Roper: Biggest Flood Related Scam: The Global Warming Solutions Act

by Rob Roper

The headline in VT Digger read, “Officials issue warnings about flood-related scams,” and, “Natural disasters make people more vulnerable to scams.” Surely, they do, and Vermonters should indeed be on the lookout for those praying on people’s fears and emotions in the wake of the tragic flooding so many areas of our state are experiencing. But, ironically, the biggest scam artists of them all are those same officials telling us that if we just send them a few billion or so of our tax dollars over the next couple of years they can change the weather and stop things like this from happening again in the future. Watch out for these scammers to double down in the days to come!

After Tropical Storm Irene, Vermont legislators had a choice to make. Should our policy be primarily geared toward preparing for the next extreme weather event by investing our limited resources in strengthening our infrastructure and disaster response capacity? Or should we instead put the overwhelming bulk of our efforts into stopping the next storm from occurring by lowering our carbon footprint. They chose the latter. How’s it working out?

This criticism isn’t hindsight or Monday morning quarterbacking. A look back at the September 7, 2021, meeting of the Vermont Climate Council highlights the issue and the problem with the Global Warming Solutions Act (GWSA), passed by our Democrat-controlled legislature over the veto of Governor Scott in 2020. During a discussion about how much “resilience and adaptation” the Climate Action Plan should incorporate (the terms in this context meaning preparations for weather related events, such as floods), several members noted that the GWSA is very clear that its priority is greenhouse gas reduction, not adaptation.

As Council member Jared Duval reminded his colleagues, “I just don’t want to overstep our bounds when we know that the initial target for this plan is most focused on for 2025 and 2030 are about gross emissions reductions…. I want to make sure that in our attempt and responsibility to address adaptation and resilience that that does not become a way that we take our attention away from what is in the Act [GWSA], the very first thing listed,… the most present, legally binding requirement, which is this has to add up to a plan the meets the gross emission requirements.”

And, in the ensuing two years, they most certainly did not get distracted by addressing adaptation and resilience. At all.

Asked to respond to Duval, Chris Campany, one of the few voices of common sense on the Council and there to represent municipal governments (you know, the folks now dealing with flooded downtowns, washed out roads, etc.) was clearly frustrated. “Maybe the work of adaptation and building resilience is something they need to do in the legislature next session. Chairman [Tim] Briglan [of the House Energy & Technology Committee] actually offered a mea culpa that it [adaptation and resilience] wasn’t given equal billing in the original act.”

But the legislature did not take up adaptation and resilience in 2022 or 2023, instead putting their efforts into passing an estimated $2 billion over four years Clean Heat Standard “Rube Goldberg” carbon tax scheme on home heating fuels in order to reduce Vermont’s already minuscule carbon footprint.

Campany went on to issue the warning, “I can tell you in my work here [as a municipal planner] having gone through our biggest disaster since Irene on July 29th [2021], then dodging three potential direct hits from three other tropical storms…, in my world we can go negative emissions tomorrow and for everybody living in Vermont we’re still going to be dealing with the same issues…. I’m going to keep beating that drum [for adaptation and resilience] because of fundamental life and safety issues, whether we reduce greenhouse gas emissions or not.”  And here we are, more than three years after passage of the Global Warming Solutions Act, dealing with the same fundamental life and safety issues associated with extreme weather events.

We could have been spending our taxpayer dollars on things like shoring up our roads and bridges, strengthening our culverts, upgrading our sewage treatment facilities, investing in first responders and emergency equipment, and, where possible, relocating houses and buildings out of floodplains. They might have started on that last project by moving the Vermont Emergency Operations Center somewhere uphill from the banks of Winooski River in Waterbury, but no…. And it was one of the first places that needed to be evacuated during the storm. Brilliant minds at work!

Instead, our legislators decided to use that time, money, and effort mostly for subsidizing heat pump installations and electric vehicle purchases and building a bunch of EV charging stations – many of which are now under water. Still waiting for the stories about the heroic role electric vehicles played in rescue operations. And I wonder how all of those solar panels have been performing under a month of rainclouds.

If we are expecting more frequent extreme weather events in our future, there are practical actions we can take to make sure future damages are limited. Unfortunately, the people we have elected to make these decisions would rather virtue signal to most radical activists, pouring our tax money down a rat hole that they privately (and some publicly) will admit won’t do a darn thing to affect climate change — or, as we just witnessed, prepare for it. We’ve been scammed. What a shame.

Rob Roper is a freelance writer who has been involved with Vermont politics and policy for over 20 years. This article reprinted with permission from Behind the Lines: Rob Roper on Vermont Politics,

Categories: Commentary

17 replies »

  1. Government either can change the weather or they can’t, but either way they are holding us hostage over it.

  2. How many of our legislators have been out to talk with people who have lost everything, and asked how they would like to spend the money that they allocated to climate change? They won’t, anymore than they did when they started this whole crap because they surround themselves with the same thinkers club, and no one else is allowed in! Great Government we have in this state. NOT

  3. Meanwhile, Communist China builds a brand-new coal-fired plant every single month and wildfires continue to rage across Canada spewing pollutants and destroying wildlife, but the small population of citizens in the State of Vermont shouldn’t be “allowed” to use propane to keep themselves warm in the winter without having a PUNISHMENT tax levied on them up to several dollars per gallon????

    Progressives & Democrat Socialists are a danger to Vermont & the rest of the free world. Let them all pick up and relocate to China along with Klaus Schwab where they believe they’ll be happy….just remember simpletons – no homosexuality, no organized religion, no criticism of the government, no disabled, no more than two children, (preferably boys but of course) and no mention of Islam among you – or you shall be put to death. Enjoy your “pristine” environment & “diversity”!

    You are the ignorami of the Green Mountains.

  4. I’m confused. Why would Democrats, Progressives, Socialists, Organized religion adherents (by the way, Islam is an Organized religion), the disabled, homosexuals, simpletons and also Marxists be moving to Communist China? Is it because some of the above believe at the very minimum, that sumptin, sumptin funny is going on with our climate and maybe we oughta find out what that sumptin might be before we either drown in mud or die from cholera ?

    I have not included Devil Worshipers in the above list of peeps cuz I don’t like them either.

    • You apparently are quite “confused” with regard to my entire comment, though I will attempt to clarify so that your personal mischaracterization of my remarks doesn’t result in any “misinformation” that might be disseminated.

      Though you may be loathe to admit it, your Democrat Party has been hijacked by Communists, socialists, extremists, globalists & radicals as even RFK Jr., a consummate Democrat, seems nearly impotent in these days to try to combat — and I do believe he’s entirely more familiar with the original, once respected inner workings & tenets of the DNC than you likely are….or for that matter nearly anyone else on the planet.

      Your party now very obviously venerates socialism/Communism/globalism and finds Constitutionality, its inherent freedoms, and the rule of law objectionable. Proofs of such include but are not limited to, the Defund the Police movement, abortion as a Constitutional “right” especially in VT, CRT training in publicly funded schools, the FBI & the Hunter Biden laptop & their deep-seated corruption, the grand idiocy surrounding the scheme that sex is “fluid” and gender can be chosen, the denial or revocation, again in VT especially, of parental rights concerning medical procedures (abortion, hormonal treatments, sex “reassignment” surgeries), the BLM political organization (now a nearly bankrupt & long questionable group) logos emblazoned upon taxpayer-funded public properties such as schools and government offices, etc. etc. etc.

      Since socialism, i.e.: Communism is obviously held in hallowed esteem by your party and its associates, ought instead consider relocating to locales such as China, Cuba, or Venezuela as opposed to continuing to attempt to overthrow a nation conceived in liberty which possesses, very thankfully, a well-armed militia comprised of millions of patriotic and courageous defenders of the Republic ready & able to save her.

      And therein comes my preemptive warning to those who long for limited rights (!!??) more governmental control (!!??) and a supposed “communal” lifestyle such as which purportedly “successfully” exists in China – which is instead a country that murders those who proclaim they are homosexual, have slaughtered millions of unborn female fetuses over the decades whilst utilizing sex selection as a reason to end the life of the unborn, a country that enslaves, tortures, and murders millions of Uyghurs because of their religious affiliation, imprisons and sometimes murders Chinese Christians by the thousands annually for their faith, etc. etc. As far as the “wonders” you all apparently envision in countries such as in like nations such as Cuba & Venezuela – those citizens who yearn for a taste of the freedoms here far too many have taken for granted for far too long – have been risking life and limb (and sometimes losing one or the other in the process) for years and even decades in order to gain entry into this shining city on a hill – the USA – a country the left delights in denigrating at every turn. Insofar as your choosing to move to China in response to your suspicions of “climate change” – I sincerely doubt the multitude of coal-powered energy plants & its reputation of being one of the worst environmental polluters, alongside India, on the planet will grant you a whole lot of solace once you’re there.

      Such therefore was my warning — do be careful in what you wish for, as so many times in life wishes indeed come true. And lastly, DO bring your own toilet paper with you; remember: T.P. is a real commodity in Communist countries, comrades.

    • It appears that you have been indoctrinated into the climate cult JayDee. When you find out what’s wrong about the earth’s climate or weather, do you believe punishing Vermonters with high energy prices will change the climate. There’s a sucker born every minute was the saying, because people can’t see through the scam and want to believe they are going to help the planet survive. A planet that has survived on it’s own and is not in trouble.

      I’ll repeat what we have been taught, the earth is 4.5 billion years old and was covered with ice. There were no people, there was no life, no industry, nothing and the earth warmed. Do you honestly believe that Vermont, the size of a pin on the earth’s surface containing 650,000 people can do anything to change or control the climate or weather any where on earth?

      The USA has the most environmentally sound policies of anywhere. How can people be this ignorant in 2023. China and India as well as other countries are allowed to build coal fired plants for their energy needs while the climate cult in the USA uses extortion with government taxpayer money to build unreliable green energy. The name is even fake. EVs use electricity produced by burning oil and wood (biomass). Burlington Vermont has the largest wood burning plant for electric generation in the state. The other one is the McNeil plant in Ryegate, VT.

      There are none so blind as those who refuse to see. Every environmental predicted disaster has not happened. I’ll close with the one used to scar school aged children. Remember when it was predicted that all the Polar Bears would be extinct because the glaciers were going to melt. Well, they didn’t and are thriving. Do some research, open your eyes. The ski is blue, the earth is fine.

      • And after you read and absorb Dano’s reccommended pices, study history. World History and American History and also Vermont’s. It will not hurt one bit.

    • Why do you kids always cut and run? Though your dear leaders may instruct you to type in some nonsensical or ill-conceived retort and then vanish – it merely makes you all appear pretty, well, vacuous.

  5. For as long as there has been life on earth the climate has changed as the planet evolves and thriving living beings including us humans require adaptation. So yes to better infrastructure and new building locations.

  6. The Vermont government’s continued dystopian allocation of limited resources should be no surprise to anyone. They have demonstrated over and again that they are either incompetent, corrupt, or some combination thereof.

    So, “We’ve been scammed. What a shame.”

    No, Rob… ‘Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice…..?’

    • Re: “pouring our tax money down a rat hole that they privately (and some publicly) will admit won’t do a darn thing to affect climate change .”

      But what continues to go un-emphasized are the benefits these legislators and their appointees receive from their scams. As reported a couple of years ago, by one of your former colleagues, John McClaughry, consider the VPIRG/SunCommon cronyism back in 2021.

      The two founders of SunCommon, James Moore and Duane Peterson, as “…leaders of the Vermont Public Interest Research Group, … spearheaded the effort to pass legislation in 2009 (H446) requiring Vermont utilities to pay high, guaranteed subsidized rates for solar power generation.”

      “The company originated with advocacy group Vermont Public Interest Research Group (VPIRG), which in September 2010 started a program to install solar power and hot water systems for homeowners. To meet the demand for clean energy, a new entity was needed that could take in outside capital and scale up, so Duane and James launched SunCommon.”

      Then, in 2021, SunCommon was privately sold for $40 Million.

      Consider too, that the Vermont Public Utility Commission, that controls Vermont’s energy management programs, has as one of its three commissioners, Margaret Cheney, who was appointed (and still serves), even though she had zero expertise in energy management or production. Why would Vermont’s governor Shumlin have appointed Cheney to one of the most powerful commissions in Vermont? Perhaps it was continued political shenanigans (i.e., corruption). Cheney is the wife of Vermont’s U.S. Senator Peter Welch.

      Are you starting to get the picture of how cronyism works?

  7. I can attest to displays of grandstanding and showboating taking place in the aftermath of this flood – all promoting an activist agenda hidden behind community service. One local blogger’s sentiments run from boasting about helping the community, and the next entry attacks landlords and the community for falling short!? It is a well documented meltdown of giant mood swings. Above all, it is a testament of how out of touch with reality some of these people truly are – they have no idea the long emergency has arrived, the perfect storm is upon us, and this is only the beginning.

    • And in this piece Mr. Roper does exactly the same thing to take advantage of this emergency to amplify his own voice. Let’s ignore all of the grandstanding and help our neighbors get through this.

      • On the contrary, Mr. Fixx – speaking of grandstanding. Mr. Roper is simply pointing out that, if the resources invested in the Global Warming Solutions Act were put to more practical uses, like ‘strengthening our infrastructure and disaster response capacity’, not to mention restricting persistent development in Vermont’s flood plains, we might not have to help our neighbors get through these difficulties over and again.

        We’ve seen floods like this several times over the last century – the blink of an eye in anthropologic time. Surely, this kind of mountain valley flooding has been ongoing here for millennia. How many more floods will it take before we smarten up and build more energy efficient structures on higher ground, instead of jousting with windmills and cow flatulence, subsidizing solar power in one of the least sunny places in the country, and forsaking energy alternatives? All to limit CO2, a trace gas that, in total, amounts to only 4/100ths of a percent of the earth’s atmosphere. Meanwhile water vapor is the dominant greenhouse gas with concentrations up to 100 times greater than CO2.

        And be sure to read John McClaughry’s article in VDC – Don’t be fooled by “global average temperature.”

        McClaughry isn’t grandstanding either. If anyone is grandstanding, it’s Vermont’s legislators.

      • I wish I could ignore it – yet, ignorance is why we are in this long emergency battling agendas that do not serve humanity’s highest and best. During Irene, there was a different, more deliberate response from hordes of people and no one uttered the mantras of climate change or DEI. Real Vermonters do not forget when someone pulls a fast one and then attempts to do it again….the second time, real Vermonters take a step back with a sideways stare, then proceed to go about their business and help those who genuinely deserve it, grateful for it, and not tallying up the score for future endeavors.

  8. THINK, while it’s still legal!

    Yes, follow the money, crony capitalism/lobbyist payoffs/palm greasing at its finest…nothing like allowing people to influence & enact legislation that lines their very own pockets.