Roper: Climate Council eyes transportation carbon tax on top of S.5 home heating tax

Even better, how ‘bout an “economy wide” carbon tax!

by Robert Roper

Fresh off the veto override and passage of S.5, the Clean Heat Standard bill that best estimates say will raise the price of home heating fuel by $0.70 to $4.00 per gallon, the Vermont Climate Council discussed ideas for doing something similar with transportation fuels – gasoline and diesel.

“To meet our statutorily required transportations emissions reductions, it’s really going to require either a ‘cap and invest’ and ‘cap and reduce’ approach or a ‘performance standard’ or some combination thereof,” said Johanna Miller at the June 15 meeting of the Cross Sector Mitigation Subcommittee (a.k.a. The Cool Kids’ Table). In clearer terms, ‘cap and invest’ is a euphemism for ‘tax and spend’. The state sets a cap on greenhouse gas emissions, charges a fee (tax) for those who exceed the cap, and spends the money on state-approved or state-run programs. ‘Performance standard’ is a euphemism for ‘government regulation.’

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In order to meet the total greenhouse gas reduction mandates of the Global Warming Solutions Act, emissions from the transportation sector must be reduced roughly as much as those from the home heating sector. If you thought we were done after the Unaffordable Heat Act, you were sadly mistaken. And if you think we’ll be done after the coming gas and diesel tax you’ll be mistaken again as we still have to deal with things like cow flatulence in the agricultural sector, but back to the issue at hand….  

Miller went on, “Realistically for Vermont there are only two cap and trade options, the Western Climate Initiative and then potentially New York’s work now to stand up its own cap and invest program…. So I think we’re looking at three options: joining the Western Climate Initiative…, looking to New York…, or a performance standard.”

What is she talking about?

The Western Climate Initiative is basically a West Coast version of the multi-state New England/Mid Atlantic Transportation Climate Initiative program (TCI-P) that imploded when every state in New England and the Mid-Atlantic except, seemingly, Vermont came to its senses and rejected the idea of a massive gas tax on its citizens. Similarly, almost all of the original WCI states jumped ship when reality set in, the difference there being that California, never a state to pay much attention to reality, was big enough to go it alone and did. Oregon and most recently Washington have also signed onto WCI, though it doesn’t seem practical for Vermont to enter into this kind of pact with states 3000 miles away. (Though it is important to remember that “practical” has never been a consideration for Vermont climate warriors. So who knows?)

Miller’s reference to New York is about that state’s newly minted carbon tax program. It’s not just for transportation fuels, but rather is an “economy wide” carbon tax. Governor Kathleen Hochul’s press release announcing the initiative describes the concept as thus:

Large-scale greenhouse gas emitters and distributors of heating and transportation fuels will be required to purchase allowances for the emissions associated with their activities. By applying to each metric ton of carbon emissions, the Cap-and-Invest Program will incentivize consumers, businesses, and other entities to transition to lower-carbon alternatives. Proceeds will support the State’s critical investments in climate mitigation, energy efficiency, clean transportation, and other projects, in addition to funding an annual Climate Action Rebate that will be distributed to all New Yorkers to help mitigate any potential consumer costs associated with the program.

So, it’s basically S.5 that covers all carbon emissions, not just home heating, at least as far as we can tell. As with Vermont’s leftist politicians, New York’s leftist politicians have learned to sell the hype, obfuscate the fine print, and hide entirely the costs from the voters. Details for the plan are scarce and, as with our own Clean Heat Standard, are conveniently being worked out post passage of the law. The Climate Council is reaching out to a policy expert on New York’s plan with a request to come and explain it, especially how it will work in regard to transportation. We eagerly await their presentation! Should be a hoot.

However, all other details aside, at least one prominent Climate Council member was enamored of the detail we do know – New York’s carbon tax is “economy wide.” Jared Duval wants to make sure that when we do get the full skinny on New York’s carbon tax scheme we don’t just limit the possibilities to taxing gas, diesel and heating fuels. “I think, personally, we need to keep open the option of an economy wide cap and invest, not just sector specific,” said Duval. Time will tell how many of his colleagues share his go big or go home dreams.  

Since the implosion of TCI-P the Vermont Climate Council has been unable to figure out – or more likely has just been unwilling to put forward and subject to public criticism — any specific recommendations for a replacement policy or policies that can reduce our transportation emissions in line with the GWSA. Authors of the New York carbon tax admit that their ultimate goal is to “further catalyze a nationwide movement towards carbon pricing” (that’s another euphemism for ‘carbon tax’), so getting some dumb state that shares a border to cheerfully climb aboard would be a welcome development from the Ne Yorkers’ perspective. And, adopting an unpopular policy they didn’t themselves have any responsibility for writing (don’t blame us!) is a key selling point for the Vermont folks. A win/win for the politicians on both sides of the lake. For the Taxpayers, of course, it’s lose, lose, and lose some more.

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,

22 replies »

  1. When are Vermonters going to wake up????? How much can the working man pay? Those on public assistance are not affected- just the workers. And the legislature wanted a huge pay raise?? We must vote these legislators out. At least they had the good sense to be embarrassed enough to not override the veto by the Governor. But I am sure they will slip the pay raises in a bill when we aren’t looking. Exactly what have then done for the working man to justify such a raise? NOTHING. Term limits, shorter sessions and let them get back to their ‘real’ jobs.

  2. We have 3 vehicles in our household. A VW diesel that gets 45MPG, a 4WD RAM half ton diesel pickup that gets 30MPG, and a Subaru that gets 30MPG. We’re doing our part to reduce emissions! Electric vehicles cannot replace any of these vehicles in our local, use, and climate.
    This issue began when the Vt. democrats created the “Climate Council” as a “vehicle” to cram their wishes down Vt. citizen taxpayers throats without any legislative or taxpayer oversight!
    Disband the “Climate Council” and vote out the Progressive Democrats!

  3. Of course “they” are. “They” were very clear that carbon in any form is evil and must be eliminated by taxation. Those that voted for “they” enthusiastically endorsed this ideology. “They” now control Vermont’s government and as a result control all aspects of “their” subjects lives- down to every detail including what cleaning products subjects may use here in the people’s socialist republic.
    There is no escape, short of migration out of this socialist dystopia.
    We are watching Vermont become a bastardized version of Venezuela.
    I’ll watch from a distance.

    • I drive 75 miles a day for work
      And if these morons think I’m paying any tax they are dreaming. Time to move to NH. Communists. Can’t wait to run into some of these idiots on the street.

  4. Let’s see…….

    How about these?

    – Tax on cows, goats, sheep, chickens, squirrels, chipmunks, field mice (flatulence).

    – Tax on emissions from dirt bikes, ATVs, snowmobiles, rototillers, mowers, weed

    – Tax on ski lifts

    – Tax on bakeries, food trucks and restaurant grill emissions

    – Tax on maple sugaring operations

    – Tax on outdoor concerts, ball games, farmers markets, fairs, festivals and parades

    – Tax on picnics, barbecues, weddings, beer blasts (flatulence)

    – Tax on the Vermont Legislature, and Climate Council (BIG flatulence)

    There! That about does it, I think. And now back to my work installing those solar panels.

  5. I don’t remember being given a choice to vote for or against the “Vermont Climate Council”. Did I miss something ? Is there a company on the Dow that deals in tar & feathers ? If so please send me the info. I want to invest, as I think that market is going to be booming soon !

    • We were all given a choice to vote for the climate council. Anyone who votes for democrats or progressives is giving them this power. All this could be reversed in ONE ELECTION.

  6. No, this can’t be true! These clowns are representing us and the majority of us do not believe in this! Vermont is a drip in the world of pollution! These legislators should Sleepy Joe” to work with China, Russia and India to solve the problem, not us 👎👎

  7. Correct me if I’m wrong, but couldn’t we cut emissions in half simply by requiring ALL new motorized vehicles that run on fossil fuels have a minimum combined MPG of 50 MPG? And don’t tell me it can’t be done, Honda did it in the mid-80s with their Civic hatchback. We ought to be far, far ahead of where we are now, which in itself is a devolution. So who’s hiding the tech?

    If you want to go further, require that two trees be planted for every one that is cut. Same species too. Cut a sugar maple, plant 2 sugar maples. Cut a red oak, plant two red oaks. No, the returns would not be immediate, but in 15-20 years you’d have a rolling program of trees of all ages and the maturing trees would help filter 2x the air.

  8. Currently the cost of gasoline in Tennessee is below $3, and in Virginia it is just over $3. It is much less expensive in many states, than it is here in Vermont. All in the name of “Climate Change.” Do the “magicians” under the Golden Dome” expect that they can “magically” stop or reverse the quantity of CO2 in the air, by taxing most Vermonters to the point that they no longer can afford to live here? Maybe that is their plan, to make Vermont only for the rich.

    It’s certainly not because other states or country’s CO2 stop at the Vermont border. How are they going to stop volcano spewing carbon eruptions from cancelling out tiny Vermont’s “carbon savings?” There are at least 8 or so active volcanoes happening at any time. How dare the Canadian wildfire smoke cross the Vermont borders and settle into the Champlain Valley. Do the Montpeculiar Magicians arrogantly think that the 660,000 Vermonters can actually change the air quality and atmosphere in the world, or even over tiny Vermont? At best, they are tilting at windmills with our tax dollars, and at worst they have created a huge scam to siphon Vermonter’s hard earned dollars out of their pockets. What is next? Are they going to tax each breath we take or the “gas” we pass? If so, it might be best to stop eating beans.

  9. roper is a liar. the estimate of $4.00 a gallon is a totally bogus number made up by his cronies at EAI to rile people up.

    • The estimates by everyone are that the increase will be 70 cents to several dollars. But more important than that, Vermont is already at net zero so the positive impact of these proposals will actually be close to zero.

  10. Saunders has no proof that $4.00 a gallon is bogus. A gallon of what? I am more concerned about heating oil and cold weather to come. People like Saunders rile me up.

    • actually, nobody has proof, only estimates, about the future prices on a gallon of heating oil. still not all estimates are equally good, are they? i have read the original article in which EAI came up with this $4 estimate, an estimate that is far out of line with anyone else’s, and can say with certainty that some of the assumptions are ridiculous and the methodology critically flawed. this is par for the course for commentary from the ethan allen clown show; i can show you many, many other examples of their distortions and even some of the reasons why they might want to lie. i don’t give af if i rile you up, wallyworld38, but i do want people to get some idea of when politicians and admen are trying to rile them up by feeding them a bunch of bs.

  11. Any amount over what we are currently paying IS TOO MUCH! All it does is siphon more money away from those who can’t afford it, to be used on projects that do little to nothing to “fix” a problem that little Vermont has no ability to “fix.” It will, however, exacerbate existing issues for those living on the edge of affordability here in Vermont, and will either push them over the edge into poverty, pushing them out of Vermont and over to other states whose legislators have more common sense. States whose government understands that the voters do not have bottomless pockets filled with money to waste on such ineffective boondoggles.

    • There is no “fixing” anything until people wake up and say no to these tyrants. Global warming/climate change is a scam designed to scare everyone and steal your money. There is no real science, but plenty of junk science and mad scientists in and out of government worldwide playing at geo-engineering and bio-engineering, attempting to kill as many humans as they can, while destroying the environment with their toxic solar panels and windmills, all the while making the sheeple think they are saving the world.

  12. Vermont is already at Net Zero. Please keep saying that so everyone knows. It may not matter but, then again, maybe it will.

    • Could you explain how Vermont is already net zero in layman’s terms? Thanks in advance!

      • Our forests. We have more trees per capita than just about anywhere in the country. I don’t have the numbers at hand but you can google and get them. You want to know how many acres of trees in Vt and how much carbon an acre of trees absorbs and then compare it to the amount of carbon per person in Vermont. Enviros have been known to acknowledge that Vt is net zero but they say it doesn’t matter because we can do more. I say it matters because we are not net contributors to the problem and we are just making it so some other state of country doesn’t have to do their part.

      • People, on average, produce 21.8 tons per year of co2 (although I’m sure Vermonters produce less) Vt therefor produces roughly 13,080,000 tons of co2/year. One acre of trees absorbs 2.6 tons/ year. We have 4,500,000 acres of forests (not including all the trees not in forests). One acres of grassland absorbs one ton of co2/year. We have 1,200,000 acres of ag land in Vt. Not including everyone’ s lawns and fields not in production. Wetlands absorb 81 to 216 tons of co2 per year. We have 300,000 acres of wetlands in Vt. Trees absorb a total of 11,700,000 tons per year. Ag land 1,200,000 tons per year. and Wetlands 24,300,000 tons per year (using 81tons/acre). 13,080,000 is what we produce. 37,200,000 is what our environment absorbs. Therefor we as a state are way below net zero in emissions even if we count all the tourists. All of these figures are available on line if you just ask the right question.

  13. I never expected VT to be anything but the perfect place to move to in 1972, and I did, from democrat destroyed NJ. Talk about boiling the frog. It seems that the VT paradise has been turned into a disaster by liberal democrats that slithered in over the years and somehow keep getting elected. Well, you all can have this EX paradise turned into an EXPENSIVE sewer, there are many great places that cost less and offer more. My income is from outside the state and spent locally, no kids in school, I am free as a bird retired, I am a cash cow for this state but now I will be a cash cow for some other state.

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