Roper: despite record high fuel costs, Legislature to continue climate taxation

By Rob Roper

As gasoline prices hover around record highs, putting tremendous pressure on family budgets, stressing businesses, and making life generally more expensive, the Vermont Climate Council is coming up with a plan to make the problem worse. Much worse.

Rob Roper

Council member Jared Duval (who is also running for a Washington County Senate seat) said to unanimous agreement, “At a minimum, what will be necessary to meet the GWSA requirements, is either a cap – and that could be Cap & Invest or Cap & Reduce — or a performance standard. At the very least we need to tell the legislature that it’s going to take one or both of those options. And they may not be sufficient on their own. But I feel extremely confident that we cannot have anywhere near the degree of confidence in meeting the CAP [Climate Action Plan] without at least one of those policies.”

At the July 11 meeting of the council’s Transportation Task Force, which is formulating a plan for the legislature that will lower CO2 emissions from the transportation sector enough to meet the mandates of the Global Warming Solutions Act, new carbon taxes on gas and diesel were at the top of the list.

Let’s look at definitions here. An example of a “Cap & Invest” program is the Transportation Climate Initiative (TCI-P), which would have forced fuel dealers to purchase “allowances” in order to sell gas and diesel. These “allowances” are a de facto carbon tax that will be passed along to Vermont drivers, driving up the cost of gas and diesel and putting “market” pressure on people not to use them.

Before the multi-state compact imploded last December TCI-P was expected to cost Vermont drivers an additional $20 to $30 million a year for motor fuels. While this sounds like a lot, and is, it’s not even close to what the Climate Council’s proposed programs will cost – multiple billions of dollars – so what a Vermont-go-it-alone version of TCI-P could look like is truly mind boggling.

The difference between a Cap & Reduce and a Cap & Invest program is the latter is more interested in raising revenue from GHG emissions (cripple the host but keep it alive so you can continue sucking its blood), and the former’s priority is simply to reduce year over year the amount of gas and diesel allowed to be sold in state until it’s gone (kill the host). This could lead not only to higher prices at the pump, but fuel shortages as well.

Transportation Performance Standards are basically outright bans on vehicles that don’t meet government mandated GHG emissions limits. In other words, a transportation related Performance Standard policy could mean you can’t own a car or truck (or snow machine, ATV, tractor, lawn mower, etc.) that emits more than a set level of greenhouse gasses. Vermont is already set to adopt California’s Advanced Clean Cars II and Clean Trucks emission standards (another Climate Council recommendation), which begins the process of limiting after 2026 and then banning entirely the sale of new internal combustion engine vehicles by 2035. Presumably an additional Vermont-based performance standard would be even more expansive and restrictive about what consumers would be allowed to buy and use.

And this is just the Transportation portion of the Climate Action Plan. The Council is also going to recommend that the legislature bring back the Clean Heat Standard, which is a TCI-P-like de facto carbon tax on home heating fuels. 99 House members failed to override the governor’s veto of this bad idea by a single vote back in May. As of this writing, the cost of a gallon of heating oil is $5.37.  

All this is, of course, unaffordable, impractical, and potentially catastrophic for our economy. New Hampshire isn’t banning the sale of cars and trucks, nor is it jacking up the taxes on gas and heating fuel. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see what will happen if we do this.  

In fairness to the Climate Council, they’re just doing their job, which is to figure out how to meet the goals of the Global Warming Solutions Act passed by the legislature. It’s not in their purview to say this is nuts and we shouldn’t do it. No, the real culprits behind this colossal mess are the 103 Representatives and 22 Senators who voted for the Global Warming Solutions Act over the veto of Governor Scott. They’re the ones demanding these policies.

Thankfully between now and when the Climate Council makes its formal recommendations to the legislature there will be an election. Let’s hope the new legislature that hears these recommendations for new carbon taxes on gas and heating fuel, bans on cars and trucks, and who knows what else will be ideologically different than the legislature that asked for them.

Rob Roper is the former president of the Ethan Allen Institute.

Categories: Commentary

7 replies »

  1. It appears that Council member Jared Duval is itching to spend more of our money. Let’s hope the penny wise residents of Washington County do not choose to elect this spendthrift.

  2. What is the say about if you are a fool, don’t confirm it by talking? If elected by
    Washington County, they will show we have a lot of ignorant or fools in our beautiful state.

  3. The whole global warming scam is a hoax perpetrated by politicians and the elite to gain control over the masses, increase their power, and reward special interests and green energy companies. It’s sad that so many well-meaning people buy into this nonsense and volunteer to be useful idiots for the green charlatans. How many more times do false predictions of doom have to become painfully obvious before people realize they’re being duped?

      • Mr. Christiano, I was wondering if you could clarify your comment “Apparently many more.” A few questions: Are you agreeing with the above comment from “Robert” that global warming is a “hoax”, “nonsense” and a “false prediction of doom”? If so, does your opposition to rewarding special interests and energy companies extend to the special interests of oil, natural gas and coal energy companies, which have received trillions of dollars subsidized by taxpayers. Or does your opposition only extend to rewards for “green energy companies”? As a voter, it would be helpful for me to understand exactly what you mean by your comment. Thank you!

  4. So–“Renewables” comprise about 12% US grid power now, if we continue using lithium-ion batteries (flammable) the International Energy Agency estimates we’ll need about 50 more lithium mines, 60 cobalt, & 70 nickel ones, some are in rain forests & will need HUGE Euclid dump trucks (diesel) and ore processing equipment, not to mention shipping to the factories to be encased in plastic, made from oil. They estimate China’s stake in current & future mines is about 77%, the US’s, 6-9%..China now makes about 3/4 of the world’s solar panels, windmills, & batteries, so these “policies” will enrich China even more, a great return on their “investment” of some $30 million in the Biden family. BTW–Why do we not hear more about vanadium flow batteries? And why do we see nothing (fine print) about the “Paris Agreement” (and other UN schemes) where the USA & Europe’s economies are hobbled while India, China, & Russia’s can run full throttle? And Robert here is right, this is NOT “settled science”. ALL the Greenies hysterical predictions since the 1970’s (“Coming Ice Age”) have been for naught and yet tiny Vermont, with it’s 600,000 people, are subject to these Greeniacs? Vote ’em out before they can inflict any more damage.

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