Bob Stannard: True believer

Editor’s note: This commentary is by Bob Stannard, a former lobbyist, who is still an author and musician. This piece first appeared in the Bennington Banner.

Well you’re fussin’ and you’re fightin’
‘cause you have a little doubt

Let’s get together and try to work it out, 100 years
100 years from now.

Ya know it won’t really matter much
100 years from now

– Mark Hummel

In 1914 there were 1.8 billion people enjoying life on planet earth. The skies were clearer. The polar ice caps were larger. The seas were lower.

The people of 1914 were blissfully reaping the benefits of the Industrial Revolution. Halfway through that year America entered World War I. Prior to this time the parts per million of carbon dioxide in the earth’s atmosphere had never exceeded 300.

Visit the NASA site and you will see from 100 years to today the line indicating the increase in carbon is vertical. Carbon levels, and population, have been on the rise for the past 100 years.

The International Panel on Climate Change, the leading international organization for the assessment of climate change, has issued a report on its website: They’ve determined that human beings are responsible for the increase in CO2.

In an interview with Paul Heintz of Seven Days, Sen. Hartwell provided Vermonters with some disturbing insight as to his thinking on energy policy.


Is it a coincidence that 100 years ago CO2 levels were near the previous 400,000 years levels? It seems as though one does not have to be a scientist to see the direct correlation between population increase and CO2 increase over the past 100 years. However, if the obvious isn’t obvious enough then there is a wealth of credible information from approximately 97 percent of the world’s scientists confirming the obvious, which is that we now have 7.5 billion people on the planet and the highest CO2 levels of all time.

That global warming is the result of man’s need for more and more things should be a no-brainer. Yet there are those who insist that global warming is a hoax created by someone; environmentalists, I guess. For what purpose I’m not exactly sure.

There are those who refuse to believe that global warming of today is not man-made but is the result of some sort of natural occurrence yet undefined. Those most notable on the national level who insist that global warming is a hoax are folks like Rush Limbaugh, fossil fuel industry spokesperson Patrick Moore, Gov. Rick Perry, Glenn Beck, Sen. Jim Inhofe, who says the Bible says global warming is a hoax, and of course, the Koch brothers.

Here in Vermont we have a state senator, Bob Hartwell, who serves as chair of the Senate Natural Resources Committee and appears to be joining the ranks of the aforementioned in questioning whether climate change is the result of too many humans or some other, natural forces.

In an interview with Paul Heintz of Seven Days, Sen. Hartwell provided Vermonters with some disturbing insight as to his thinking on energy policy. I had posted the headlines on Facebook, which drew a response from Sen. Hartwell saying that he was misquoted. The reporter disagreed and published the entire interview, which can be read here.

There are a couple of things that I take away from this interview. First Hartwell does show concern for land use development as it pertains to utilities, which is good. However, he demonstrates a lack of knowledge of the process by pointing out that Act 250 disallows development over 2,500 feet, yet wind developers get their projects OK’d. He knows, or should know, that utility projects do not come under Act 250. They are regulated by Act 248. If he wants utility projects to come under Act 250 then he should change the law.

More disturbing is his answer to this question: “Is the science, or what you read in the papers, do you find that to be not true? Like the stuff that the [Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change], which just released that big report on climate change, do you disagree with their conclusions?”

Hartwell relied: “It’s hard. It’s hard. And I’m not sure. You know, there’s so much of it out there now. Now there’s a lot of dispute to make it worse. There’s a lot of science that says it isn’t happening the way the climate change — the really aggressive commentators — say it is. There’s other very credible people who say it isn’t true. So now I’m beginning to — I don’t know what to think, to tell you the truth. But I don’t think that just because — it’s ideology for some people. That’s what’s happened. And if you’re not with them on their claims, you know, then you’re somehow old-fashioned or not with it. And that’s simply not true.”

It’s clear that he does not accept the work of 97 percent of the world’s scientists who unanimously believe the obvious: that global warming of today is manmade.

He takes issue with “extremists.” One could argue that Vermonters for Clean Environment, the organization of which he once held an executive position, could be viewed as extremists. If we follow Sen. Hartwell’s lead, then we can be assured that nothing of significance will ever happen to address the most significant issue facing the world today.

Ya know it won’t really matter much 100 years from now …

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  • Michael Matukonis

    “It won’t matter much 100 years from now…” at least not for us. (One hopes) But it will matter to our children, grandchildren and great grandchildren and so on. But who cares, we won’t be around. It’s so important that some of the major networks devoted a whole two minutes to the recent UN Report on Global Warming. Not surprising when you discover that a large percentage of Americans believe that man was created a dozen thousand years ago and coexisted with dinosaurs. Mindblowing!

  • Bob:

    You say: “ There are those who refuse to believe that global warming of today is not man-made but is the result of some sort of natural occurrence yet undefined.”

    It appears that your use of a double negative makes the non-believers actual believers that global warming is man made.

    Pretty sloppy start……..and we’re to buy your opinions on the issue of global warming?

    • John Greenberg

      Right Peter.

      People with the best opinions never make typos.

  • Amanda Higgenbotham

    “People need to study the long history of the Earth. These true believers in climate change are only looking at the last 100 years. We’ve had billions of years of climate history in this world, and if you look at just the half billion of them, the most recent half billion, you will see that CO2 is lower now than it has been through most of the history of life on Earth, and so is the temperature.”

    Patrick Moore (One of the original founders of Greenpeace)

  • walter judge

    The sentence: “There are those who refuse to believe that global warming of today is not man-made” is obviously not what you intended to say. It contains a double negative. It makes no sense. Take out the word ” not.”

  • Don Peterson

    Its very hard to demonstrate that Vermont Wind Energy Projects do anything to mitigate global climate change, since they enable carbon emitters elsewhere to continue to do business.

    But no doubt if we yell “green energy” long enough, it will become true. Meanwhile, lets all fly off to Central America in our “green jet”.

  • Annette Smith

    Act 248 is a law related to mental health confinement. Utilities are regulated by Section 248.

    When the Dalai Lama was in Vermont he was asked about climate change. Here is the video, and my transcript of the question and his response (? appears when I am unsure of the word he meant. Everything below is the transcript, none of it is my words):

    Dalai Lama on Climate Change
    “What ethical principles should shape humanity’s response to climate change?”

    “I think climate change, to some extent, of course our behavior, our way of life… according to some scientists…so then we also get some sort of blame for that. But overall I think that nature sort of she’s changing. One location scientists said, they made a presentation. There are galaxies moving the direction which we are moving, and other galaxies same direction. So one day they clash. {he laughs} This beyond our control. Laughter, chuckling. Don’t worry. Billions of years after billions of years, don’t worry. {Laughter}

    Nature is on a trend now. And our sun, after several millions years the sun becomes hotter and hotter so they automatically, I think some sort of pictures or information about Mars, one time some river, some water, now completely dry. So eventually this planet also may become like that. These are not our responsibility.

    But I think one serious problem is firstly, I think the population increasing, population explosion. It’s a very very serious matter. And again it is too strict control like China, Chinese do, one child. That also has consequences. So that’s very difficult. Then on top of that the gap between rich and poor. Very serious matter. The poorer section of people don’t care about environment. Their life, poverty, so because of that fuel… very difficult to follow(?). So that I think, is a manmade problem. We have to reduce this gap rich and poor and I think American lifestyle, I think should practice a little more contentment [translator: little more simple].

    And remember, the same planet, other side, really a lot of poor people. Many people and especially children, undernourished. And starvation. And on top of that there is fighting in this area. Really, really man(?). Some nations spending lot of money for weapon. Completely neglect..the farms or these things. Very sad.

    So the younger people have a lot of work to do, lot of work to do. How many African students here? [a hand or two] African continent potentially, there is great potential, but you need work or effort with vision and more holistic way, I think.. I have been South Africa few occasion, then Nigeria, one occasion, then Gabon one time. In Gabon I got yes I got impression the elite trained France, French speaking, speaks French, or western style, just out of site… naked and poor people. Rich in country, leaders, elite people and masses, huge gap.

    I think they really need Mahatma Gandhi’s spirit. Live with people, lifestyle like people, then lead people to transform society.

    Of course this is not my duty. I have no right to criticize these things. Okay, next question.”

  • George Plumb

    Thanks for drawing the connection between green house gas emissions and population growth Bob. The hockey sticks are exactly the same.

    In the precedent setting “What is an Optimum/Sustainable Population for Vermont?” report ( there are sixteen indicators two of which are related to climate change, Green House Gas Emissions and Renewable Energy Production. The first says that a sustainable population is smaller than our current size and the second says we should stabilize at about 600,000.

    Unsustainable population growth is the cause of all of our environmental problems including water pollution, loss of forest cover, sprawl, the sixth great extinction, and the list goes on. Unfortunately, except for the Sierra Club and the Center for Biological Diversity the other environmental organizations don’t address the cause of our environmental problems.

    I disagree with you that Vermonters for a Clean Environment is an extremist organization just because they are against industrial wind. Annette Smith, the executive director, lives off the grid. How many of our environmental leaders can say that? She is all for renewable energy as long as it is doesn’t destroy the environment in the process.

  • Annette Smith

    “One could argue that Vermonters for Clean Environment, the organization of which he once held an executive position, could be viewed as extremists.”

    Bob Hartwell once served on VCE’s Board of Directors. By any definition I do not think that is accurately described as an “executive position”. He served as Secretary, without pay, and stepped down in mid-2011.

    Contrast that to Bob Stannard, who worked as a paid lobbyist for VCE on several issues, including a proposed natural gas power plant and pipeline project and Omya’s proposed open pit mine in Danby.

    It is rather amusing and a bit disturbing to now witness Bob S.’s obsession with VCE and his attempts to brand us as “extremists” when he had no problem working with us on issues very similar to the kind of work we continue to do now. Who we are, what we do, and how we do it have changed very little over the 15 years VCE has been working with Vermont communities. If anything, we are now less extreme than when Bob S. worked for us. During the time Bob H. served on VCE’s Board and since then, we have promoted collaboration rather than opposition. We are Vermonters working together to have a say in what goes on in our communities.
    “The act of labeling a person, group or action as extremist is sometimes claimed to be a technique to further a political goal—especially by governments seeking to defend the status quo, or political centrists.”

  • Mark Whitworth


    Bob Stannard doesn’t like the fact that Senator Hartwell thinks that human activity may not be the only cause of climate change. I guess that Mr. Stannard holds the correct, orthodox belief that human activity is the ONLY possible cause of climate change.

    It seems that in Stannard’s world there are only two positions: his position and the position of Rush Limbaugh. Since Senator Hartwell doesn’t hold with Stannard, the senator must be in league with Limbaugh.

    Mr. Stannard credits Senator Hartwell with concern about land use development, but then criticizes him for not understanding the regulatory process because Harwell points out that “Act 250 disallows development over 2,500 feet, yet wind developers get their projects OK’d. He knows, or should know, that utility projects do not come under Act 250. They are regulated by Act 248.”

    Not only does Mr. Stannard demonstrate his mastery of the subject by calling Section 248 by the wrong name, he misses Senator Hartwell’s point entirely. Hartwell’s point is that Section 248 allows energy projects to bypass the safeguards by which Act 250 has protected Vermont for decades.

  • Bob Stannard

    Thanks to all who picked up on my poor grammar/editing. Yes, I let a double negative slip by.

    I stand by the points I’ve made.

  • Matt Fisken

    I’ve tried very hard to see Bob Stannard’s perspective on the energy/climate issues, but this column is just plain awful.

    I read Sen. Hartwell’s full interview and it was clear to me that the Senator understands humans have had an impact on the environment/climate.

    Hartwell actually says, “the climate change thing is real. …man’s behavior just simply, probably, exacerbates it. That’s all I’m saying. To suggest that mankind [alone] is causing the whole climate to shift, that’s a big reach. …I don’t know what to think, to tell you the truth. ”

    Anyone with basic reading comprehension can see that what Robert Hartwell is doing is questioning whether the IPCC has everything figured out. NEWS FLASH: they don’t. He is simply questioning the mantra which Mr. Stannard believes is “obvious: that global warming of today is [only] manmade.” Bob Stannard tries to make it sound like Sen. Hartwell is saying, “global warming of today ins’t at all manmade.” That’s either bad reading or a very cheap shot. Hartwell is not 100% convinced and retains his open mind. That is entirely different than “not accept[ing] the work of 97% of the world’s scientiests who unanimously believe…”

    If you read the following page ( you will actually find that it says, “Ninety-seven percent of climate scientists agree that climate-warming trends over the past century are VERY LIKELY due to human activities. Greenhouse gases … are the PRIMARY driver” (emphasis added). This seems to jive with the point Sen. Hartwell makes, that it’s not just us. Sun activity, variations in the Earth’s orbit/orientation, volcanic activity, and animals which do not mine fossil fuels but do emit greenhouse gasses (to name a few) have and will always affect the atmosphere and climate. Let’s stop pretending that only advanced intelligent lifeforms can disrupt the climate.

    The folks who stand to profit the most from “solutions” to climate change will shamelessly claim that anyone who questions covering field after field with concrete, silicon, steel, aluminum and glass or blowing the tops off of pristine ridge lines is an “anti” or “denier.” That’s what greedy people do. They attack and belittle folks who stand in their way of making a buck. Let’s stop pretending that only advanced intelligent lifeforms can stabilize the climate.

    Bob Stannard uses a straw man attack on Senator Hartwell by saying he “demonstrates a lack of knowledge of the process by pointing out that Act 250 disallows development over 2,500 feet…” Hartwell knows how the process works and demonstrates it consistently. He is making the valid point that nearly all utility projects are built at an altitude of less than 2,500 feet, for which Section 248 is relatively appropriate and the few that are built above 2,500 feet should go through Section 248 AND Act 250. Stannard then suggests that a single Senator has the power to “change the law.” Good grief…

    Stannard concludes with, “If we follow Sen. Hartwell’s lead, then we can be assured that nothing of significance will ever happen to address the most significant issue facing the world today.”

    This is just spouting.

    Hartwell said, “I certainly believe that, in the aggregate, all around the world, there is something going on — that it’s changed things considerably and we oughta figure out constructive ways to deal with it, and I just don’t agree with all the ways we’re dealing with it.”

    While there is some ambiguity here, I think it’s very clear Senator Hartwell believes we should not be complacent and let the chips fall where they may.

    The way I read this (and I hope Senator Hartwell will correct me if I’m wrong) is:

    “I certainly believe that, in the aggregate, all around the world, there is something going on — that [human activity has] changed [the environment/climate] considerably and we oughta figure out constructive ways to deal with [our changed environment/climate], and I just don’t agree with all the ways we’re dealing with [our changed environment/climate].”

    Do some people believe the planet has NOT warmed in recent decades? Yes.
    Is Robert Hartwell one of them. Certainly not.

    Do most people believe humans have contributed to the warming trend? Yes.
    Is Robert Hartwell one of them. Certainly.

    Do some people believe that building as many “renewable” electricity power plants as possible regardless of location, community approval, or usefulness is a good idea, is the same as reducing carbon/GHG emissions, and follows John Greenberg’s oft-mentioned first rule of holes (stop digging)? They sure do.
    Is Robert Hartwell one of them? I think he’s made it 100% clear.

  • Coleman Dunnar

    Bob you state;
    …. 97 percent of the world’s scientists who unanimously believe the obvious: that global warming of today is manmade.
    Interesting neither I nor any of my colleagues who are currently working or have worked in the field have ever been asked to offer an opinion. Do you have a link you would be willing to provide to the actual survey which came up with the 97 number?
    Thanks for the link to the Hartwell interview. As suspected your piece here is a gross misrepresentation of his position. My read of it is he not anti-environment and has serious questions regarding the renewables any place and at any cost policies the current administration is pursuing.
    Kudos Sen. Hartwell for keeping an open mind and seeking well-reasoned solutions.

  • Vanessa Mills

    Mr Stannard continues to rabidly attack and marginalize other Vermonters. He tries constantly to drown out other Vermonters’ voices much in the same tone as VPIRG’s Paul Burns has, and as David Blittersdorf has done. What’s wrong with hearing them, sirs? In contrast, I’ll say thanks to the organizations and representatives who’ve worked to facilitate democracy and amplify voices (including mine!) of concerned Vermonters.

    Mr. Stannard would also appear here to be able to neatly box together a large number of people and then to neatly & narrowly describe how this Stannard-boxed group thinks and believes. He would try and have readers believe that EVERYONE who opposes Industrial-Scaled Wind opposes all modes and all applications of renewable energy. He is DEAD-WRONG on that count. But he’d like to drown out my voice too. I’m certain of that. (He’s probably champing at the bit to attack my post the moment he reads it. He’s done it before. With me and of others. He’s consistent, I’ll give him that.)

    And while I know there are people who oppose Big Wind AND subscribe to the belief that climate change is a hoax, I do not happen to be one of those who stands in BOTH camps there. I oppose Big Wind AND I believe climate change is not a complete hoax. I feel the factors and semantics are more complex than that. However, I respect the opinions & voices of those who do feel climate change is a hoax, or who subscribe to varying degrees and angles of this view. I know and have listened to some very intelligent and articulate people NOT tied to nuclear energy interests nor fossil-fuel (including natural gas) interests, who simply feel climate change is a hoax. They are respectable folks, entitled to respect in this democratic society and to their own opinions.

    Stannard would have in his Stannard-made box, a bulk, one-size-fits-all label that reads: Big Wind opposers are not environmentally literate (totally false, at best); are ALL subscribers to climate-change-as-hoax, are ALL wasteful and terrible losers; are ALL pro-nuke; are ALL pro-pipeline; are ALL not critical thinkers (?!?); are ALL incapable of wanting/effecting change. And let me further clarify, I’M NOT saying here that these are good OR bad things to be. I’M NOT saying these things are to even be grouped or are even true in their statement or grouping as such. And I’m not saying that agree. That’s not even my point. Further, one/some/any combination/none of these boxed beliefs might even be true of some (but not all) of Big Wind opposers.

    I’m merely saying that Mr. Stannard works VERY HARD to box it up neatly and attempt to snuff out and to marginalize voices. Democracy and civil assembly of varied voices can be messy and diffcult, if done truthfully. Why create divides? what does this accomplish in the end? Will we reach a solution faster that way? What choice do we have but to seek common ground and fast, Mr. Stannnard? Is your method accomplishing that?

    I see no good coming from methods of bullying and creating/widening of divides. We need to work with our fellow Vermonters, regardless of partisan leanings, class/status, etc. $humlin tried the tact of dividing Vermonters, back in 2012 and 2013. He dropped that hot potato and perhaps Stannard picked it up He and Paul Burns and a consistent few others rabidly ounce on anyone who opposes the things that comprise Industrial-Scaled , ill-sited development on fragile ecosystems, as I’ve seen it. WHY?

    I am not perfect. I am a consumer, too. I don’t take any planes rides to the Dominican Republic, or anywhere. Can’t afford too, actually, and it’s not part of my job nor lifestyle. I am guilty of consuming, but in my defense, I try to make flexible, informed choices about conserving car trips, line-drying my laundry, volunteering, buying smart, using my woodstove (ouch! I know! woodsmoke and particulate pollution! ouch!) but what I save on fuel costs– I’m slowly socking away for a downsized home, solar capability, and a compost toilet. I cannot afford a Prius, but I’m trying to be judicious about transportation and resource use. I re-use. I make-do. I do without, for an outcome I’ve got my mind/heart set on. I recycle. I make stuff. I “buy used.” I know a lot of folks who do and want to do their best where they can. I grow vegetables and am trying with a hard-working partner to slowly build a small-scale veggie farm business and link to like-minded local food folks. I’m actively pursuing incremental changes. I teach kids how to love nature and appreciate the environment , in my small way. Do I make mistakes? Yep. Do I get overwhelmed by a daunting picture sometimes? yes. Discouraged? Yes. Do I think we ought to look for similarities and common hopes in our fellow Vermonters. Definitely. Do I think it’s wiser and more effective to try and meet people where they are, rather than berate them for not thinking just alike? Do I think some effective solutions to the issues we face (be they climate-tied, economically-linked, environmentally-taxing, resource-exploiting, human-made, too-far-gone, daunting, outside-the-box, ETC) lie in smaller-scaled, sized-to-Vermont, sustainable and resilient choice-making for a long haul, and that a governing system in Vermont should protect the democratic process while accessing & aligning issues, missions, and actions with legislation? Yes.

    I truly believe that, Mr. Stannard.

  • Jamie Carter

    Bob, you acknowledge that 3% of the world’s scientist oppose the hypothesis that global warming is soley attributable to green house gases.

    Well, isn’t that enough? The scientific method is such that you propose a hypothesis and attempt to disprove it. If any single piece of data goes against your hypothesis then your hypothesis is wrong and must be thrown out and/or adjusted. Herein lies the major arguments of the pro-climate change folk. It isn’t a majority rule. Science dictates that if CO2 levels rise behind temperature rises then they can’t be the driving force. The number of scientists that agree or disagree is irrelevant.

    Point 2, not everyone opposes the alarmist based on the idea that humans haven’t caused global warming, many just don’t think it should be cause for alarm. Follow along with me here, IF the levels of CO2 have been higher in the past (and they have) THEN the earth has the natural capabability to maintain a level of homeostasis and regulate those levels.

    It’s not a question of if the globe is warming or if CO2 levels are too high, the proper questions are a.) what can we do about it realistically and 2.) why should we. The earth and life on it has existed for eons and they will continue whether the temperature is 1 degree warmer or not. Humans may not survive but many species have gone extinct, someday humans will too.

    • Paul Lorenzini

      Sorry ’bout yer beach house.
      move to the hill!

      • Paul Lorenzini

        I forgot to mention CO2 is plant food.

    • Bob Goldberg

      “Bob, you acknowledge that 3% of the world’s scientist oppose the hypothesis that global warming is soley attributable to green house gases. Well, isn’t that enough?”

      The answer would be no, when virtually everyone in a given field acknowledges the reality of a scientific theory, the onus is on the denier to make their case that virtually every credible expert is wrong.

      Your statement is like claiming that since a tiny number of oncologists believe smoking either does not increase the risk of certain cancers or that the accepted risk increase is overblown, this is enough to make us all doubt the veracity of the claim that smoking does significantly increase the risk of cancer.

    • John Greenberg

      Jamie Carter,

      Just for the record, saying that 97% of climate scientists agree does NOT imply that 3% do not. Here are the actual figures from one study: “We find that 66.4% of abstracts expressed no position on AGW, 32.6% endorsed AGW, 0.7% rejected AGW and 0.3% were uncertain about the cause of global warming. Among abstracts expressing a position on AGW, 97.1% endorsed the consensus position that humans are causing global warming. In a second phase of this study, we invited authors to rate their own papers. Compared to abstract ratings, a smaller percentage of self-rated papers expressed no position on AGW (35.5%). Among self-rated papers expressing a position on AGW, 97.2% endorsed the consensus. For both abstract ratings and authors’ self-ratings, the percentage of endorsements among papers expressing a position on AGW marginally increased over time. Our analysis indicates that the number of papers rejecting the consensus on AGW is a vanishingly small proportion of the published research.”

  • Patrice Maloney

    True believer, indeed…no facts, just demonizing as usual. There are countless articles and sites documenting the corruption within the IPCC, the scientific community participating with them, their peer review processes and funding sources, the missing, manipulated, and selective data used in the computer models (which are the only basis for the alarmists’ claims). If you’re getting your info from just Mediamatters and other democrat party mouthpieces, then you’re not getting the whole story. Here’s a start for you:

    • Bob Goldberg

      So, getting our information from any remotely credible scientific institution on the planet is a bad idea, but getting conspiracy theories from bloggers who act as Republican mouthpieces is a good idea. Got it.

      Does this only apply to climate science, or should the same be true for other areas?

      Here are a few examples:

      The “skewed” polls of 2012 that claimed Obama would be re-elected.

      Right wing fantasists who claim data showing just how poorly US healthcare measures up to our peer nations is somehow being faked.

      Recent claims that the number of sign-ups on new healthcare exchanges is being falsified.

      Does the whole “every credible expert is lying” conspiracy kick ever get old?

      • Patrice Maloney

        What gets old is the idea that these people are “experts” when every prediction they’ve made has been wrong. And what gets old is the idea that if you disagree, you should just shutup and let these so called “experts” continue to lie, take your money and tell you how to live. What gets old are liberal social programs that have had money poured into them for 50 years with no improvement in outcomes (war on poverty, war on drugs, etc.). It’s called insanity…doing the same thing over and over again, expecting a different result. For every problem the left invents or exploits, the answer is the same, more money and less freedom. As these programs grow and accumulate with the force of government protecting it’s cronyism and racketeering, it becomes tyranny. Intentionally fostering divisions by race, gender, religion, wealth, etc. As these programs grow and accumulate with the force of government behind it, it takes a tyrannical form — pandering to fear and vice, is a despicable approach designed to weaken the country, not enhance people’s social condition.

        • Bob Goldberg

          Every prediction they have made has not been wrong, that statement is disingenuous at best.

          I would say insanity is trusting in liars and con artists on the right who are treated as credible experts based on no evidence other than their ability to tell right wingers what they want to hear.

          As for “Intentionally fostering divisions”, it is not the left who claim 47% of Americans are lazy moochers because they do not pay income taxes. It is not the left who denigrates the poor as lazy moochers who can never be made to suffer enough for the crime of not being wealthy.

          You clearly feel very strongly that nearly every credible expert in the field of climatology is involved in a decades long conspiracy, the problem is you have no credible evidence to support this conclusion.

          I suggest coming back when you do.

  • Pete Novick

    In a course called Modern Economic Thought, the professor had on the reading list a book that profoundly altered my conventional (to say nothing of convenient) way of thinking about economics. This was 1974, and the book was, Small is Beautiful: A Study of Economics As If People Mattered, by E.F. Schumacher (1973).

    Schumacher was well known in his field, having studied under Leopold Kohr and worked with John Maynard Keynes, Robert Heilbroner, and John Kenneth Galbraith.

    In a nutshell, Schumacher debunks the whole of neo-classical economic reasoning – most importantly the idea of economic output as the most important measure of progress. He favored, as the subtitle of his book suggests, a more people-centered economics which was not based entirely on production of goods and services.

    Schumacher was no utopian dreamer: the essays in his book, while not as fundamental to the science of economics as Keynes writings were, have a compelling attraction. (In fairness to Keynes, he wrote the best explanation and analysis of price theory ever. Even Milton Friedman gave up trying to refute it!)

    Can we get there? I’m afraid not. The world’s economy, based on extraction and production, shows no signs of slowing down. We may slow the rate of growth of emissions to the atmosphere, but not the net increase in total emissions year-on-year.

    Interestingly, Heilbroner, in a book he published a few years before he died in 2005 (it was titled 21st Century Capitalism), invokes some of Schumacher’s arguments, though in the end, he asserts that economic arrangements and their political counterparts will become more authoritarian. He got that right.

    Welcome to the future. I am waiting for the first emerald ash borer to show up on this beautiful South Newfane hillside I call home. It won’t be long now.

  • Paul Lorenzini

    Do you believe it will be a man who brought the beetle, or maybe a bird, or mother nature herself?

    I just wonder.

    who or what to blame?

    Doubtful the beetle will crawl there, kind of like Al Gore, he will go with whoever flies him there.

    and always blame someone else, in order to be a hero, or at the least to bloviate at heroic proportions!

    man, is not our friend, it is us, man, woman, black white, hot or cold, day or night.

    Mother nature made us, right?

    Maybe it was the Father.

    Maybe we are just a bunch of atoms responding to stimuli.

    Maybe we don’t know what the hang it all is.

    That is the most likely scenario, in my mind.

    Welcome to the what?

    Life is a circle, round and round it goes.

    Olympics of life.

  • The fact that BS is a lobbyist, someone who pushes agendas and ideologies, gives me pause. Global warming or no Global Warming, BS is, once again, pushing an agenda.

    With all the info available to us today, if you look at just one side of the story, well, you’ve only looked at one side.

    There is another group of Scientist who are sick of the fear mongering around this subject. They are organizing and putting their data together for presentation. We should be hearing more and more from them (non-government council on climate change) and they intend to clearly show the fault of the IPCC and their so called ‘scientist’.

    Considering that Al Gore’s fear mongering and predictions of “no polar caps left and snowless winters” (Gore’s prediction made around 2006 – 07) by 2013 have been debunked is one clear indicator that there is something fishy about this whole concept. Also, when people started seeing the outcomes of the predictions they (IPCC) changed narratives. The IPCC changed the term “Global Warming” to “Climate Change”, a term coined for purposes of use that would give them something to point [t]heir finger at to say, “see, the climate is changing, bigger storms and drought and floods”, which gives the fear mongering something new, frequently, to support bogus claims. [T]heir data and predictions are not coming to fruition.

    What I, and many others should be aware of is, the practice by the DoD (department of defense) of spraying (geoengineering/chemtrails) nano particles into our atmosphere to manipulate the weather. This is much more concerning than CO2. Spraying nano particles of aluminum, strontium and barium into our atmosphere can make it rain or make it not rain. It (spraying) can make it snow or it can make it not snow. It can also be used to make it dry by the spraying of chems to disperse clouds. This has been going on since the Viet Nam war where this practice was used to thwart the NVA by flooding rivers and taking out bridges along the Ho Chi Men trail. I know, I was there. Keep an eye on the sky this summer. If you watch you will see these trails across our skies. No, they are not “comtrails” they are “chemtrails” running from horizon to horizon.

    • Jason wells

      For those that will say geoengineering is a conspiracy our friends in the govt have been doing it successfully for close to 40 years.

      • Annette Smith

        Last Sunday (Easter) I was driving back from Poultney listening to Vermont Public Radio and “The Eye in the Sky” came on. The meteorologist talked about the clear blue sky and he said the only clouds were in southern Quebec. I had my camera with me so I took photographs of the sky all along the trip from Poultney to Tinmouth. You can see them here:–hwE. (I took similar photos on Friday, April 25).

        When I got home I posted them on the Facebook page of “The Eye on the Sky” and asked “what is it?” No response. There have been subsequent Facebook posts but nobody has responded to the question. I looked at the airplane activity, there are several websites, and there were no “official” flights over this area of Vermont during the time I was photographing or for hours before or after.

        Some people want to argue about whether or not geoengineering is taking place, and claim that what I photographed on that beautiful clear blue sky Easter Sunday is normal airplane contrail activity. I contacted one meteorologist in 2011 after photographing similar “clouds” in the sky, and he wrote, “The clouds formations in the pictures that you sent to the station are cirrus clouds, generated by air plane contrails. If the atmosphere is very dry at the level where the plane is traveling, the contrail will often dissipate. However, if moisture is available, the cirrus cloud generated by the contrail will maintain itself and gradually expand. Simple as that.”

        In one sense I don’t care what it’s from, it is air pollution and it’s a problem. As someone who relies on solar power, I will note that this activity, whatever its cause, is resulting in dimming the sun. The BBC did a documentary in 2012 about the phenomenon (it does not mention geoengineering)

        One assumption based on that documentary appears to be that if “we” (governments? private industry?) allow the planet to behave “naturally”, unless humans get involved to inhibit the sun’s impact on the planet, global warming will take off so it is necessary to spray substances that reflect back the sun’s rays.

        Geoengineering proponent David Keith of Harvard talks about the “potential” in this Ted talk from 2007:

        Others counter that the chemicals are now being sprayed without our consent and are actually trapping the warming and increasing climate change at a much faster rate than would otherwise occur.

        Yet another assumption is that the spraying of toxic chemicals is intended by the global elite to sicken and depopulate the planet.

        Readers may observe that this is not a discussion taking place in mainstream media. As noted above, meteorologists either give a pat answer that it is a natural phenomenon of airplane activity (something we never saw as kids growing up) or they do not respond.

        All you have to do is look up on a day that is supposed to have a clear blue sky and notice that something is happening to our atmosphere. It is widespread throughout the globe, and we are not talking about it. There have been demonstrations against geoengineering, there are movies on youtube (What, Why and Who in the World Are They Spraying On Us), websites on geoengineering, but for some reason we as a population are not supposed to discuss it lest we be labelled as wackos, members of the tin hat society or, yes, “extremists”.

        Missing from the discussions about CO2 emissions and climate change are the larger issues about the elite, the less than 1% who are keeping us in the dark, literally and figuratively, while keeping us hooked on fossil fuels and making sure all new technologies that would free us from fossil fuels never make it to market. Ask yourself why we are using energy technologies developed 100 years ago when there have been huge technological breakthroughs in other areas.

        In many ways, the focus on CO2 emissions is part of the problem, as it deflects us from talking about the bigger problems our planet is facing, as the economic forces coalesce to enrich themselves through fossil fuel extraction and promoting war at the expense of humanity and our planet.

        The good news is that we can get beyond fighting about nuclear power, wind turbines and solar panels, and yes, have more fun and laugh more, if we focus our energies on exposing and toppling the fossil fuel oligarchs and building a new, peaceful society. We are in a time of great transition, which can happen quickly and go either way at this point. I side with peace.

  • Wendy Rae Woods-Hartwell

    An Invitation to Mr. Bob Stannard

    In the interest of full disclosure I am expressing the following as the wife of Senator Bob Hartwell – D, Bennington County District.

    I’d like to respond to “Bob Stannard: True Believer”. First, I’d like to say I think I understand your interest in the issue of climate change and advocacy in the stewardship of our environment. I know you may have cared about specific issues and brazenly expressed your thoughts when you were a paid lobbyist. I do know you were once a state legislator under the guise of being a Republican and then one under the guise of being a Democrat…will the real Bob Stannard please stand. Ah, but we can equivocate. We are human, after all.

    As a former student of environmental science and one who has intensely followed the issue for several decades I can claim with some authority that climate change is the result of several complex drivers such as natural phenomena, cyclical weather patterns (both cause and effect) and which is of course exacerbated further by human behavior. The dramatic changes experienced over the past century are credible and influenced most by human behavior.

    It is gratifying that you make the correlation between population growth and climate change. The deforestation that has occurred since we began our agrarian culture several thousands of years ago exploded in the past two centuries and would appear to have contributed heavily to climate change. We now have seven billion+ people to feed, clothe and house and one of the carbon sinks – the forest – is in dire jeopardy because of the rising population and ensuing development.

    It is also important to note CO2 levels have been extremely high in the earth’s history before without the influence of billions of people and industry in the developed world. This fact presents a conundrum for some thoughtful people. We are human and not infallible and to put all our confidence in the IPCC’s report would not be wise in the absence of consideration of other scientific research.

    Mr. Stannard, we have to destroy trees to install wind turbines on mountain ridges. I believe this is a concern of Senator Hartwell’s and that of the efficacy of this particular form of renewable energy. The whole process of managing climate change and its green response is complex; purchasing credits that enable carbon belchers to still exist, mining elements to produce green industry equipment components and transporting them from afar, human and non-human impacts caught up in the industry…the list is long and locally includes the efforts of one, Mr./Senator Bob Hartwell and his passion for being a steward of Vermont’s environment. The Senator and I like to examine all of these factors to reach an understanding that will inform how we live our lives and which will allow the Senator to make intelligent thoughtful decisions on behalf of and for the people of Vermont.

    What I don’t understand is your vivid resentment and what I might consider open hostility toward Senator Bob Hartwell. I remember when he was a person of interest to you during the “Death with Dignity” debate. How many times did you call in the hope I would influence the good Senator’s vote? You even threatened to run against him if he didn’t vote YOUR way. I had a silent chuckle over that and thought, there goes Bob Stannard again with his in-your-face-badgering act. I think I laughed and told you I’d run against him. Despite the seriousness of the issue under discussion I was joking about being a candidate. In hindsight I am not so certain of what your intent was then and is today.

    You have chosen to attack Vermonters for a Clean Environment, a highly respected environmental organization dedicated to clean water, clean air and responses to the climate challenge including very constructive critique of wind energy development and the destruction of forests needed in the response to climate change.

    You foolishly ramble on to mischaracterize the Senator’s earlier service on VCE’s board. Senator Hartwell also served for three terms as a member of the Vermont Land Trust Board of Trustees and ten years on the Bennington County Regional Commission, six as Chair and as chair for the New England Association of Regional Commissions. The Senator was on the Town of Dorset Planning Commission for six years, three as chair. Do you see a pattern here? I don’t want to throw caution to the wind so I will help you: Senator Hartwell is a man of great integrity and one who has spent a good part of his life caring for the environment – our environment and those of us who inhabit it.

    It is disingenuous of you to align the Senator with the extreme right wing lobby. You keep repeating this as if it were your own mantra. If you say anything enough times you will come to believe it. Mr. Stannard, I think you have convinced yourself of this untruth.

    The strategy of repeating a statement is an effective marketing tactic and can be used to enhance or destroy. Perhaps you are attempting to influence what others believe about the Senator and his view on policies especially energy policies. To what end I can only speculate. Mr. Stannard, I wonder if you really care about the environment or care more about yourself.

    There is much to the altruism of Bob Hartwell’s life but nowhere is there any evidence of such devotion to duty and the public good on the part of you, Mr. Stannard.

    For your own edification I would invite you to have a conversation with and learn for yourself who Senator Bob Hartwell is and what he believes before you continue to espouse and broadcast the fallacies as stated in your “True Believer” article which was originally published in the Bennington Banner. I’d hate to see you embarrass yourself further.

  • Linda Wysocki

    Read this article this morning….different perspective…follow the money trail and make your own conclusion.

  • Bob:

    You have shown with this commentary, a preference to work as a pilot fish feeding off of the crumbs originating from Seven Days and Paul Heintz writings.

    With this in mind and your obsession with Koch brothers money, you may want to look into and opine on Paul Heintz comments made in this week’s Seven Days in which he relates to a recent Governor Shumlin episode and his foggy memory problems when it comes to tax policy on tobacco products and electronic cigarettes, lobbyists and political contributions.

    For those who may have missed the Heintz comments in the April 25th Seven Days, here’s a summary.

    At a recent press conference, Gov. Shumlin was asked about a House proposed tax on tobacco products and electronic cigarettes. The Governor didn’t think much of the proposed tax.

    Instead, he elected to argue about the potential health benefits of electronic cigarettes, a position not widely accepted by the public health community including his own health department.

    The Gov was then asked if he had discussed the matter with any lobbyists, to which he replied: “ No. Not that I can recall.”

    The gov then stopped and clarified: “ I have not met with any lobbyist in Vermont on this subject. We did have an education presentation on e-cigarettes at something I was at about how they’re made, what’s in ‘em, who sells ‘em. But I have not met with any lobbyists on this tax question in Vermont.”

    So cut to the chase, it turns out that the presentation the Gov was referring to was made at a February Democratic Governor’s Association (DGA) breakfast held in Washington , DC. We will all recall that Shumlin is chairman of the DGA.

    The presentation was made by Reynolds America, Inc, the second largest tobacco company in the U.S.

    The DGA didn’t respond to how the second largest tobacco company in the country got an audience with the nation’s Democratic governors.

    However, it turns out that two days after the education presentation, Reynolds made a $15,000 contribution to the DGA. In total Reynolds has given the DGA $116,000 in the first quarter of this year while Altria, an e-cigarette marketer gave $25,000. Last year during Shumlin’s first term as chair of the DGA, Reynolds and Altria each gave the DGA $125,000. The DGA spreads these contributions around the country to Democratic politicians like Shumlin, who individually benefit.

    So, now we see how Governor Shumlin goes about deciding what and how taxes are to be levied in Vermont and who is to pay or not pay them.

    Seems that this Shumlin/tax issue coming out of Seven Days and Paul Heintz is much more troublesome than Senator Hartwell’s honest portrayal of his legitimate issues with the complexities of global warming. Issues that gave Bob such a case of global warming heartburn in the first place.

    So now Bob, can we expect you to look into this matter and explain the difference between Koch brothers money and big tobacco money along with the Governor’s foggy memory problems when it comes his own role in collecting such booty?

    • Bob Stannard

      Well, as usual Peter, you’re way off topic on my column. I was speaking to the similarity of the rise of the population and the rise of CO2 over the past 100 years. The Koch brothers are, indeed, working very hard to convince us that climate change is not man-made, but instead just the natural progression of things. This was the same position espoused by Sen. Hartwell.

      You’re completely within your rights to go off on the tobacco issue, but I don’t see the link to my column.

      • Bob:

        You just don’t get it.

        The Paul Heintz article and my comments weren’t about tobacco. They were about a Governor that that has a difficult time being forthright with the people of Vermont. A Governor you insist of continually defending while attacking others undeserving of your venom, thus making my comments very appropriate at the time of your attack on Senator Hartwell.

        • Bob Stannard

          I do get it, Peter. The governor had nothing to do with my column. My column was a reaction to the interview Sen. Hartwell did with Seven Days.

          You’re the one making it about the governor; as you always do.

  • Lance Hagen

    Interest read from Dr. Richard Tol on the workings of the IPCC. Dr. Tol was a lead writer for one of the sections of the IPCC report (AR5) but stepped down because he became frustrated with the drafting of the Summary for Policy Makers (SMP), which is the only part that politicians and the media read.

    The part I like best:

    “The SPM, drafted by the scholars of the IPCC, is rewritten by delegates of the governments of the world, in this case in a week-long session in Yokohama. Some of these delegates are scholars, others are not. The Irish delegate, for instance, thinks that unmitigated climate change would put us on a highway to hell, referring, I believe, to an AC/DC song rather than a learned paper.
    Other delegations have a political agenda too. The international climate negotiations of 2013 in Warsaw concluded that poor countries might be entitled to compensation for the impacts of climate change. It stands to reason that the IPCC would be asked to assess the size of those impacts and hence the compensation package. This led to an undignified bidding war among delegations – my country is more vulnerable than yours – that descended into farce when landlocked countries vigorously protested that they too would suffer from sea level rise.”


    “The IPCC should therefore be taken out of the hands of the climate bureaucracy and transferred to the academic authorities”

    And who was it that claimed that the IPCC was not a political organization?

  • Avram Patt

    Well it’s his style and Bob Stannard knows how to give people a poke and get a response! What is amazing to me though, watching these comments pile up, is how misinformed so many are, about the basic facts and about what Bob is saying specifically.

    About the scientific community’s near consensus on the causes of climate change:

    This consensus has existed well before the recent IPCC report. It is based on study debate and discussion among national and international associations of numerous scientific disciplines. Looking at any of these numerous papers, one sees that they are put together not by politicians but by scientists who are reluctant to say anything beyond what they are absolutely sure of, which is what scientists and researchers are supposed to. They come to conclusions which range from dramatic and alarming to carefully worded conservative assessments, often depending on the scientific discipline.

    The scientific community has not concluded that climate change is entirely caused by human activity. They know better than most that the earth’s climate has gone through cycles both relatively short and very long. They also conclude however, that human activity is clearly contributing to and increasing the rate of change, and that the impact of human activity is now clearly measurable and visable. The effect is not just in temperature, which will vary from year to year. The effect is seen in the volatility and frequency of severe and damaging weather, changing patterns, threatened coastal regions, rising sea levels, changing flora and fauna habitat, etc.

    I have been monitoring this article for several years. It has been posted and edited and added to over time and long before the IPCC report. It lists pretty much every international scientific association, their processes and conclusions over time. You will see that the scientists overwhelmingly agree that human activity continues to be an increasing driver in climate change, even as there is not full agreement on the degree. The article does list groups that have dissented as well (not a whole lot to be sure). This is probably the best single source if you actually want to read what has been said over the years, rather than third or fourth hand:

    Also, NASA has an opinion on the matter:

    One of the most disturbing things repeated in some comments, including from Sen. Hartwell is the throwaway line that goes something like: Vermont is so small and China is so big; what difference does it make what we do?

    We do what we can do. It sets an example, as Vermont has done in the past on all sorts of issues, including in the area of energy efficiency.

    As for Senator Hartwell, the link in Stannard’s article goes to Peter Heintz’s full transcript of the initial conversation, not just the part published in Seven Days initially. He did in fact say much of what he says he didn’t say in his retraction. For him to disparage years of scientific debate and painfully hammered out conclusions across all relevant disciplines, while at the same time saying “I just don’t know” feels more like someone saying “I don’t want to know.”

    I don’t live in Bennington County and have no say in who the voters there send to represent them in the Senate. There are plenty of elected officials from all parts of Vermont that I disagree with on one issue or another. I do think it’s an embarrassment however, that he has been chosen by his colleagues to chair the committee at this stage in the game.

    • Lance Hagen

      Avram, I agree with your statement that “They [being climate scientist] also conclude however, that human activity is clearly contributing to and increasing the rate of change”. The science here is solid.

      But the real question isn’t whether human activity is contributing to global warming or climate change, but by how much is it contributing. Is it the primary cause, as assumed by the IPCC, or is it a second or third order driving force. With the fact that the existing climate models, on which IPCC relies, are NOT matching the actual global temperature, surly places the IPCC assumption, that human activity is the primary drive force, in question.

      As for this so called ‘consensus’, one question that is never asked of all these ‘consenting’ scientist is, how significant, in a measurable scale, is human activity contributing to climate change. Also this consensus in among ‘climate scientists’ and not just scientists. Climate scientists depend on climate change being a crisis. It increase their chances for further grant and research $, on which they depend to exist. I know, since I have worked in this arena.

      As for you statement of “impact of human activity is now clearly measurable and visible. The effect is not just in temperature, which will vary from year to year. The effect is seen in the volatility and frequency of severe and damaging weather”, I have yet to see a technical paper that actually shows any correlation of empirical data on severe weather events to climate changes. As far as I can see, this connection is a pure scare tactic.

      So, I do think Senator Hartwell’s open minded position is very admirable and his chairing of the Senate Natural Resources Committee is appropriate. I would rather see a person with an open mind, willing to ask hard questions, versus some close minded ‘yes’ man.

      • Lance:

        You got it right on Senator Hartwell and all the rest.

        Beyond your words, we have to admire the Senator’s humbleness in admitting that he does not have all the answers to what is going on with climate change or man’s role in the issue. He thus wants to proceed cautiously, which is rational and fully appropriate.

        If more politicians and others in Montpelier were as honest, we would be much more efficient in solving the myriad of problems facing the state. Instead we waste millions because of people driven by ego and/or agenda versus sound knowledge and planning.

        Senator Hartwell’s criticism of the renewable energy developers and Vermont’s lack of appropriate development rules is warranted and shared by Vermonter’s across the state. Raising these concerns makes Senator Hartwell a stronger leader for the people of Vermont. Granted, the renewable energy developer’s and others with vested financial interests take exception to Hartwell’s thinking and complain bitterly, which is to be expected but not accepted.

        Vermont is much better off having a Chairman of the Natural Resources Committee with character, critical thinking skills and the ability to inspire honest debate rather than a lap dog doing the bidding of those motivated by their own financial interests. A point, among many others, that has escaped Bob Stannard in his commentary.

      • Paul Richards

        I agree. There is another, perhaps more important aspect to consider in all of this; the track record of our government. Is it any wonder people have doubts about what they say about the cause and effect of man on the environment? Especially given what is at stake which is nothing short of total worldwide redistribution of property and a loss of America’s sovereignty?
        Like a crack addict, they certainly have motive given their appetite for our tax dollars due to their total failure to manage what they already have. It’s like turning your child over to a drug addict without question. Don’t be so surprised that people are questioning this report.

  • John Greenberg

    Lance Hagen writes: “… I have yet to see a technical paper that actually shows any correlation of empirical data on severe weather events to climate changes. ”

    Lance didn’t look very hard. Here are some papers, all in peer-reviewed scientific publications:

    –“Anthropogenic greenhouse gas contribution to flood risk in England and Wales in autumn 2000”

    — “Human contribution to more-intense precipitation extremes” (” Here we show that human-induced increases in greenhouse gases have contributed to the observed intensification of heavy precipitation events found over approximately two-thirds of data-covered parts of Northern Hemisphere land areas. “)
    — “Anthropogenic Influence on Long Return Period Daily Temperature Extremes at Regional Scales” (“it is concluded that the influence of anthropogenic forcing has had a detectable influence on extreme temperatures that have impacts on human society and natural systems at global and regional scales. External influence is estimated to have resulted in large changes in the likelihood of extreme annual maximum and minimum daily temperatures”)

    — “A decade of weather extremes” (” Here, we review the evidence and argue that for some types of extreme — notably heatwaves, but also precipitation extremes — there is now strong evidence linking specific events or an increase in their numbers to the human influence on climate. For other types of extreme, such as storms, the available evidence is less conclusive, but based on observed trends and basic physical concepts it is nevertheless plausible to expect an increase….”)

    There are many more.

  • Lance Hagen

    Actually John, I have read 2 of your referenced papers. The information they show were derived from ‘model simulations’. I stated ‘empirical data’. There is a difference. There are many papers out there that rely on ‘model simulations’ to make their case, but fail the acid test when it comes to real data.

    Just as a side note, the paper that deals with the periodicity of maximum and minimum temperatures appears to be an effort to take existing data and establish set of model parameters, such that the model fits the existing data. But this is building a model and forcing correlation. But the real proof is whether this model can accurately predict future periodicity of max/min temperatures.

    They did the exact same thing to establish the model parameters for the relationship between greenhouse gases and global temperature. And as can be seen today, these models have failed to predict global temperature for the level of greenhouse gases that exist. Actual temperatures today are at or outside the 95% confidence limits predicted by the models.

  • Thanks to the prudence and discernment shown by Senator Hartwell, VT is currently the only state with a “no-fee opt out” of wireless “smart” meters. He recognized the technology for the boondoggle it is, as evidenced by countless pilot studies and deployments across the country that show no energy savings, no customer savings, but huge incentives for industry. (Not to mention serious health, privacy, safety and economic issues.)

    Just because someone shrieks “green”, doesn’t mean that it is. And shrieking “green” should not be synonymous with a no holds barred, anything goes, senseless approach to dealing with climate change, whatever the source.
    Look at the fallout from fracking with methane gas and toxic pollutants, and the beef industry’s similar contribution, not to mention the bank-breaking subsidies and destruction caused by wind turbines.
    We need more Senators like Bob Hartwell.

  • Before betting the farm on the objectivity of output from the global warming scientific community, everyone should read about some of the pickles the IPCC is in and what a prominent global warming scientist had to say.

    Below is what Dr. Steven Schneider, a prominent global warming scientist and Professor of Environmental Biology and Global Warming Change at Stanford University had to say:

    “We’d like to see the world a better place, which in this context translates into our working to reduce the risk of potentially disastrous climatic change. To do that we need to get some broad based support, to capture the public’s imagination. That, of course, entails getting loads of media coverage. So we have to offer up scary scenarios, make simplified, dramatic statements, and make little mention of any doubts we might have. This ‘double ethical bind’ we frequently find ourselves in cannot be solved by any formula. Each of us has to decide what the right balance is between being effective and being honest.”

    Ah, very nice Dr. Schneider! Let’s dynamite some mountain tops and build giant wind turbines or how about lining our road ways with industrial solar panels.

    Based on this alone, everyone should proceed with caution in dealing with global warming data and pronouncements, including those in state government making decisions that impact individuals and local communities.

    For the rest go to: (

    • John Greenberg


      You are misusing your own source. Schneider’s message (as you quote it) is the precise opposite of yours. His: “We’d like to see the world a better place, which in this context translates into our working to reduce the risk of potentially disastrous climatic change.” Yours: “…everyone should proceed with caution in dealing with global warming data ….”

      Scientists are, just like you and me, human beings, subjects to all the imperfections that implies. And the IPCC, likewise, is one of many organizations of scientists presenting the same message: climate change is real, anthropogenic, and requires immediate attention. But if it didn’t exist, there are still tens of thousands of individual scientists trying to tell us the same thing.

      The idea that they’re ALL wrong – with only “a vanishingly small proportion of the published research” ( contradicting their message – is a bit hard to fathom, given that our entire culture depends on scientific work. If you lived in a cave without any of the benefits that scientific technology has brought us, your message would at least be consistent with your lifestyle. Enjoying all the benefits of modern technological culture and then badmouthing those who bring them to you seems, how to put it, ungenerous at best.

  • walter moses

    “there’s something happening here, what it is ain’t exactly clear” but Peter Yankowski almost hit on it and Bob S denied it immediately. Let’s see:
    1. Shumlin’s polls are taking a hit.
    2. Shumlin is a great believer in renewable energy.
    3. Shumlin loves big industrial wind to the extent that he calls them to say goodnight.
    4. You don’t mess with Shumlin.
    Now, did Bob say that VCE could be considered an extremist organization? Are you sane, man?

    Now I got it. I can play the piano. I will play a waltz, And Stannard can dance with Shumlin!

    Did I forget Shumlin’s love affair with GMP?
    Play it again, Sam.

  • John:

    You got my point about caution right, but ignored the significance Schneider’s statement and the damage it does to the credibly of the global warming community’s scientific effort.

    Read the Schneider quote again, to see the most important part that affects whether or not we are to believe what we from the global warming scientists.

    Specifically Schneider stated:

    “So we have to offer up scary scenarios, make simplified, dramatic statements, and make little mention of any doubts we might have. This ‘double ethical bind’ we frequently find ourselves in cannot be solved by any formula. Each of us has to decide what the right balance is between being effective and being honest.”

    Pretty troubling wouldn’t you say?

    Seems like cheating a few percentage points with the research was okay with Schneider as long as it advanced the agenda. The problem is that changes of 0ne or two percentage points is what defines global climate change.

    Schneider’s words and implicit message combined with examples of research cheating by the global warming scientists and repeated and broad based failures with climate models should cause pause and a need to proceed with caution.

    • John Greenberg

      First, Peter, you completely misrepresent the situation presented by Schneider’s statements: “Seems like cheating a few percentage points with the research was okay with Schneider as long as it advanced the agenda?”

      Cheating on data is NOT the same as offering “scary scenarios. It is not even close to Schneider’s making “simplified, dramatic statements,” nor is it in any way making “little mention of any doubts we might have.” What it is, not to put too fine a point on it, is scientific fraud. When Schneider talks about his bind, he is NOT saying that he’s a scientific crook or that anyone else is. So let’s be clear. You’re accusing Schneider (and through him others) of fraudulent misrepresentation of scientific data. Schneider is accusing himself (and others) of sometimes overdramatizing possible impacts to make a point.

      What Schneider is saying is troubling, but not for the reasons you offer. To understand why, we need to back up a step.

      Those with trillions of dollars at stake – literally – have every reason to belittle the effects of climate change, since doing anything about them would threaten their assets and their business model. And they have acted accordingly. This is not just my ‘guess.” There is a great deal of publicly available data now on how the oil companies, the Kochs (oil money), the coal companies and others have invested millions of dollars in misrepresenting the causes, effects, and meaning of climate change to confuse the public and to defeat any politicians who might consider taking action about it.

      Senator Hartwell’s comments in the extended 7 Days interview show precisely how effectively this campaign has worked. As I pointed out in a comment there, the scientific community is quite clear on the anthropogenic nature of climate change, but Senator Hartwell is either unfamiliar with that fact or unwilling to acknowledge it. Yet he is a leading public official in Vermont on this issue.

      There is no need any more to promote “climate denial” if the waters are just murky enough to justify precisely the kind of approach you’re advocating: go slow. Do nothing. THAT, in fact, is precisely what these interests require, because it allows them to keep drilling and pumping, and to keep reaping profits.

      Schneider’s comments, in effect, come to this. To overcome the barrage of distortions presented by these economically motivated forces, some scientists have been tempted to overdramatize what they know and where their conclusions lead them. They understand, as apparently you do not, that if we wait until we are absolutely certain beyond any “reasonable doubt,” to use the legal phrase, that x amount of greenhouse gases will produce y effect, then we will have waited too long to actually do anything about it. So they might understate their degree of doubt.

      The next time your house is on fire, I suggest you wait until it burns down before calling the fire department. After all, there’s no certainty the fire will spread. It may go out all by itself. Fires have been known to do that. And we certainly wouldn’t want to invest resources in preventing what might be overwhelmingly probable, but may never happen. And of course, fires have been happening for centuries, so why blame man for them?

      So, is Schneider’s acknowledgement that, in the face of a burning house, some scientists may “overdramatize” troubling? Yes. But it is nowhere near as troubling as your efforts to belittle or misrepresent the science while continuing to enjoy all of the fruits that scientific and technological work has brought us.

      • John:

        Your avalanche of words cannot bury the simple fact that serious credibility issues exist with the scientific community working on global warming that touch on both method and basic honesty.

        All I have been saying is that when questions linger, caution should be exercised before acting.

        If you think that caution isn’t prudent in the face of serious uncertainties, then we’ll know what separates our thinking.

        • John Greenberg


          Clever phrase “avalanche of words,” but it works both ways. So let’s make it simple enough for you to understand.

          Yankowski: “when questions linger, caution should be exercised before acting..” The conclusion reached by polling thousands of earth scientists: “ … the role played by human activity is largely nonexistent among those who understand the nuances and scientific basis of long-term climate processes. The challenge, rather, appears to be how to effectively communicate this fact to policy makers and to a public that continues to mistakenly perceive debate among scientists” The public just mentioned clearly includes you, Peter.

          Yankowski: “If you think that caution isn’t prudent in the face of serious uncertainties….” A survey of tens of thousands of scientific abstracts over 20 years: “Our analysis indicates that the number of papers rejecting the consensus on AGW is a vanishingly small proportion of the published research.” There are no “serious uncertainties” in the areas you think you have found them, any more than there is “serious uncertainty” over whether the planet is flat or not. Again, the uncertainty is in your mind, but not in those of the scientists who work on this issue professionally.

          • John:

            We now know that I’m for caution and you’re not.

            It’s probably safe to say that when your grade school teachers taught : “Measure twice, cut once”, you thought she was some kind of conservative ideologue to be leery of and reported to the NEA.

            Being cautious doesn’t mean doing nothing….it means be careful of what you do and how you do it.

            The Lowell Mountain wind project is a good example of the consequences of not taking proper precautions before acting.

          • John Greenberg


            “We now know that I’m for caution and you’re not.” I’m sorry, but “caution” is not really what we’re discussing here. You’ve flagrantly misrepresented climate science (and the words of one scientist in particular) in order to urge “caution” about remedies for global warming. That’s not prudence; it’s intellectual fraud, which I’ve elaborated in some detail above.

            As to the old saw, the version I learned (in carpentry class, not elementary school) was “measure twice and cut once,” not “measure twice and then impose a multi-year moratorium.”

            Looking at the Lowell Mountain project, since you raise it as an example, I see no evidence of “not taking proper precautions before acting.” As I have written before, looking at the Board’s detailed decision, I also see that most of the issues raised by opponents WERE, in fact, carefully considered by the Board before the permit was granted. Others, like capacity factor, will be considered in due course (during a rate case). Opponents dislike the Board’s decision(s). That’s their prerogative.

            I have never been involved in any way in the Lowell project, and it isn’t my place to defend it here. I HAVE defended and continue to defend the process itself, because it’s relevant not only to the past but to all future projects, and because it’s been misrepresented by you and others.

            If you want to characterize my defense as a disagreement over “caution,” suit yourself.

      • Paul Richards

        You say; “There is a great deal of publicly available data now on how the oil companies, the Kochs (oil money), the coal companies and others have invested millions of dollars in misrepresenting the causes, effects, and meaning of climate change to confuse the public and to defeat any politicians who might consider taking action about it.”
        This is no different than what george soros is doing for the other side except he has a LOT more money and therefore has a much wider influence. He stands to make Billions more from manipulating the energy markets. This man also wants to fundamentally transform America. Sound familiar?

        • John Greenberg

          Paul Richards,

          You need to do some homework. You’re comparing a flea to an elephant.

          George Soros is worth $23 billion, according to Forbes, and he makes money in all sorts of ways: his financial fate is not dependent on the direction of the energy markets. Also according to Forbes, EACH of the Koch brothers is worth $40 billion. Exxon alone has assets of $375+ billion, according to Yahoo finance (which probably takes the figure from Exxon). Chevron’s come to a mere $250 Billion. But these are just the tip of a MUCH larger iceberg, which includes the remaining oil and gas companies, the coal industry, etc. Their financial fate, by contrast to Soros, DOES depend on being able to continue to extract carbon-heavy energy from the ground.

          Moreover, there is no “other side” in scientist’s view of climate change, because there is no “debate:” (“…the debate on the authenticity of global warming and the role played by human activity is largely nonexistent ….” I mistakenly truncated the words before “role” when I quoted this above). The fact that you’re arguing that there is suggests that the financially interested forces I’ve pointed to have succeeded in sufficiently muddying the waters that this LOOKS LIKE a partisan political issue.

          • Paul Richards

            John Greenberg,
            You could stand to do some homework. George soros has positioned himself in the twisted evil financial web funded by the American taxpayers to reap huge personal rewards from “green energy”. He has already done so.
            There is no doubt that a lot of money is being thrown around in our political arena. The fact that you say “there is no debate” suggests that the financially interested forces of people like george soros and the politically connected like the obama regime have successfully joined forces and seized the bully pulpit.
            I don’t expect you to lend credibility to any of this but if you’re thinking of using soros for your moral compass you may want to read this;
            As Soros continues to bankroll the Left’s far reaching progressive plans, he’s more interested in the bottom line, which is evident by his own words, “I am basically there to make money. I cannot and do not look at the social consequences of what I do.”
            We can debate this but if you throw it all out the window and look at the results it’s clear as to who is winning this battle. We essentially have a one party system in this country and certainly in this state. We have had for quite some time and it looks like we will for the foreseeable future. It’s clear who is having the most influence. If you look at the results of this “leadership” it’s pretty bleak to say the least. This fundamental transformation of America is running it right down the tubes and no one from any political persuasion will likely be able to stop it. The Koch brothers or anyone else will not be able to stop it because they are not in bed with the government like soros is who will continue to amass wealth from the taxpayers as he influences our government. One hand rubs dirt on the other and there is nothing we can do to stop it.

          • John Greenberg

            Paul Richards,

            Most of this deserves no further response.

            1) My original point stands. George Soros is a flea on an elephant. The collective interests of the fossil fuel industry are among the very largest on the planet and have not been shy with political contributions for the last century or so.

            2) I have never considered “using soros [or anyone else] for (your) [my] moral compass.”

            3) “We essentially have a one party system in this country.” That’s REALLY funny. You’re a very astute observer, Mr. Richards.

        • Bob Goldberg

          There is a clear difference between trying to raise awareness about an issue virtually everyone in a scientific field agrees on and spending money to lie and discredit the researchers and their research.

          It is sad you don’t understand this.

          • Paul Richards

            It’s sad that you don’t understand that everyone questioning this “settled science” is not a liar and that this “settled science” was arrived at by a lot of money being spent to come to the “conclusions” they did.
            Al Gore said we would all be wearing life jackets by now. How can anyone take a very small slice of time to look at something as complex as the Earth and its surroundings and come up with undisputable conclusions?
            It’s sad that you won’t come in out of the field of sheep long enough to consider an opposing position on such a complex issue.

          • Bob Goldberg

            I don’t recall Al Gore saying we would all be wearing life jackets by now, but even if he did, I would not care.

            Yes, money goes into research, this is pretty much a given. A lot of money was spent to come to nearly every major scientific conclusion in the past few decades, by your “logic”, we should ignore all of those as well.

            “How can anyone take a very small slice of time to look at something as complex as the Earth and its surroundings and come up with undisputable conclusions?”

            It is sad you actually believe that is what happened, nothing of the kind occurred, and the fact you would make such a claim shows you have not done much research on the subject.

            Let’s make this clear, the overwhelming majority of climatologists agree on this issue, the opposition tries to address this fact by attacking the credibility of pretty much the entire field, denying the validity of peer reviewed research and launching inane conspiracy theories.

            This makes the views of said opposition as valid as young earthers, the anti-vaccine crowd and those who claim smoking tobacco is not dangerous.

  • Jon Mathewson

    Not to sound petty or anything, but I do think it necessary to point out that while World War I did indeed begin in 1914, the U.S. Did not become officially involved until 1917.

  • Matt Fisken

    I’m wondering if the Hartwell haters will ever admit that the Senator actually accepted climate change is exacerbated by human activity and our green house gas emissions in his interview.

    Probably not, because then they might have to address his actual point: that Vermont’s wind and solar farms will not stabilize the Earth’s climate and are despoiling Vermont’s environment and communities.

    Some will just keep shooting the messenger when they don’t like the message.

    “But… but… how else are we going to replace our fossil fuel addiction?”

    Round and round we go…

    • Wendy Rae Woods-Hartwell

      Thank you, Matt Fisken for once again pointing out the truth about Senator Hartwell. Of course, he knows climate change is real and is the result of multiple factors.

      Like many, he doesn’t believe that wind power here in Vermont, at the expense of destroying a portion of a carbon sink, is worth the effort. There are other location sites much more appropriate than mountain tops. And there are other forms of renewable energy with greater efficacy than wind here in Vermont.

      I will say no more and trust that Mr. Stannard’s rude tactics have not tarnished the Senator’s reputation.