In the third batch of poll results released by CFV (see below), we discover Vermonters thoughts and feelings around climate change and the efforts of the state to address our obligations to the environment. While two-thirds of Vermonters support the goals of the Paris Climate Accord and carbon-neutrality, most are not willing to shoulder any additional financial burden to meet those goals. Further, specific policies the Legislature is advancing do not hold up well to public opinion.Read more
If you have read my two latest Op-Eds on the Prisoner’s Dilemma Around Climate Change and Not Losing our Heads in the face of the same, then you know that I advocate for a thoughtful and balanced response to climate change. A response that conveys the urgency of the issue while also avoiding pitfalls of inhumanity and single-mindedness. But, what does that mean? What does it look like for Vermonters and for our state?Read more
What is it about climate change that elicits such a panic in us? Perhaps it is the unrelating force of nature? The overwhelming sense of powerlessness we feel when storms, wind, fire, and water encroach upon our lives. In the face of such (un)natural disasters, maybe we clutch to whatever agency we can muster? Or, could it be that the prospect of our grandchildren not experiencing the same planet we did terrifies us. It could be a bit of both, or a whole host of other reasons.Read more
The Paris Climate Accords were ratified in 2015 and have gained 195 signatories since. Most experts agree that a 2-degree (Celsius) increase in global temperatures would avoid the worst impacts of climate change and that a 4-degree increase would be devastating. But how are we tracking towards those goals? Not well, it turns out. Most countries are on track to miss the 2050 net-zero emissions target. The top 7 emitters account for 50% of all global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and none of them meet the most aggressive Paris targets. Three (China, India, and Indonesia) are considered highly insufficient, according to ClimateTracker.org. One (Russia) is listed as critically insufficient. The remaining three (US, European Union, and Brazil) are rated as insufficient.Read more
The clean heat standard (which many have called a carbon tax) was undoubtedly the most controversial law passed during the 2023 legislative session. While its aim is a worthwhile reduction in carbon emissions from home heating, the mechanism employed raises the cost of heating fuels for households still using carbon-based fuels.
The House Government Operations Committee returned to S.42 on Thursday. Katie Green (Deputy Chief Investment Officer, Vermont Pension Investment Commission). She shared that the Vermont Pension Investment Commission (VPIC) established an Environmental, Social, and Governmental (ESG) committee. Green noted that climate change is a "significant threat," adding that it's "not just fossil fuel" but also automobile industry, land use, and water quality. She was adamant that VPIC was accountable and transparent, which is why they created the ESG committee to report up to the commission.Read more
The bill creating a carbon-pricing scheme, known as the Clean Heat Standard (CHS), reached the House floor on Thursday. Representative Sibilia presented the bill on behalf of the Environment & Energy Committee.
She described the bill as having the Public Utility Commission (PUC) develop the marketplace and rules for implementing the CHS. They will provide the 2025 legislature and Governor with the rules to implement the CHS. That is “all we are voting on today,” she claimed. She continued that “a yes vote today will not increase the cost of Vermonter’s fuel or protect the cost. We are not voting on those things today. We are voting on those things in 2025.”Read more
Bill McKibben from Third Act joined the House Government Operations Committee on Wednesday to discuss S.42. He noted divestment started here in Vermont years ago. Third Act was founded by McKibben, who wrote the "original book" about global warming. In LA Times and companies knew, all the way back in the 1980s, about the impact of fossil fuels and "lied about what fossil fuels can do to the environment," he claimed.Read more