Roper: Yada, yada, yada carbon tax

By Rob Roper

There is a great Seinfeld episode in which character George Costanza dates a woman who habitually covers up elements of her stories by saying “yada, yada, yada,” a practice which George adopts himself to avoid mentioning embarrassing details of his departed fiancé’s death. “Well, we were engaged to be married, uh, we bought the wedding invitations, and, uh, yada yada yada, I’m still single.” I’m beginning to think advocates of a carbon tax in Vermont have seen this episode.

Rob Roper

Rob Roper is the president of the Ethan Allen Institute.

Three articles in just this past week (two op-eds and one news piece) involve advocates bringing up the horror stories of what climate change will do to Vermont both economically and environmentally. Steve Gagliardone writes, “The biggest storms are getting bigger. The largest annual storms in Vermont now produce 35 percent more precipitation, on average, than they did 65 years ago. Those storms cost lives, they cost our economy, and those most affected are the poorest among us.”

Rep. Mollie Burke, P-Brattleboro, opines, “I also worry about the impact [of climate change] on the Vermont economy, so dependent on the ski industry. Our small stated relies heavily on tourist dollars to fund the basic functions of government. As a Vermont state legislator, I feel especially tuned to this economic reality. A bad ski season (like this year’s February rains) makes a big difference in our revenues, and carries the possibility of cuts in all the services we provide. The same holds true for foliage season, and maple sugaring time.”

In that same vein, in an article titled “Climate change viewed as serious threat to ski industry,” Elizabeth Burakowski warned that what’s at stake “is more than just an important industry in the Northeast. An entire wintertime culture, shared by families over generations, also is at risk.”

What should we do? Pass a carbon tax on Vermonters.

The story goes like this: Climate change will wreck the ski industry, foliage season, the maple sugar business and cause general weather-related devastation and, uh, yada, yada, yada … let’s pass a carbon tax.

What embarrassing details are these advocates yada, yada-ing away? The fact that neither a carbon tax in Vermont, nor any climate change policies at the state level — nor any current proposals on a global scale — will have any impact whatsoever on the future of any of these industries or future weather events. To imply so is fraudulent.

Dr. Bjorn Lomborg of the Copenhagen Consensus Center estimates, “Even if we assume that these promises [the Paris Climate Accord] would be extended for another 70 years, there is still little impact: if every nation fulfills every promise by 2030, and continues to fulfill these promises faithfully until the end of the century, and there is no ‘CO₂ leakage’ to non-committed nations, the entirety of the Paris promises will reduce temperature rises by just 0.17°C (0.306°F) by 2100.”

If you accept the temperature projections of the climate alarmists (for argument’s sake here we will), even the most draconian “solutions” they offer will not have enough of an impact to “save” Vermont winters. Stating or implying that passing a carbon tax or transitioning to 90 percent renewable energy by 2050 — or whatever the green cause du jour is — will in any way help accomplish these goals is not remotely true. What these folks are actually advocating is that Vermonters live with both the natural impacts of climate change plus the self-inflicted economic wounds of useless climate change policies. And, with sad irony, these policies would leave Vermonters with fewer resources available to actually adapt to a changing climate.

How can these carbon tax advocates look themselves in the mirror every morning when pushing this colossal fraud on 625,000 friends and neighbors? It recalls another George Costanza quote: “It’s not a lie if you believe it.”

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

Image courtesy of Flickr/

8 thoughts on “Roper: Yada, yada, yada carbon tax

  1. A Vermont carbon tax……….harming working Vermonters and the elderly while have NO measurable effect on climate change. One thing a Vt carbon tax would accomplish, it would make liberals feel really smart and morally superior, and we all know that’s very important to them!

  2. “Rep. Mollie Burke, P-Brattleboro, opines, “I also worry about the impact [of climate change] on the Vermont economy, so dependent on the ski industry. Our small state relies heavily on tourist dollars to fund the basic functions of government.”
    This made me laugh out loud – Note that Vermont’s economy exits for the benefit of the State government and the growing welfare state. Gee Ms. Burke, just THINK of the revenues you could collect if you and your ilk in Montpelier actually sought to free the economy from over regulation and over taxation!

  3. I had the reason to attend a recent solar event in Manchester, VT last week where the keynote speaker was a world expert/global consultant on climate change. He shot up a graphic during a slideshow showing a 4.3 degrees C increase in temperatures by 2100 if we did nothing. I silently questioned the propaganda. After the meeting, I had the opportunity to point out to him about my reluctance to join the Carbon Tax bandwagon. My point being the government hand in my pocket once again “for the greater good”. He said the Carbon tax if properly designed, would redistribute the taxes to aid the poorest in paying their energy bills. So all of us would see higher bills and taxes to offset the increases to those “less fortunate”.
    Many working-class VTers drive pick-up trucks. While plug-in cars are cute and so PC, I’ve yet to see any auto company selling electric pick-up trucks for the working man. If the market will bring these innovations to bear at an affordable price, then we will happily adapt. Just don’t tax us penniless ’till then.
    Sounds like a REDISTRIBUTION OF WEALTH SCHEME to me with the middle class losing again, because the upper 1% could really care less, IMO.

  4. Fossil Fuel Percentage Unchanged for Over 43 years:

    In the 1970s the big worry was fossil fuels would soon run out, and so we should “use them wisely”. But in the 1980s the risk changed to one of an overheating planet, and so we should not use them at all. This article shows unchanged fossil energy use from 1970 to 2013, a period of 43 years. – sthash.ppb98WN4.dpbs

    Fossil fuels have been 78 to 80 percent of total primary energy for at least 43 years, despite trillions of dollars having been spent on RE during the past 20 years. It appears there is plenty of FF for at least the next 80 to 100 years, albeit at higher prices.

    FF CO2 emissions are only about 36.183 b Mt/53.4 b Mt = 68% of all manmade emissions in 2016. Considering the extreme steepness of the required FF CO2 reductions to stay within 2 C by 2100, which are impossible to implement (see graphs in URLs), even steeper reductions to reduce ALL manmade CO2 would be impossible as well, even if the entire world were to build only wind, solar, nuclear and hydro plants as of right now.

    • In just the past seven years, my little corner of VT I has experienced power outages exceeding by a factor well over TEN those I have seen since the East Coast grid crash of 1964 — or whatever it was — when I happened to be living/working in Boston, MA. I attribute them to the shutdown of VT Yankee, for one, and the loss of its generation that to date still requires importation of replacement power from utilities outside the state. “Green power” from solar and wind simply cannot make up the difference due to its unreliability and insufficiency.

      This, from the link you provided (for which, thank you), speaks volumes:
      “The big worry is in countries that have damaged their energy infrastructure. Places like Germany, UK, Australia, [and Vermont, I might add] desperately need to wake up and start increasing their dispatchable electricity capability, or face massive “unreliability of supply” issues.

      Most of those screaming about power grid issues have little to no concept of what is required on a daily/hourly/minute-by-minute basis to maintain quality reliable electricity. They would otherwise more favorably consider construction of new in-state generation. Perhaps from the darkness of more outages will emerge some light on the necessity. Quebec Hydro and adequate distribution? That would be far too sensible, as well as affordable.

      An extended February outage or two…. Hear the cries for more CO2, pleassse!

      • GS,

        Based in the latest Greenhouse Gas Emissions Inventory Update 1990 – 2013, issued July 2017, it appears there has been an increase in CO2eq emissions from 8.378 million metric ton in 1990 to 8.745 MMt in 2013. The numbers for 2014, 2015, 2016, and 2017 likely were about the same as 2013. See table 1.

        NOTE: It is truly amazing Germany, with a hugely more complex economy than Vermont, has up-to-date CO2eq data for 2017, but Vermont only manages to come up with 2013 data in July 2017.

        If the CO2eq of wood burning is added, the CO2eq becomes about 10.0 MMt in 1990 and 10.8 MMt in 2013.
        If Land Use, Land-Use Change, and Forestry are subtracted, the CO2eq becomes 5.2 MMt in 1990 and 6.350 MMt in 2013.

        The CO2eq sequestering of the forests has decreased, because of:

        1) Less forest acreage, due to encroachments and development.
        2) Increased clearcutting, roads, and other development within forests, which reduces sequestering, CO2eq/acre.
        3) About 50% of standing timber being of low quality and suitable only for burning.

        • NE grid CO2eq has the best data to calculate the annual CO2eq and CO2eq/kWh of the NE grid.

          The NE CO2eq should be allocated to each state, based on the percent load each state imposes on the NE grid, regardless of where any generation systems are located.

          Vermont does not count the CO2eq of McNeil/Ryegate for political reasons, so its total is 810,000 metric ton.
          But if McNeal/Ryegate is added, it becomes 1,467,733 metric ton.

          ISO-NE and EPA do count CO2eq of McNeal/Ryegate

          – ISO-NE includes the CO2eq of wood burning in its total NE grid CO2eq. See Method 1
          – ISO-NE calculates the CO2eq of each state, based on the CO2eq/kW of each state and generation in each state, including the CO2eq of wood burning. See Method 2.
          – Vermont has its own method of calculating CO2eq, which excludes the CO2eq of wood burning by McNeil/Ryegate. See Method 3.
          – US-EPA calculates the CO2eq of each state, based on generation in each state, which for Vermont is McNeil/Ryegate.
          – Adding Methods 3 and 4 gives a more realistic Vermont CO2eq. It closely resembles the more accurate results of ISO-NE. See first URL, table 1.

          The results of the methods are summarized in the below table.

          Method Basis Data Year Metric ton
          Method 1 VT % load on NE grid; NE grid CO2, per ISO-NE 2015 1,757,134
          Method 2 VT % load on NE grid; VT generation CO2eq/kWh, per ISO-NE 2015 581,053
          Method 3 VT consumption and purchased, per VT-DEC/VT-DPS 2013 810,000
          Method 4 VT generation by McNeal/Ryegate, per EPA 2015 657,733
          Method 5 Method 3 + Method 4 1,467,733

  5. The story goes like this: Climate change will wreck the ski industry, foliage season, the maple sugar business and cause general weather-related devastation yada, yada, yada !! So let’s pass a carbon tax.

    I think we can all remember Chicken Little and the adage ” The Sky is falling , The Sky is falling
    well these Carbon Tax Naysayers are the modern day version of Chicken Little !!……..IDIOTS .

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