Roper: NY unlikely to save VT climate plan

Empire Staters just as clueless about how to meet GHG goals

by Rob Roper

Vermont’s Global Warming Solutions Act (GWSA) requires our state to meet some very stringent greenhouse gas reduction targets in 2025, 2030 and 2050. To be precise, 26% below 2005 levels by 2025, 40% below 1990 levels by 2030 and 80% below by 2050. If you’re playing to the Green crowd, this is some pretty heady, balloons and confetti stuff. Great press conference material. First bullet point on all your campaign materials.

The details regarding how the state is actually supposed to achieve these targets? Cut to clip of Homer Simpson’s thought bubble with the sleeping donkey surrounded by buzzing flies. They have no clue.

One of the largest sectors contributing to Vermont’s CO2 emissions is, not surprisingly, the transportation sector. The Climate Council’s original plan for cutting auto emissions was to join the Transportation Climate Initiative Program (TCI-P), a multi-state agreement amongst New England and Mid Atlantic states to basically add a regional carbon tax to gasoline and diesel fuels. However, faced with the reality of what this would entail, all but one of the thirteen participating states (Massachusetts) ultimately concluded ten years’ negotiations with some version of, “Ahhhh… yeah…. We’re not doing that.” Alas, the Vermont Climate Council and the politicians they work for would have to put on their own thinking caps come up with their own plan.Nearly three years later, they’ve still got nothing.Enter New York.

Facing a $32 billion budget deficit driven by citizens fleeing high taxes/cost of living, New York thought it would be a good idea to embark on an ambitious emissions reduction plan. Like Vermont, the politicians passed the mandates in New York’s Cap and Invest Program (NYCI), and appointed its own Climate Council to figure out the details of how it would work. The Vermont Climate Council, with great hopes that A) the New Yorkers came up with some actual concrete solutions we could copy, and B) that Vermont could somehow piggyback onto New York’s plan, invited the New Yorkers on July 20 to give a presentation showing us what they’ve got.

New York’s got nothing.

Just like Vermont, New York’s climate action plan is just a bunch of flashy goals with no concrete mechanisms for how to achieve them, and few resources dedicated to actually figuring all that out. The New Yorkers’ PowerPoint is essentially a long-winded dictionary definition of what a “cap and invest” program is (a high school student could have put it together, even without the help of ChatGPT) — but no details of how NYCI itself will work in practice, or what it will cost.

Just like Vermont, though, the New York climate warriors have the jargon down. They rattle off talking points about how the program will be executed through a lens of social justice and equity, ensuring that “marginalized communities” aren’t adversely impacted by the higher energy costs the program is designed to create. How will these communities be protected? Well, those details have yet to be worked out.  They will implement their plan in such a way as to not adversely impact economic activity or drive key industries out of the state. How so? Well, those details have yet to be worked out.  

The Vermont Climate Council was hanging its hopes on the promise that New York’s plan was purportedly designed to encourage other states to join in a TCI-like partnership. Yes, and not really. Theoretically, New York would love to have partners. As for the details of how other states would be able and allowed to participate…. Well, those details have yet to be worked out. Does Vermont have any ideas? Blank stares and crickets in the background.

Unlike Vermont, New York is setting out to implement an “economy wide” cap and invest program whereas our plan looks to take a more sector by sector approach. One Vermont Council member asked if Vermont might be able to participate just in the transportation aspect of New York’s program. The answer: “Maybe?” But such details have yet to be worked out.

All the New York team really seems to know is that they have been mandated a task to reduce greenhouse gasses in their state to 40% below 1990 levels by 2030, and 85% below by 2050 using an economy-wide cap and invest scheme. An unintentionally humorous graph depicts where current emission levels are, the target of where they need to be by 2050, with basically a straight line connecting the two with an “Illustrative Example” disclaimer emblazoned along the top. “We do know the end points…. That’s what we have to get to….” said presenter, Jon Binder. “What we haven’t decided yet is the exact starting point and what the actual trajectory of that path, that slope, looks like.” So, what they’re really saying is that what they haven’t decided yet is — ANYTHING.

One other data point the New Yorkers do know is that the program, by law, has to be up and running by the end of this year. A task and timeline even they admit is “impossible.”

It is safe to say that as New York scrambles to figure out how it’s going to meet its own deadlines, tackling the side task of figuring out how to accommodate some sort of complicated partnership with little old Vermont isn’t going to be much a priority for the Empire Staters.

Moreover, as one Vermont Council member pointed out, TCI took ten years to negotiate (and failed) through an impartial third party that ensured all participating states were treated fairly and given a voice. In this case, New York is doing its own thing by its own rules to achieve its own goals. And policies that apply to a state of 20 million people with a large and diverse economy are going to be very different than those necessary for a state of 640,000 where a company with 100 employees is considered huge.

So, sorry Vermont Climate Council, New York is not going to ride to your rescue and hand you a solution to your transportation quandary. You’ll have to do the work of putting together a plan for Vermont yourselves. Can’t wait to hear what you come up with! Some day. Eventually. Maybe?

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

6 replies »

  1. Re: “Just like Vermont, New York’s climate action plan is just a bunch of flashy goals with no concrete mechanisms for how to achieve them, and few resources dedicated to actually figuring all that out.”

    Dr. John Clauser, Nobel Prize Recipient for Physics, 2022, & Board Member of the CO2 Coalition, has recently warned of “…the application of scientific disinformation for opportunistic purposes…. Non-science business managers, politicians, politically appointed lab directors and the like are very easily snowed by scientific disinformation. Sometimes they participate in its origination.”

    Clauser goes on to say:
    “Perception of truth frequently differs significantly from real truth. Moreover, given sufficient promotion and advertising, perception of truth becomes truth. Its promotion by commercial enterprise Is called marketing, commonly used in the furtherance of political, commercial, or various opportunistic ends by its promoters. When promotion is done by government or political groups, it’s called spin or propaganda.

    Perception of truth is also malleable. If you can sell it, if you want to sell it, and you can’t sell it, that’s easy. You change it. You can change truth. You can claim false observations if necessary.”

    Clauser then says: “I have a second elephant in the room that I have recently discovered regarding climate change. I believe that climate change is not a crisis… I can confidently say there is no real climate crisis, and that climate change does not cause extreme weather events.”

    In 2004, novelist Michael Crichton (may he RIP) wrote State of Fear, in which eco-terrorists plot mass murder to publicize the danger of global warming for their personal financial gain. That was 20 years ago. Today, Dr. John Clauser and Rob Roper are warning us again.

    Caveat emptor. Praemonitus praemunitus.

  2. The worst part of these schemes is that this is all not just a diversion from their even more evil plans such as their “one world order” lunacy, but it’s simply another way to steal money from average Vermonters* in the way of new “punishment” taxes to make the poor poorer – and when you are barely getting by, you are easier to control & more dependent on the state.

    Vermonters are going to have their home heating fuels taxed via s5 as part of this unprincipled legislature & they are now further plotting to add yet more taxes at the gas pumps. Once the purchase of a new gasoline-powered motor vehicle becomes ILLEGAL in this state as planned, guess what these shady slimeballs will pass next? Why, another “punishment” tax for just owning a gas-powered car, but of course!

    *In Manchester, when VT legislator Kathleen James was asked by a constituent at a public meeting exactly what did the state intend to do with the taxes collected on oil/propane via s5 – she answered: “We’re planning to give it to people who “need” it”.

    That’s CORRECT, folks – INCOME REDISTRIBUTION. COMMUNISM in-your-face. No more pussyfooting around the topic, no more hemming & hawing. These diabolical, oft Chicago-trained Alinsky-following, politicos are finally being upfront with you: YOU do not “need” your own hard-earned money, WE decide who needs it, i.e.: MORE illegal aliens, “migrants”, criminals, $ for reparations, and non-white persons specifically.

  3. Laziness on the part of corporate media couldn’t possibly explain the degree to which they’re all missing the boat on climate change. It’s got to be a coordinated willful operation to align all possible incentives towards the goal of deceiving the public. That’s the only explanation I can see. See the amazing Twitter (X) thread that Michael Shellenberger just published. There’s no escaping how foolish all these policies are.

    • Laziness? No sir, it’s not laziness. It is decades of indoctrination and ideology being drilled into the minds of the young. These “journalists” are ambitious and full of self-righteous indignation to further the religion of climate, socialism and more.

      • It’s the money, folks. It’s always about the money. Those who say otherwise, those who say they want only to save the planet for their grandchildren, are deluding themselves into thinking that they alone have the capacity to save the earth, when they can’t. It’s going to take a free market collaboration, not an edict from delusional fanatics.