Gervais: Climate legislation not even half-baked – it’s just plain raw

by Joe Gervais

When I travelled the globe in my work, my translators frequently needed me to explain idioms that I used. As I think of the legislative efforts to address the “climate crisis,” I think of the idiom half-baked, but the reality is Vermont’s climate plans haven’t even gone in the oven yet – they are still raw.  

Joe Gervais

Recently, I attended a Department of Natural Resources (DNR) hearing on upcoming requirements related to electric vehicles (EVs). Vermont is mandating manufacturers sell nothing but electric passenger cars and light trucks by 2035 as well as a large number of medium and heavy-duty trucks. Part of the motivation is the notion that climate is a global problem, and we have an obligation to be good global citizens.

What is ignored is that zero-emissions vehicles are a lie – the emissions are just exported elsewhere. The emissions still exist with the mining operations for EV battery raw materials, the refining of these raw materials and manufacture of finished batteries, and the power generation to recharge these batteries. For example, the raw materials for a single EV battery requires the mining of half-a-million pounds of ore, consuming hundreds of barrels of diesel just for the mining process, let alone the refining and manufacturing process. Much of the mining and manufacturing is done in countries like China, which already has one of the highest per capita CO2 emissions in the world.   

Currently, we are seeing large state and federal incentives for the purchase of electric vehicles. If the vehicles are so efficient and effective, why do the consumers (or manufacturers) need to be bribed to purchase and produce these vehicles? In the DNR meeting, there was a slide on health savings due to reducing (exporting) vehicle emissions, claiming savings of nearly two-billion dollars. My back-of-the-napkin calculation of continuing federal and state vehicle purchase incentives for the replacement of all 600,000 passenger cars and light trucks in Vermont exceeds seven-billion dollars. In my math, that’s a five-billion-dollar cost, and we’re not even scratching the surface of the costs – ignoring the infrastructure upgrade costs required to support wholesale conversion of vehicles to EVs.  

We are seeing constraints and failures today with electric vehicles constituting less than one percent of the worldwide fleet. Mining for many of the materials needed for batteries is currently at capacity. The electric grid and power generation likely needs to see a two-fold or greater increase in capacity to meet needs. Capacity isn’t free – there’s an economic cost as the United Kingdom is currently experiencing with a ten-fold increase in wholesale power rates from near ten pence a kilowatt hour to a pound per kilowatt hour. How do economics work when electricity costs more than a dollar a kilowatt hour. Will we hear the same uproar we are hearing with heating oil and gasoline over four dollars a gallon?  

The main concern I have about the mandates for EVs and clean power is the utter lack of a plan for the power generation and transmission. During the recent hearing, the DPR had no answers on the question – it was outside the scope of their responsibility. We’re seeing California, with a significant larger economy than Vermont, currently experiencing severe power shortages and compensating with rolling blackouts when the temperature is too hot, yet presently less than two percent of California vehicles are EVs. Vermont is pushing a plan for clean solar power generation, which is least effective during the high demand winter period driven by new “clean” heat pumps and EVs with short daylight hours and snow-covered panels Lack of air conditioning in the summer due to power failures is generally an inconvenience. Lack of heat in the winter can be fatal. How many people will die in the name of exported emissions due to the lack of adequate planning for the required infrastructure support? 

Rob Roper recently published an article in True North Reports on the disarray in the leadership of the Vermont Climate Council, where there is “growing frustration between the committee members eager to put forward concrete proposals to meet the mandates and more politically oriented members who are trying to keep things vague because they know that the second these kinds of details come out the public will reject them.” We saw Governor Scott vetoH.715 An Act relating to the Clean Heat Standard because it did not include details on the costs and impacts. It’s time to get real on our climate plans. We need comprehensive plans on how to make forward progress Vermonters can afford. Our current progressive legislative leadership is appealing to emotions while creating unreasonable mandates that have no realistic path forward.   

Joe Gervais of Arlington is the Republican candidate for the Vermont House of Representatives in the Bennington-4 District.  

Categories: Commentary

4 replies »

  1. Hi Joe,
    Good article, but I think where so many miss the mark regarding the EV legislation is not just that EV’s do pollute, just not in the obvious way a regular tail pipe does. Point well-taken, however, saying that people need to be ‘bribed’ to buy them is false. Yes, there are incentives, to help offset the high cost of batteries and make EV’s more available to the ‘average’ car buyer, but there are some, like myself who just prefer driving an EV, for many reasons.

    My views around forcing everyone to drive one have changed though as my eyes have been opened to the creepy agendas being pushed on so many fronts right now. To be fair, I never believed that everyone should be forced to drive an EV. I don’t believe anyone should ever be coerced or forced into something they don’t agree with. I do believe in allowing people to make an educated choice and as someone who truly loves driving my EV, I assumed most people would switch over once they realized the benefits, but I also assumed the technology would evolve to less reliance on huge battery packs and long recharge times, and of course more different types of EV’s on the market to choose from and lower priced used EV’s that were not range-challenged. The market has continued to evolve slowly though and now of course I well understand that the current grid cannot support the rapid switchover to all EV’s, heat-pump, etc. that is currently being pushed.

    In typical fashion, the ‘problem’ is being addressed as an ’emergency’ which requires expedient thinking and forcing change first and dealing with fallout and logistics later. No one wants or needs this except for those who continue to promote the idea that people don’t know how to deal with the ‘problems’ of the world and need to be told what to do for their own good. This principle has of course been applied to just about everything in the last 2+ years. The so-called ‘liberals’ can’t seem to get enough of being told what to do and then appointing themselves keepers of good and righteousness with endless virtue signaling and hand-wringing. But the issue here is not actually a result of any real liberal agenda. The libs are in fact being manipulated into thinking they are doing the right thing, but those pushing this agenda are using them for their ignorance and need to feel good.

    Let’s think about the push to ‘ourlaw’ gas vehicles for a minute. Currently it won’t work anyway as there are simply too few options or vehicles available and their cost remains high enough that many will simply not be able to purchase them. The current grid cannot support a 100% or even a 50% switch to all EV’s . So why continue to push this, knowing it won’t really work? One needs look no further than our good friends in Davos who clearly know what is best for all of us and continue to make proclamations about how ‘we’ will move forward. One of their grand plans says that there are just too many cars (and people driving them) and that we simply need a lot fewer cars if we are to move together into the new golden age. They also think we need 80% fewer humans, but who put these folks in charge in the first place?

    One last point worth noting. I do love my EV, but I am very aware that many new cars come with invasive technology. All EV’s come with this tech and as a result can basically all be controlled remotely at any time they are connected to a network. Elon is filling the skies with satellites, I would guess partly to facilitate this kind of control. It does not make me comfortable at all.

    Finally, I should say that I have wanted an EV for a long time and got one as soon as I could. Other people should do whatever they want or feel comfortable with and it is not my business what they want to drive. I no longer buy into the hysteria around climate change. I can see it’s effects like anyone else, but I can also see how it is being used to scare people and manipulate them into making choices out of fear. Seems to be a common theme for the 2020’s and all of the assorted existential threats facing us that so many are confused and feel powerless to change or address. There are no easy answers or magic bullets, but we humans are very resourceful and creative. The so-called leaders in the world are constantly trying to convince us otherwise, that we are weak and greedy and can’t be trusted to make personal decisions. Maybe there is a problem with this picture?

  2. This article will be hidden from King Phillip by his court. The governor doesn’t get it either. An EV in beautiful weather California doesn’t compare to the brutal winters that Vermont can dish out. Why is he pushing for EVs and spending big money on something most of us can’t afford, won’t work for us here and we don’t want them anyway. I think the EV evolution should be restricted to urban areas for in city traffic. EVs have no place in Vermont’s rural areas and winter makes them almost useless and dangerous. There will have to be idiot labels all over the dash for some people because if they are stranded in the winter, they could die. Even car batteries fail to start cars here on cold mornings. In a world of EVs, who will have the internal combustion vehicle to start all the dead EV batteries?

    The state is lacking in common sense leaders including the governor. They should be healing Vermont problems; the planet will be fine. Our roads suck, our bridges are deteriorating, we have no mental health facilities, corrections is a revolving door, crime is out control, and we are dying of drugs transported in from states to our south. But let’s build some more solar panels and charging stations, let’s chase some windmills for tipping, let’s ban the internal combustion engine, let’s shame everyone as a racist or domestic terrorist and let’s spend more on education to indoctrinate our children and finally let’s try to kill old people and the unborn right after everyone switches their gender fluidity.

    Vermont has a sickness that was never here before the great progressive influx. It’s like the Mass Fomation experienced during the scamdemic. People have been dumbed down to the point that there’s no more individual thought or critical thinking. They are all afraid. We have an election coming, we don’t have to live like this. We are supposed to be represented not ruled by the climate overlords or the high priests of the climate cult. Some of us have been warning everyone for years and now we have arrived in the Twilight Zone where nothing makes any sense. Keep voting for it Vermonters, we are at the cliffs edge. Or vote with your brain instead of your feelings. We can’t keep pretending that everything is okay. Vote as though your life depended on it, because it does.

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