By Rob Roper
For a while now, we have been reporting and commenting on how utterly unrealistic, economically irrational, logistically impossible, and downright nutty the policy prescriptions being kicked around by the Vermont Climate Council are. Turns out members of the Council and its subcommittees aren’t totally oblivious to this fact either. They are fully aware that they are setting up the elected legislators who ultimately support their recommendations for a political suicide mission.
Ben Rose, a former two-term legislator from the late 1990s, serving on the Rural Resilience and Adaptation Subcommittee, put it bluntly, “There are moments when there are things worth losing one’s seat over…. If what we come up with as our highest one or two priorities are things that legislators are told this is worth losing your seat over, that’s the most powerful work the Council can do.” (Around the 49:00:00 mark)
One wonders if the folks facing the voters in November 2022 are as enthusiastic about taking their proverbial shot of sake, shouting banzai, and flying off into political self-immolation to… NOT SAVE THE PLANET.
Kia Morris, another former legislator no longer facing the voters, cheerily explained, “They [legislators] are going to get some nasty-grams from their constituency. And it will have much less to do with how many points did you bring down emissions, and a heck of a lot more with ‘what happened to these jobs?’”
So, yes, you got that right, elected Representatives and Senators will be asked to vote for policies that will directly and indirectly destroy tens of thousands of their constituents’ jobs in order to… NOT SAVE THE PLANET.
At the September 22 meeting of the Agriculture and Ecosystems Subcommittee meeting, John Roberts defined the Council’s priorities: “[We need to] really focus on what is good for the climate. It may not be good for the ecosystem, but what is good for the climate” [emphasis added] (around the 1:47:00 mark). This highlights an important distinction: the kind of renewable energy expansion the Council is advocating for – lots of industrial wind and solar – is highly damaging to Vermont’s ecosystems. It destroys ridgelines, covers open pastureland, creates water quality problems, wrecks animal habitats, etc. Preserving these things is the environmentalism most Vermonters ascribe to. The Climate Council isn’t concerned with damaging our ecosystems so long as they lower greenhouse gas emissions to a level that will… NOT SAVE THE PLANET.
So, this is the question legislators will face in January: Do I want to commit political suicide by voting to destroy Vermonters’ jobs, strangle our economy and quality of life with outrageous taxes and regulations, damage the natural beauty and health of our ecosystems in order support a list of impossible goals (42,000 electric vehicles on the roads in 3 years is not going to happen) that, even if implemented will… NOT SAVE THE PLANET!
In fact, to say that the measures recommended by the Vermont Climate Council will not save the planet is too generous. As members of the Council and Vermont legislators will admit when pressed, Vermont could eliminate all of its greenhouse gas emissions tomorrow and it would have NO IMPACT WHATSOEVER on future climate trends or weather events. All of this pain and disruption will be for nothing. Mr. Rose is absolutely correct. Any legislator who votes for this scheme absolutely deserves to lose their seat.
– Rob Roper is president of the Ethan Allen Institute