely to get legislative attention in the second year of the 2019-20 biennium. Its statement of purpose declares that “It is in the interest of the people, in order to protect the public health, preserve the environment, and promote the general welfare, that the State reduce economy-wide carbon emissions [italics mine] in order to address the problem of climate change.”

S173 would empower state government to makes far-reaching decisions in virtually every arena of life, in order to reduce emissions. It would not explicitly lift a finger to actually protect infrastructure or people from the threat of climate-related disaster.

In fact, only one major piece of environmental legislation now under consideration may address infrastructure protection against extreme weather: the proposed revision of Act 250. This huge rewrite of the state’s environmental planning and development law is at least a year away from passage. No-one knows how the final version will read.

The executive branch of government has done little better. According to the prestigious Georgetown Climate Center, “Vermont has not adopted an official statewide adaptation plan.” Instead there is a 2013 “Adaptation Framework” for forest, fishery and wildlife resources, and a 2014 vulnerability report called the Vermont Climate Assessment. Follow-up and action may be quietly taking place – but if so, it’s not well known in the State House of the Vermont media.

Amid the windstorm of concerted judicial, executive and legislative branch activity to reduce emissions, there’s barely a whisper about helping Vermonters cope with the next Hurricane Irene. A our leaders go to war as a shining Joan of Arc-like example to the nations, many Vermonters just want to survive the next Irene.

Statehouse Headliners is intended primarily to educate, not advocate. It is e-mailed to an ever-growing list of interested Vermonters, public officials and media. Guy Page is affiliated with the Vermont Energy Partnership; the Vermont Alliance for Ethical Healthcare; and Physicians, Families and Friends for a Better Vermont.

Image courtesy of Public domain

6 thoughts on “Guy Page: Tunnel vision on carbon reduction leaves Vermont vulnerable to climate storms

  1. Roisman is either incompetent, or willfully disregarding facts. How in h. did he get that job?

    A Tesla Model 3, with four wheel drive and longer range, HIGHLY ESSENTIAL in Vermont, with low temperatures, hills and snow-covered roads, costs about $50,000, plus sales tax, etc., about TWO TIMES the price of a Subaru Outback with four wheel drive getting about 29.5 mpg; my mileage.

    The Subaru is FAR MORE USEFUL for Vermonters, the reason so many of them are sold in Vermont and all of New England.
    If rental fleets calculated EVs had a lower owning and operating cost versus gasoline vehicles, they would buy them by the tens of thousands.

    It turns out, according to numerous studies, ON A LIFETIME BASIS, the CO2 reduction versus efficient gasoline vehicles is minimal, if upstream CO2 and downstream CO2 were included, even with the NE grid slowly getting cleaner, less CO2MWh, due to increased wind and solar.

    Subsidizing EVs would be at a VERY HIGH cost per metric ton of CO2 reduced, especially for a SHORT LIFE asset.

    Increased energy efficiency of buildings would be far less costly per metric ton of CO2 reduced, because they are LONG LIFE assets.

    In Vermont 95% of buildings are energy hogs, thus highly UNSUITABLE FOR HEAT PUMPS, according to the VT-DPS field survey report, which found:

    1) Average savings were just $200/heat pump/year, when such a unit is installed in an average Vermont house. 2) Only 32 to 34 percent of the fuel oil was displaced; fuel still had to be used for the other 64 to 68 percent.

    GMP, VPIRG and Efficiency Vermont had been telling gullible people a pack of lies about the savings.
    EV and VPRIG deleted the lies from their websites
    BED is no longer subsidizing heat pumps, except in very special cases.

    Roisman, read the URL and you will be so much better informed.

  2. Roisman is a dangerous Man. He has not an iota of common sense, but is blinded by the extremist cheerleaders.

    He must be a holdover from Shumlin, who also left us with the Jay Peak, Newport, and Burke $$ Half Billion
    Disaster and fraud.

    Roisman MUST be replaced, Gov. Scott Now is the time!

    I am Doug from Underhill, and I was peeved when David Gram shut me down, while Roisman could talk for 15 minutes at a time without taking a breath. Gram is not a neutral Interviewer – he inserts himself and his own ego into every show.

    I was so angry I shut off the radio and MISSED Guy’s follow questions and responses.

  3. The fake climate change agenda is just a tool to make us slaves of the elites, who fly everywhere.
    If they really want “carbon-free” electricity, then just buy it from Hydro-Quebec. It’s already there, and plentiful.
    So much of “climate change” is manufactured, by “stratospheric aerosol injection”, i.e. cloud seeding, aka “chemtrails”.
    Somebody take a look at the suds in the rainwater, driving down the road. I have a downspout that splashes on a brick, have photos of the amazing piles of suds.
    Weird ice and snow all winter, trees dying…there is the existential threat.
    Most of these people are just useful idiots, but some know.
    Funny this morning, heard a weather report on WDEV, the guy talking with Roger Hill, mentioning the time a few years ago it rained every weekend. They chuckled about how the weather gets into these “patterns”. Right.
    I first noticed this happening in 1976, in Mass, and it rained every weekend, at least 12 in a row, not a drop all during the work week, all summer.
    I happened to know about weather modification, having had a schoolmate whose dad, Wallace Howell, was a famous cloud seeder, acclaimed for breaking the drought in NY State in the ’50’s, when NYC’s water supply was drying out.
    In Idaho, Project Skyfire seeded clouds to avert lightning storms that burned a lot of valuable woodlands.
    This technology is so advanced now, using radar to steer and initiate storms, and it is clear that the evil ones own it, causing catastrophes they profit from.
    We need transparency and a moratorium on weather-modification activities, let Mother Nature or God control our weather.
    No amount of electric cars or solar panels will stop “climate change”.

  4. Once the courageous Vermonters solve the climate problem in perhaps the year 2050 if ever, there will be no need to address the infrastructure problem. Things never change.

  5. I expect Vermont’s leading by example will lead to the further extinction of actual Vermonters.Leading by example should be on a personal level,if you are so inclined.Through personal innovation and invention humanity progresses.Setting an example is something afforded to the likes of Bill and Melinda Gates( I doubt they stopped flying).
    To the average Vermont citizen planning on how to pay for heat next,or gas to work is their forever “wartime footing”.I’m going to gues this guy flys all over the country for climate conferences.A flying tax does not eliminate carbon,it just keeps lower income people from flying.The planes will never cease.

  6. Another in a long list of questions not answered is if you have a major storm that takes out electricity for
    weeks in a wide area how will the ev’s be moving without juice? You can’t stock up on 5 hr’s of elec. fuel in a can. And if there’s flooding how does the batteries, wiring, control modules, hold up when under water.
    I was under the impression water and electricity don’t mix..The only fake new is coming from the likes of
    You Roisman, saying EV’s are going to save us from the dangers of climate hoax.. Like the plastic bag
    ban it won’t do squat except to quell the leftard fascist lust to control people at great expense while doing nothing for a very short span. They will soon move on to the next ASSAULT AGENDA project against the citizenry.

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