Carbon tax on buildings goes to Burlington City Council next week

by Guy Page 

A bevy of climate and environmental organizations rallied behind Mayor Miro Weinberger yesterday in support of a Carbon Pollution Fee Ordinance going before the City Council next week.

The upfront fee would start at $150/ton of the project’s lifetime carbon emissions  and rise with inflation. 

If enacted, Burlington “would for the first time in state history implement a science-based carbon fee on pollution from fossil fuels,” a statement issued by the Mayor’s office yesterday said. The fee would be assessed on heating and thermal systems in new construction and large existing commercial buildings if the property owner does not install a renewable system – builders and owners can avoid the fee by using electric and other high-performance cost-competitive modern technologies. 

The Carbon Fee Ordinance was introduced initially by Councilor Ben Traverse (D-Ward 5), Chair of the Ordinance Committee, and Councilor Mark Barlow, Chair of the Transportation, Energy and Utilities (TEUC) Committee. The Ordinance was reviewed and approved by both Committees and is on the agenda for full Council action on November 20.

“Implementation of the Carbon Fee Ordinance is a big step forward towards our prioritizing clean energy and reducing Burlington’s greenhouse gas emissions,” said Traverse.  

Weinberger first proposed a building electrification and carbon pricing policy in October 2020, and the City determined that implementing it would require a charter change. Voters approved the charter change proposal at Town Meeting Day 2021 with about 65 percent voting in favor. 

The Legislature then passed H. 448 which Gov. Phil Scott signed on April 20, 2022. The Charter Change required subsequent approval by voters prior to implementing the carbon fee, and Burlington voters approved Question 2 at Town Meeting Day 2023 with over 67 percent of the vote. 

The initial carbon fee for non-compliant buildings would be set at $150 per ton, and would be charged upfront at the time of permit based on the expected lifetime emissions output of the system being installed. The fee price will rise annually with inflation. Proceeds from the fee will support low-income residents in accessing clean heating technologies.

Organizations supporting the ordinance with Weinberger today included Renewable Energy Vermont, VPIRG, and the Vermont Natural Resources Council.

As described in a December 5 Burlington Electric Department memo, the fee emulates a current carbon impact assessment now in place in New York City: 

We propose the fee would start at $150 per ton of greenhouse gas emissions, for permit applications starting in 2024. It would increase annually at the rate of inflation but limited to no more than a 5 percent increase in any given year. 

The fee would be assessed based on a net present value calculation of the total amount of greenhouse gas emissions that would be produced by the thermal system over its lifetime and charged upfront at the time of permit. 

The goal would be to level the playing field for renewable technologies and represent the full societal, health, and environmental cost of the carbon pollution of the fossil fuel system. 

We note that some cities are using higher carbon alternative compliance fees in their thermal sector policies. New York is using $268 per ton, and Boston is using $234 per ton. On the other hand, Vermont’s Climate Council has looked at analysis suggesting $128 per ton for use as a social cost of carbon in Vermont.

Categories: Burlington, Energy

15 replies »

  1. The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals are tyrannical from DEI and social justice to decarbonization. In 2023, the UN environment program through its Global Alliance for Building and Construction put out a document with Yale called BUILDING MATERIALS AND THE CLIMATE: CONSTRUCTING A NEW FUTURE. They actually want to replace concrete with bio-based and biodegradable plastics. How will that work in Vermont? The document states that they must “unblock resistance”. Obviously, one successful way to unblock resistance is to censor and slander anyone who resists as detailed in the article I recently posted to VDC. This approach was used during COVID-19 to censor the right and all conflicting narratives. The United Nations Sustainability Agenda will ultimately control all production and consumption, how often people can fly, and how many cloths items people are allowed to purchase yearly. These details were communicated in the C40 Cities Report. Any system/entity that demands control of all production and consumption is aligned to neo-communism.

    • Good ideas don’t need coercion, people gravitate toward them naturally.

      Dictators struggle because people aren’t keen on “give us all your money and be happy” , course we’re being sold out by the Montpelier, golden dome house slaves who think it’s all great; see they have for the moment power and money. So for them it’s all great.

  2. Last nail for Burlington’s financial/economic coffin. It’s become a wasteland. Way to go Progressives and socialists! Enjoy your fate.

  3. Now this is an excellent way to promote affordable housing! Bravo to burlington’s
    brain trust to enable taxation on carbon. mr. weinberger and the city council once again lead the way in platitudes to satisfy burlington’s multitude of self serving socialists. Should this foolishness become an city ordinance, it seems to spell the death of the single-family and duplex home in burlington, making subsidized housing and upscale housing with many units the only way forward for burlington.

  4. As if the city merchants haven’t got enough trouble trying to attract customers to the city. I haven’t been in 8 years and don’t care if I ever go back to that progressive sewer. I feel great sorrow for the merchants who own businesses in boorlington, they invested their lives and livelihoods upon the will of a progressive socialist party that is holding them hostage.

  5. What Burlington really needs is another tax based on theoretical models to raise the cost of living and building in the city.

  6. they aren’t even assessed to fair market value yet, for some reason their charter only allows a certain increase, yet they went without a reassessment for what 20 years? The state pays for it to be done every 10 years regardless….

    if they paid their fair share like the rest of state is required to do, they might not be so fast in passing all these reckless spending bills.

  7. Organizations supporting the ordinance with Weinberger today included Renewable Energy Vermont, VPIRG, and the Vermont Natural Resources Council.

    See we are run by lobbyists……these are the pimps for the NWO…..”non-profits” writing our laws, putting people in and out of positions in administration, hiding behind the guise of non-profit, when most of the members are registered lobbyists….

    Some of the most powerful groups in Montpelier are not elected……most of them some might argue.

    They are organized….that is for sure.

  8. Haha. How did I know climate change was just a ruse to CONfiscate more money from productive people? So many suckers for this fraud who think they’re saving the world. LOL.

  9. Burlington City Hall shake down of building owners to pass it on to “low-income housing energy incentives” Is this called robbing Peter to pay Paul? In this case, robbing Peter and never paying Paul. Goodbye Church Street Market Place and independent owners, it was nice while it lasted. Enter Blackrock and Vanguard to own it all and set the lease according to pure profiteering and racketeering.

  10. You got it Melissa, a property acquisition plan. Catherine Austin Fipps talked about the mostly peaceful BLM riots occuring in areas that had special tax exemptions. These small business properties were destroyed.

    I also believe that this is part of a tax scheme that will extend to homeowners. After all, it costs a lot of money to end global world hunger, and create more equal outcomes within and among countries (SDGs 10 and 10.3), which can only be achieved through aggressive taxation of wealthier, Western countries.

  11. More nonsense from Burlington’s feckless Mayor and his Gaggle Of Fools ” aka ” City Council, just flexing their so-called leadership skills, or is it leadership Kills, yes they kill every thriving proposition for Burlington for carbon nonsense

    Vermont remember Miro, wants to be Governor, just look what he’s done to Burlington, debt, crime, drugs, and a plethora of homeless, yes he’ll do well for Vermont……………….. yeah !!