Vermont’s ability to affect climate change is a mirage

By Milton Eaton

A recent Rutland Herald editorial certainly celebrated the success of the Vermont activist group to sell a lot of our fellow Vermonters on the various benefits and demands to achieve the mirage of former Gov. Peter Shumlin’s goal of 90-percent renewable energy.

No one I know denies that there is climate change. We just do not have the conceit to believe a few Vermonters, or the growing population of the world, can realize this mirage, even if endorsed by politicians. Many facts make stopping climate change as impossible as stopping the tides.

Let me just give you a few numbers to think about when you talk about a sustainable environment. Just-released figures, with all the subsidies, credits, mandates, and extended tariff guarantees, are replacing the equivalent of 0.5 MBPD (million barrels per day) of oil with renewable energy. That is with a daily fossil fuel consumption of more than 100 MBPD. A 0.5 percent substitution is just a rounding error in the world picture.

Fossil fuels continue to supply a massive portion of total energy needs. Significant substitution to date has been caused by economics, local environment pollution and mandate politics. In 2017, use of electric/hybrid light vehicles (EV) grew 45 percent, crossing the 1 million mark. Total new light vehicles (LV) sales grew a mere 1 percent. But the global EV fleet still stands at only 2.8 million, as opposed to 1,300 million oil-powered LVs. So EV growth is not even gaining on the total LV population.

Population today is roughly 7,500 million people, with 1,400 million of them living without electricity. Add to that number the 2,500 million expected population increase, and you have a total increase in the users of energy of — again — roughly 60 percent. Then add the world moving toward a higher standard of living, which will require even more energy.

There are things we can all do to retain and improve our environment:

1. Efficiently conserve and research to minimize supply costs and pollution for energy needs.
2. Prioritize to get the greatest benefits by using net present value analysis of short 10-year with high discount rates to compare different investment opportunities to encourage the greatest effect for our money. This method also avoids blue-sky assumptions of long horizons.
3. Encourage investment in basic and industrial research to find more-effective, less-polluting, and inexpensive solutions using all energy resources for the world’s energy needs.
4. Conserve funds by stopping subsidies, tariff guarantees, and mandates.

With sufficient energy available at reasonable costs, we can adapt to any changing environment, whether warming or cooling. So, please: stop wasting money chasing the mirage of Vermont changing climate.

Milton Eaton is a former senior official for the U.S. Department of Energy, former Vermont secretary of Economic Development and Community Affairs, and a member of the Ethan Allen Institute board of directors. Reprinted with permission from the Ethan Allen Institute Blog.

10 thoughts on “Vermont’s ability to affect climate change is a mirage

  1. It’s only SETTLED SCIENCE to the smartest man in the world,retired or those who fell into the Kool Aid tank.

  2. MIrage? No. A bad joke perpetrated on Vermonters in an attempt to get their money and REDISTRIBUTE the wealth (to those who refuse to work). But…Vermonters…being the idiots they are…will continue to vote for these frauds who keep stealing their money.

  3. So, please: stop wasting money chasing the mirage of Vermont changing climate and why not
    spend the money on something that would make sense , Like cleaning up our polluted lakes
    and streams .

    Blue Algae sounds pretty, but it not !!

  4. How about we call coal, oil and gas “organic fuels”, because that is what they are.
    No evidence that CO2 causes more than a tiny fraction of the “greenhouse effect”.
    Fear sells. What a racket.

  5. Well said, Milt, and I would go further on point 4. The point is not merely to “conserve funds”. We need to stop showering benefits on the rent seeking renewable-industrial complex that is corrupting governments.
    Minor correction: .”A 0.005-percent substitution” should drop the “percent” ; it’s 0.5 %. = .5/100

    • John, on the National Geographic cable show “One Strange Rock” it is interesting that they know precisely the percentage of oxygen by volume in the atmosphere, as well as the same for the nitrogen content. Never do they mention the carbon dioxide content number. The other trace elements are also known and they go so far as to tell us that those numbers haven’t varied but a scintilla since the Earth formed and captured the atmosphere.

      Amazing that they cannot account for the volume of carbon dioxide, isn’t it?

  6. Yup, select a hill with a 20 deg slope in VT, place signs with future year lettering and place each twenty feet spacing with the greatest year towards the top. Libs will believe it and move to VT or NH to be safe and dry. That’s Global Warming Science. Never mind the scientific data during the past millions of years and nature cycles (sun). Ice cores at UNH (and other institutions) house this data. True “scientists” have shown this data, not the “fake news” scientists. Is it Chicken Little time?

  7. Ask the AGW nuts if they hang their wash out to dry or use a clothes dryer. If they give you the bit about rules against it, ask them what they’re doing to change those rules. They lionize their dewans of climactic disaster who fly private jets half way around the world to attend convocations anathematizing use of the fuel that got them there. And that air conditions/heats their venue.

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