Environment

Thurston: VT ‘leads the way’ in climate war, Russia, China and India don’t follow

by Steve Thurston

As a bedrock principle of state energy policy, Vermont law requires the Public Utility Commission to specify “strategies for reducing electric rates to the greatest extent possible in Vermont over the most immediate six-year period, for the next succeeding six-year period, and long-term sustainable strategies for achieving and maintaining the lowest possible electric rates over the full 20-year planning horizon consistent with the goal of maintaining a financially stable electric utility industry in Vermont”.  

Disturbingly however, by requiring highly subsidized wind and solar electricity our elected officials have prevented this law from being followed.  

The electric grid in Vermont must operate reliably as if wind and solar do not exist, because much of the time these sources are not generating any electricity. Wind and solar are in essence redundant and add extra cost to the taxpayer who subsidizes these sources, and to the ratepayer whose electric bills are increased as a result of these sources. 

Disregarding established “lowest possible electric rates” energy policy, the Democrat supermajority in the Vermont legislature has in recent years given preferential treatment to renewable energy developers by requiring taxpayers and ratepayers to pay more for electricity than they otherwise would have. The legislature’s argument for these policies is to address climate change – even though it’s “settled science” that nothing Vermont does will have any effect on the world’s climate. Policy makers and policy influencers often refer to changes in weather patterns in Vermont as a problem that must be confronted so that the maple syrup, skiing, or other weather dependent industries will not be adversely affected, but of course we know that Vermont ultimately has no control over its weather.  

We are also told that if Vermont “leads the way” in the fight against climate change the rest of the world will follow.  Apparently unaware of Vermont’s leadership,  at the recent Glascow COP26 climate summit, Russia, which supplies Europe with natural gas, did not even show up, and both China and India, two of the world’s biggest coal consumers refused to sign the final agreement unless coal fired electrical generation was not to be “phased out”, but rather “phased down”.  Three of the world’s major powers proved that they are more concerned about their economic well-being than climate change. China and India believe not burning coal would be worse for people than the effects of climate change. 

In a recent Bloomberg Green report on Middle East oil producers, the UAE Minister of State for Climate Change promised, “as long as the world needs hydrocarbons we will continue to produce hydrocarbons.” Likewise Saudi Arabia’s Energy Minister said Saudi Arabia committed Saudi Arabia to be “net zero” by 2060, but this calculation will not include hydrocarbons that it will continue to export to an energy hungry world. The world’s largest oil exporters have no plans to stop producing oil.

Here in the United States, surveys continually find that climate change is not high on the list of people’s concerns.  In a recent Gallup poll of most important problems “Poor leadership” topped the list, followed by the pandemic, immigration, unifying the country, the economy, budget deficits, inflation, race relations.  Climate change did not make the top ten.

In the midst of all this contrary evidence, we have the Vermont Climate Council, an unelected assortment of special interests and ideologues created by the legislature when it overrode Governor Scott’s veto of the self-contradictory and deceptively named Global Warming Solutions Act.  

The Climate Council recently issued its first report.  This pie-in-the-sky document speaks in woke-isms of “just transitions” through an “equity lens” to an all-electric future where all Vermonters will be required to install heat pumps and drive electric vehicles.  This is not surprising, since most of the Council members were appointed by Democrat/Progressive legislators and come from backgrounds in renewable energy, community organizing, racial bias activism, or climate activism, not from the business sector where balance sheets matter. By its own admission the Council failed to engage with a significant cross section of the public. This is also understandable, because most Vermonters are not paying attention to the Climate Council, being more focused on the demands and stresses of their day to day lives. 

In the Climate Council’s view, even though the existing transmission system cannot accommodate more renewable energy, not to mention the increased electrical demand of heat pumps and electric vehicles, Vermonters must bear the cost of installing heat pumps and purchasing EVs for themselves and for those who cannot afford them, while simultaneously paying more for gas and oil because of increased taxation on these fuels.  If we have to rebuild the transmission system, so be it, they say.   This at a time when Vermont has been on federal life support during the Covid-19 induced shutdown of much of the economy, creating enormous and ongoing suffering for many residents.

As an example of its disregard for opposing views, the Climate Council ignored PUC Commissioner and energy policy expert June Tierney,  who said about the proposals the council was preparing to unleash, “I don’t think Vermonters understand the Mack truck that’s coming at them when you start matching up resources to priorities this plan is going to embody. I just don’t think they understand how this is going to impact their lives and what it’s going to cost.” 

One might ask, “If none of this will make a difference to Vermont’s climate, what’s the point?” Who will profit from such irrational and economically suicidal policies which are contrary to long established law? As the saying goes, “follow the money”. Wind and solar developers buy their turbines and solar panels with subsidies provided by taxpayers. Lobbyists and special interest groups like the Conservation Law Foundation, Renewable Energy Vermont, and Vermont Public Interest Research Group are supported by wind and solar developers. Politicians receive campaign contributions from both the special interest groups and wind and solar developers. It is called crony capitalism. 

Vermonters could alter this self-destructive, authoritarian course by electing new legislators with common sense, energy realism and respect for the rights of Vermonters to decide for themselves what kind of car to drive and how to heat their homes.

The author is an Addison County Republican.

13 replies »

  1. Yet VT’ers will NOT elect reasonable lawmakers into office unless and until the GOP or sensible third party organizations pony up some actual money to challenge VT’s voter & election law shenanigans (machinery, mail-in, voter inconsistencies, illegals & underage individuals voting, etc.) and spend time, effort, & more money getting their MESSAGE out to the PUBLIC! WAKE UP VTGOP!!!!!!!

  2. I commend Steve for doing his homework and thinking critically about the New Religion dumped on us by the fools that run our House and Senate in Vermont.

  3. In June of 2009, the Vermont Legislature overrode then Governor Jim Douglas’ veto of the State budget. Douglas had threatened the veto unless the legislature made drastic reductions to the 4.5 Billion dollar budget bill. They showed him who’s boss. Vermont’s 7.32 Billion dollar FY 2022 Budget passed without fanfare and with heavy reliance on federal funding. 2008 may have marked the end of sanity in Vermont politics.
    What does the VT budget have to do with Steve’s commentary? Everything. Vermonters have continually elected a majority Democrat, Progressive and Socialist cabal to both houses of the legislature, with unlikely prospects that majority will change any time soon. The three groups have control of the state, more than just politically. The GWSA and resulting Climate Council is a direct representation of the majority legislative body- and as appointed members, they do not need to win the popularity contest of an election. These people that will control your energy use are not required to be accountable to the Vermont voter, nor the Vermonter- at all. Their only stated goal- to reduce Vermont carbon emissions to arbitrary percentage below emissions on an arbitrary date. Along the way, they will make certain groups and organizations very wealthy at the expense of the general population. Exactly as the legislature has done for decades with their budget negotiations.

    As energy prices increase, those that can will leave. Voting with their feet. So too go the tax dollars as well. For those unable, “social safety nets” are being created and added to barely maintain current living standards. These folks, grateful for the “assistance” continue to vote for the same legislators that “gave” them the assistance required- folks who wouldn’t have needed the subsidy had not these same legislators required it. Socialism comes full circle. Vermont has already passed the tipping point of financial stability and has started the path to insolvency, taking those that remain into a lower standard of living and financial ruin as well. It may be that casting a ballot does nothing to improve Vermont’s fate under the current political cabal.

  4. As stated in the column “Electrify Everything!”, As with any war, the brunt of the fighting and, casualties will be borne by the average citizen. People like John Kerry, Al Gore (you know, E. Gore’s brother)and yes, the virtue signaling dumbasses under the “Golden Dumb” will still fly around in their private jets, and sail the seven seas in their yachts, exchanging the fuel it takes for “Green Credits” and saying that it is necessary for them to continue their gallant green war against everybody except for the Chinese, and Indians. Meanwhile, we Vermonters, who are among the greenest folks in the world already, will be expected to pedal our bicycles, and cars like Fred Flintstone, so they can continue their virtuous campaign. Yaba, daba do !!!! Dirtbags !!!!!!!

  5. It is all about the politics.
    There is no rhyme or reason of course, as we all know. Steve politely spells it out. If it were about realistic fact based economic policy, energy and science, “Unreliables” like wind and solar would be Prohibited in Vermont.
    It is about the dirt ball ideology of “green lies”, of absolutism and control by the brainwashed green washed despots in VT’s. legislature under orders of the pseudo-enviro left wing fascists.
    It is about the subsidy graft of the elites, with ‘Joe and Jill Public’ being forced to pay for it .
    “Enough, our pockets will no longer be fleeced by these Scoundrels” they are now stating.
    Reality is coming into vogue as the bills rise and the house gets colder by edict.
    Then the cry ultimately becomes,”Let’s Go Brandon”!

    • Hey Gary, do you suppose that Brandon will turn down the thermostat at the White House ?
      Let’s go Brandon !

  6. Excellent commentary. We can’t protect our planet by pandering to these “green energy” grifters. A science based energy policy is the way to go. Thank you, Steve Thurston.

  7. Hi Steve,

    Your write-up is a true masterpiece covering all the issues
    Succinct and True, every word of it.
    Congratulations!

    I have made the same points for at least 20 years.

    None of the RE “loving” legislators and RE businesses give one rat’s a.. about us VOTERS, as long as they are in the positions of power to graft and grift their way to 1) grants, 2) federal and state subsidies, 3) waving of taxes, fees and surcharges, all paid for by already overtaxed, over-regulated ratepayers, taxpayers, and added to government debts.

  8. Very impressive work product Steve.
    On behalf of all the honest people with common sense, thank you.
    Jim LaBrecque

  9. Just a thought.

    Perhaps the 635,000 other folks who consider themselves to be citizens of Vermont would consider following the mandates being suggested by the “gang of 23” and their creators in the Legislature if each and every one of them, that being every woman and man in the GANG itself plus those in the State House who spawned them, are willing to lead by example and initially and COMPLETELY FOLLOW TO THE “T” every aspect of the recommendations which they have determined are to be the order of the day for the rest of us.

    Wouldn’t that be reasonable? Aren’t we all asked to follow the leaders? Let’s see if these “know-it-all” experts and climate-savors are willing to lead by example. After all, haven’t we been taught from the time that we were in kindergarten that what’s good for the goose is good for the gander?

  10. Ralph,
    If an idiot tells you to jump off a 10-story building to set an example for you to follow, would you jump as well.
    Lemmings likely would.

    Enough with their ill-thought-out, self-serving “measures”
    Show some spine!
    Vote them out en masse in Nov22
    That would be the only way to wrest free from the vise.

  11. I am not surprised at the lack of PUBLIC TRUST in WASHINGTON.

    The games of smoke and mirrors played in Washington are off-the-charts outrageous.

    NEVER, EVER, has there been such a level of DECEIT, as Dem/Progs have inflicted on the US People, since January 2021, after using a fraudulent election to achieve a COUP D’ETAT, to have CENTRALIZED COMMAND/CONTROL over the federal government and the US people.

    Here is an egregious example:

    Build Back Better’ Would Cost $3.95 TRILLION Overt the Next Decade, if Provisions Were Made to Last 10 Years

    The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) released an analysis on Friday estimating Biden’s ‘Build Back Better’ (BBB) bill would increase the federal deficit by $3.0 TRILLION over the next decade, if the proposed programs are made permanent, according to CNN.
    https://www.newsmax.com/politics/cbo-finance-build-back-better-bide…

    The CBO had estimated on Nov. 18, the BBB legislation would increase the nation’s deficit by $160 BILLION over the next decade, if the programs had different expiration dates.

    Some programs would expire in one year, others in two years, etc.

    This was a typical Pelosi/Sanders smoke-and-mirrors charade to make the cost of the bill look small.

    No wonder, Schumer was pressing so hard to get the mendacity bill passed: 1) before Biden goes to Glasgow, Scotland, 2) before Thanksgiving, 3) before Christmas, 4) before the end of the year.

    NO SUCH BILL WILL BE PASSED, EVER.

    Dem/Progs have absolutely no intention of letting ANY programs expire. They would fight tooth and mail to EXTEND all of them for the full 10 years.

    The smoke and mirrors, $2.11 TRILLION BBB bill, passed by the US House of Representatives last month, would establish universal preschool, expand Medicaid, provide green energy tax credits, and add roughly $1.95 TRILLION in new taxes, and add $160 BILLION to the deficit, Fox News reported.

    The “new taxes” is another smoke and-mirrors charade, because they would need to be voted on, and likely would not be implemented.

    “If the temporary provisions of this bill were extended, and I fully expect them to be, if Dem/Progs have the votes to do it, this legislation will cost a whole lot more than what the American people have been misled to believe,” said Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas.

    Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., a critic of the plan, and its extensive costs, accused the Biden administration of using “gimmicks” to downplay the bill’s cost.

    “As more of the real details outlined in the basic framework are released, what I see are shell games and budget gimmicks that make the real cost of this so-called “$1.75 trillion bill” to be at least twice as high, if the programs are extended, or made permanent,” Manchin said

    The REALISTIC COST of the bill would be: $1.95 TRILLION, new taxes + $3.0 TRILLION, added to the US deficit = $3.95 TRILLION

    Democrats, who hold a narrow Senate majority, will need Manchin’s vote to pass BBB.

    Manchin has yet to endorse the package, as proposed, and will probably seek to make significant changes, according to CNBC.

    Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, D-Arizizona, may seek to change the bill in the Senate.
    She already shot down the administration’s effort to hike tax rates on large corporations and wealthy individuals, per CNBC.

    All this ADDED DEFICIT SPENDING would be taking place with inflation at over 6%/y

    Related Stories:
    Manchin Calls for a ‘Lot of Changes’ to Build Back Better Act
    Rep. Estes to Newsmax: US ‘Better Off’ If Build Back Better Fails i…

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