No middle ground in bruising debate on carbon tax

Carbon tax, VPIRG, Ethan Allen Institute
VPIRG, Ethan Allen Institute debate on the carbon tax Dec. 3 at the Capitol Plaza Hotel in Montpelier. Photo by Mike Polhamus/VTDigger
Tempers flared Thursday night at a debate over a proposed carbon tax on fossil fuels in Vermont.

Debate participants hurled epithets — “propagandist,” “denier” — against each other, and at one point even the moderator brought fire on himself.

The debate at Montpelier’s Capitol Plaza drew a standing-room-only crowd of about 150, who by the end had hissed, cheered, shouted and applauded the debaters’ assertions.

The debate pitted Vermont Public Interest Research Group executive director Paul Burns and University of Vermont’s Jon Erickson, fellow of the university’s Gund Institute for Ecological Economics, against Ethan Allen Institute President Rob Roper and Vice President John McClaughry.

The opponents aired differences over proposals for a statewide tax on carbon pollution.

Roper and McClaughry said the tax would harm Vermont businesses and working families, and — if climate change is real — would have no effect on the severity of global warming. Vermonters already do their part for the environment, Roper said. And whatever reduction in carbon emissions Vermonters may effect with such a tax, new Chinese coal-powered plants will more than offset, McClaughry said.

Erickson and Burns said the carbon tax would reduce Vermont’s sales tax by $1 billion over the next 10 years, cut the sales tax by $600 million, save state employers $850 million, and provide $270 million worth of energy-saving improvements to low-income Vermonters, and in so doing would save Vermonters around $150 million each year in energy costs.

The carbon tax would be offset by job creation and tax cuts on retail goods, Erickson and Burns said.

The debate kicked off with one side claiming the mantle of scientific rigor.

“Despite overwhelming consensus from scientists on the urgency to act on climate change, and overwhelming consensus from economists — my profession — on how to act through tax reform, I anticipate you’re going to see some major differences of opinion tonight on this urgency and on these solutions,” Erickson said in his opening statements.

Roper countered that even if what scientists say is true, neither Vermont nor any country participating in the Paris Climate Summit could stem global climate temperature increases.

Burns cited the state’s passagge of the gay marriage law as an example of the impact the second-least populous state in the union can have on the nation as a whole.

“If you think Vermont is too small to make a difference, ask the millions of Americans who can now get married legally in this country,” Burns said. “Fifteen years ago, Vermont legislators had the courage to lead on that issue by passing civil unions, and my guess is, today there isn’t a single one of them who regrets their vote for being on the right side of history there.”

Roper said Vermonters can’t hope to have that kind of impact with regard to climate change, because if what scientists say is true the problem is too big to solve.

“If one accepts the predictions of climate change activists,” Roper said, the global temperature will rise by 1.5 degrees to 4.5 degrees Celsius. “Vermont enacting a carbon tax will have zero impact on that temperature trajectory.”

Should every nation in attendance at the Paris Climate Summit put proposed reforms in place, they might reduce that forecasted temperature increase by 0.17 degrees Celsius, he said.

“Our actions in Vermont, even coupled with our indirect influence sparking similar actions on a global scale, will not save winter in Vermont, or alter any future violent weather patterns,” Roper said.

For such a meager return on investment, Roper said, Vermonters should refuse to support a tax that in 10 years be as high as 89 cents a gallon.

McClaughry questioned the scientific authority of his opponents.

“I heard the other side say that one side of this debate will embrace science, and it clearly wasn’t intended to refer to our side,” McClaughry said. “The moderator neglects to mention I have a Bachelor’s degree in physics, with honors, and a Master’s degree in nuclear engineering, and I spent 40 years since then reading scientific magazines, scientific works, and I consider myself a staunch partisan of climate science, which is not to be confused with the kind of propaganda that seems to register with our opponents.”

Were the legislature to adopt a carbon tax, McClaughry said, lawmakers would inevitably divert revenue to reward constituencies.

“This bill means more money for government to spend, and less money for you to spend, unless you’re one of the lucky ones qualifying for state subsidies,” he said.

The bills would dedicate 10 percent to 20 percent of revenue to subsidize energy-saving measures such as heat pumps for low-income Vermonters, home weatherization and infrastructure improvements.

Eighty to ninety percent of the revenue generated by the carbon tax would be used to cut other taxes.

The largest tax cuts would go to low-income people who would be hit the hardest by the carbon tax.

Burns said 97 percent of climate scientists support a carbon tax, and he challenged McClaughry and Roper to propose another means of cutting carbon emissions by 75 percent from 1990 levels by the year 2050.

“Even as skilled a propagandist as you ought to be ashamed to bring up that 97 percent of climate scientists thing,” McClaughry rejoined.

Burns interrupted McClaughry and said he was disputing figures from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.

McClaughry wheeled on his opponent and fixed him with a furious glare.

“Paul you stop! You got something else you want to say now?”

McClaughry said he’d already rebutted the 97 percent figure years ago, and said he didn’t need to repeat his argument at that moment.

“I’m a staunch partisan of real climate science, which is not to be confused with the torrent of propaganda that keeps issuing from VPIRG’s offices to pass more bills to create big government and raise taxes on the people of Vermont,” McClaughry said.

Vermonters are already doing enough anyway, Roper said.

“I think it’s fair to say Vermonters are doing their part, and what you’re asking is more than our part,” Roper said. “We’re already doing it — you’re forcing us to make this the sole focus of our existence as a state and as individuals.”

As the debate wore on, Roper returned to this theme.

“According to what you’re asking us to do, the most climate mitigation you’re going to get by the end of the century is a fraction of a degree,” Roper said. “Even if everybody does their part, they’re still not going to impact the things that you say are going to make a difference. The temperature is still going to affect the ski industry, it’s still going to affect the snow in Vermont. It’s not enough to stop the Tropical Irenes from happening.

“So if we can’t do this, even with everybody working together,” he said, “what’s the point?”

The fact that a problem exists and must be confronted has been established, Burns said.

“There’s a saying out there: ‘Science doesn’t care whether you believe in it or not,'” Burns said. “And that’s what we’re facing here, with the damage we are doing to the climate every day, by burning fossil fuels, and having the oil companies profit by polluting our atmosphere for free.

“It’d be like your neighbor saying, well for free I’m going to dump my trash in your yard — it’s a better deal for me,” he said. “That’s the deal the fossil fuel companies have had forever in this country, and it’s time to put an end to it.

“There’s no magic, no perfect answer here, but together we have to do something, and throwing up your hands and saying there’s nothing you can do to make a difference is not a solution,” he said.”

The solution under debate, should it have any effect on the climate at all, Roper said, would destroy Vermont’s environment.

“You’re saying we’re not advocating doing anything,” he said. “That’s not exactly true. You’re talking about maintaining the climate, and what can we do to preserve the climate as it is. But in doing so, you are wrecking the local ecology with the thing that you’re going to be investing in.

“We’re going to see 200 miles of ridgeline with 500-foot wind towers, we’ll see between 30,000 acres and 90,000 acres with solar panels,” Roper said. “That is going to affect how the state looks, it’s going to affect how animals can travel through the state, and if there’s no benefit to how we impact the climate, why don’t we put our energy and our efforts into saving the ecology of the state so we can pass that on to our children and grandchildren?”

Toward the end of the evening, moderator Peter Hirschfeld, of Vermont Public Radio, clarified a statement he made about reluctant Democratic support for the carbon tax. “I will note that there are some prominent Democrats in this state, that would agree with you wholeheartedly that climate change is the threat of our time, who do oppose this legislation,” Hirschfeld said.

Burns, at that point, turned on Hirschfeld. “I actually think that’s an unfair assertion,” he said. “You should let those people speak for themselves, and not try to [characterize] their positions.

“To suggest they oppose the idea of a price on carbon because they have said something about a particular piece of legislation is unfair,” he said. “I think those very people, who I’ve had conversations with, might like the opportunity to explain their position on this issue, and not have you characterize it as simply being in opposition to a price on carbon. I don’t think that’s accurate at all.”

Before the evening’s end, McClaughry advocated for nuclear energy, arguing that no discussion on cheap energy is complete if it omits nuclear power.

“A civilized society needs electricity,” he said.

In his final remarks, Burns said he and Erickson “believe with the world’s climate experts and roughly 200 world leaders that climate change is real and that we all have a responsibility to do something about it.”

McClaughry closed the evening with the assertion that imposing “a $500 million-a-year tax on beneficial plant food will cripple Vermont’s economy, place a special burden on people in rural areas, and on truckers [and] equipment operators, who aren’t going to drive battery-powered cars, trucks and tractors, especially when the desperate legislature diverts the promised tax reductions to pay for ballooning costs of ever-bigger government, and especially when the effects on global temperatures will be utterly undetectable.”

“Yes, sometimes Vermont should set an example, like we did when we abolished slavery,” McClaughry said. “But setting the example of crippling the shaky economy of our little state, solely to advance this grand global crusade against climate change simply to get some kind of bragging rights is beyond foolish. Can we scrap this misbegotten carbon tax, and focus on making Vermont prosperous again? Yes we can.”

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  • Thomas Hughes

    Putting a price on carbon pollution will create Vermont jobs, cut Vermont taxes, and grow the Vermont economy. It will help Vermonters gradually transition away from old, polluting fossil fuels to a cleaner, healthier energy future.

    • Keith Stern

      It will bring more money into the state government to be diverted to other liberal goals. In reality, every logical person knows that solar and wind electrical generation are simply feel good projects that delay actually creating the permanent, effective, and affordable replacement to fossil fuels. But money being wasted with subsidies on such inefficient electrical generation is money that can be invested into research and development of the true solution needed.

      • samuel shultis

        Wow – Mr. Stern, could you not run for public office? You have my vote –

      • Neil Johnson

        Oh, oh, I know the answer. Pick me, pick me! We can come up with a prosperity tax too. That way everyone will be prosperous!

        Monarchies use this all the time and when have you seen a poor king? See problem solved through taxation!

        97% of all economists love this idea. 100% of power hungry clueless government officials back this plan. (sarcasm off)

    • Anne Jameson

      I totally agree with you, Tom on the need for a tax on the polluting fossil fuels. Our climate is fragile and changing rapidly indicating that it’s critical to change our culture of fossil fuel usage and move to sustainable energy sources. Our economy will be harmed to a much greater degree through continued weather events such as those in recent years than it would from a simple tax on the fuels which cause those events. Hopefully, the nay-sayers and deniers will realize this soon.

      • Peter Everett

        Why doesn’t the state just take any remaining wages that a,person earns after Fed income tax, SSI and Medicare deductions (that’s it goal anyway), then distribute the money as it seems fit, to the residents.
        This way, income inequality is no longer in existence in Vermont. Those who work for a living will have the same amount as the Leisure Class, thereby, creating the Progressive’s/ Democrats Utopian world that they envision.
        Everyone would be paying the Carbon Tax equally.
        Best part of this would be that the worker would still be required to pay income tax on what the State felt he/she received, while the Leisure Class would be eligible for an Earned Income Credit.
        Wouldn’t this just make Vermont the greatest state to live in? Guaranteed, the Progs/Dems would think so. I don’t know what workers would think of this, if there were any left.

    • Gary Sheldon

      Thomas … And just How do you figure that? Please explain to all of us how raising the cost of living in Vermont is going to ‘Grow’ the economy?

      Apples are 2 for a dollar… With 6 dollars I can buy a dozen apples, now ya raise the price of the apples to 75 cents a piece and that 6 dollars can no longer buy a dozen.

      I buy less apples, the Orchard man makes less money thus he has to lay people off, now they don’t have a job and can no longer buy goods…. And it just keeps going down from there.

      But I must admit, I have never studies Liberal Math before so that must be where I can not see the picture as clear as you can.

      Also, Please explain how we in Vermont are going to ‘Keep’ all that ‘Clean’ air for ourselves (that we paid for) and stop the dirty are from the neighboring states and countries from flowing into our ‘Clean Air’?

    • Steve Crowley

      What this article (and to some degree the debate itself) misses is that this proposal is primarily a tax-shift program, not a “new tax” program. It reduces sales tax, it sends money back from income taxes, it helps employers out with employee taxes. Every Vermont taxpayer (not just McLaughry’s “if you’re lucky enough”) will get a substantial rebate. That’s Every Vermont Taxpayer. Lower income Vermonters will get more. To pay for that, it imposes a tax on something that is damaging our economy, our ecology, and our planet.

      The tax itself starts small, and increases gradually over a decade. For perspective, in recent years, gasoline prices have been about a dollar and a half higher than today. The carbon pollution tax would start at about nine cents on the gallon. Both the tax and the rebates that go with them would start small, and increase over the years. Within that ten year time frame, businesses and individuals will have plenty of time to make the kinds of choices that will reduce their fossil fuel dependency and tax liability, at the same time seeing an increased tax rebate. McLaughry and Roper referred to “skimming” for vested interests. If anyone is skimming in this picture, it’s been the fossil fuel industry, whose record profits at our expense have filled the news over recent years.

      What the current proposal does is take ten percent of the tax-generated funds, and it invests those dollars in Vermont. It goes to weatherization programs that will reduce fuel use. It goes to leverage the financing so Vermonters have access to opportunities to reduce home energy use. It will support homeowners and renters, businesses small and large, community institutions, as they make efforts to reduce their own carbon footprint. And it’s not just about the quantity of this fund alone. Smartly applied, this fund will light a fire behind private investments at the scale needed to address the problem.

      Most importantly, as a sustained and predictable incentive, it gives all of us the certainty that the smart energy choices we make now will still be smart choices in the future. It’s a mix of carrots and sticks that make sense. That’s the kind of confidence that will become the engine to drive an entire sector of the economy. There are sustained roles for Vermonters of all stripes: homeowners, bankers, skilled construction workers, and the list goes on. It’s an opportunity for Vermont to turn climate crisis into economic opportunity.

      A carbon pollution tax is the number one measure available to reduce the impacts of climate change. The value, importance, and even critical urgency of responding to the climate crisis is echoed by economists from liberal to the most conservative; by religious leaders from the Pope, to the Dalai Lama, to evangelical Christian leaders; by medical experts, in the pages of prominent journals such as the Lancet and the New England Journal of Medicine.

      And it will be effective. EAI’s Roper gets it wrong with his interpretation of the 0.17 degree figure. That number, if correct, represents what the aggregate Paris UN talk commitments would do. But that’s a group of carbon emitting nations that have dragged their feet for decades on both carbon reduction targets and on clean energy investment targets. No surprise their voluntary commitments are barely measurable. Even a slight improvement for that crowd is actually kind of a big deal. If, however, the Vermont carbon pollution tax idea, and Vermont’s carbon reduction goals, were to be implemented on a global scale, we would certainly see a major shift in the carbon-balance pathway; even approaching the widely recognized goals of limiting climate change to 1.5 or 2 degrees Celsius.

      We are all pleased to be living in this beautiful place. Part of that is our size, at 49th in the nation. But we cannot take our small scale as a rationale for inaction, as Roper and McLaughry repeatedly demanded. We do in fact contribute to this global problem every day. Even at our state’s emission rate, which may be low (bottom 10%) for the US, we are carbon gluttons compared to those groups of people most impacted by the storms, sea level, and droughts that derive from our century and a half of atmospheric abuse. The vast majority of Vermonters recognize this and we want to do our share.

      This proposal still needs work, as it’s proposers recognize. First of all, there is a distance to travel in terms of getting the word out, helping Vermonters grasp the nature of this program and its importance. Second, there is work to do to ensure that the critical redistribution, the tax rebates and credits, are reaching all Vermont taxpayers and employers in an efficient and effective way. There’s also work to do to align the power of this fund with the goals and vision contained in state law and the state’s new Comprehensive Energy Plan, for the most productive and far-sighted investments.

      But there’s no question that it is time to act. Everyone involved with the Paris climate talks knows that what happens in Paris will not be enough. It’s past time for bold action. Places like British Columbia and other Canadian provinces are far ahead of us on this. As we join in, so will other states, and then countries. This has to happen and at some point it certainly will happen. It’s a question of taking ambitious steps now and minimizing future climate impacts, or waiting until things get worse when it will be too late.

      • Randy Jorgensen

        “What this article (and to some degree the debate itself) misses is that this proposal is primarily a tax-shift program, not a “new tax” program.”

        -If it’s not a new tax, then why isn’t it revenue neutral? Flying out of already expensive BTV will be more expensive as jet fuel will increase in price, construction will be more expensive. How will an excavation company, or trucking company, see their 90% back? That ferry trip across the lake just became more expensive. .It will cost the state in higher fuel costs for the snow plow fleet, that is paid for with our tax dollars already. Anything that state does with carbon energy will be pasted on to us the tax payer.

        “The tax itself starts small, and increases gradually over a decade.”

        -Why not start out at the top tier, why wait unit it’s “too late” as you fear.

        ” It goes to weatherization programs that will reduce fuel use.”

        -Don’t we already have this with Efficiency Vermont? We already pay that tax on our electric bills.

        ” Second, there is work to do to ensure that the critical redistribution, the tax rebates and credits, are reaching all Vermont taxpayers and employers in an efficient and effective way.”

        -At least you call it what it is, a mass redistribution of my hard earned dollars.

        Remember folks, that rare earth material in your Prius or other hybrid is smelted with COAL then SHIPPED from China via boat that utilize fuel.

        If the state really wanted to mitigate carbon use then why not LOWER the speed limit on state highways as was done in the 70’s to reduce oil consumption. The ideal speed for a hybrid is generally 40Mph-50Mph. Or is that too simply. We can lead by example and other states can follow.

      • Tom Sullivan

        Hey Steve,

        The story says the bill would take 10% – 20% of the revenue. Which the concern is that’s where it starts, not where it ends, and especially during budget gap years which has been the last several years. If there is to be a carbon tax, it should be a national carbon tax that’s revenue neutral. Maybe that’s the middle ground.

      • Jamie Carter

        “Every Vermont taxpayer (not just McLaughry’s “if you’re lucky enough”) will get a substantial rebate. ”

        If only a once a year rebate helped pay my weekly bills…

        If all this money was going back to Vermonters why raise it in the first place? If 90% of the money raised is coming back, why not just raise the 10% that is getting kept for whatever? Want 8c on a gallon of fossil fuel, that would probably get through the Legislature, but this won’t. So why do it? Because they really aren’t going to give it back… it will get used to cover a 60M budget shortfall. It will go into the clean energy fund, it will go to a weatherization fund that lower income VTers can’t use because the $1000 rebate doesn’t help them come up with the other 6000 they need.

        You don’t get it, vermonters are living paycheck to paycheck and the recent slump in the price of oil is helping them get back on their feet. Why knock them back down?

        • John Greenberg

          Jamie Carter:

          “If only a once a year rebate helped pay my weekly bills…”

          Where did you get the idea that the rebate is “once a year?”

          As I understand the proposals, some of the returned revenue is in the form of a reduction in sales tax, which few of us pay only once a year. I’m not sure ANY of it is once a year. Please clarify.

  • Joe Perry

    As a renter, I pay to heat the home I live in, but any improvements to weatherizing I do in the short term may help my heating bill, but adversely affects me as my landlord now can charge a higher rent because the house is more desirable . Classic catch 22.

  • Keith Stern

    How many years of emissions reductions will it take to negate the carbon footprint caused by all the world leaders flying in on their private jets to discuss reducing carbon emissions? In today’s computer and telecommunications age it couldn’t have been done with less of an ecological impact?

    • Patricia Crocker

      But then they wouldn’t get their vacation paid for by the tax payer!

  • Jim Poirier

    I would really love too see the true source of this 97% of “scientists” agree claim. It kind ofreminds me of the old television commercials where ” 9 out of 20 doctors recommend margerine.”

    • Chris Kayes

      You don’t need to know where the 97% figure came from. That sort of thing is known as “Argument by Authority” and has no place in a scientific debate. It is only useful in something political, like election polls. This is because in Science, unlike politics, it only takes one repeatable experiment to disprove a theory. In terms of CAGW, that “theory” has been falsified by the abject failure of the climate models to match any current observations.

      • Jacob Gregory

        Good point. No reputable scientist would say that anything in science is “settled”. It is an ongoing, self-correcting process wherein what is “accepted” today sometimes, more often than not, gives way to what is discovered tomorrow. Just a hundred years ago Lord Kelvin was “absolutely convinced” that the luminiferous Ether had to exist to allow transmission of light through vacuum. A few hundred years ago probably 97% of the scientists were convinced that the terracentric model of the solar system was correct. Whenever anyone says “the science is settled” it should raise the red flag of skepticism. Appeal to authority and the bandwagon fallacy are things real scientists avoid in their arguments, but pseudoscientists rely on them.

    • Mark Donka

      The 97 % was explained in easy to understand terms by Richard Tracy in the VT Standard last week. The 97 % was based on 200 scientists and a 2 question survey. But when he finished with the breakdown it was 34 out of 38 scientists believe in global warming/climate change. It is easy to make the numbers work when you skew the figures. The carbon tax will be bad for the working Vermonter’s. But that has never been of any concern of the liberal left when they pass laws. Vermont needs to elect people that will help Vermonter’s plain and simple.

    • Neil Johnson

      The sad part is people don’t know the difference between scientific theory and law. We have the law of gravity. We have not found a way to disprove it. A real scientist would welcome every and all challenges to the idea of global warming, climate change. But the politicians and general pubic will chastise you if you question. So how many scientists would challenge the law of gravity? Even evolution is a theory, while I think it might be difficult to deny pumping so much into the atmosphere would have no affect, it shows people’s intent when 90% of the tax isn’t even being used to reduce the carbon foot print. There are so many commons sense ways to be more efficient without a tax. We can weatherize and give loans, most are on a break even basis, just need to educate. See it’s not too difficult, there are so many more…..

      It’s depressing to thing UVM doesn’t actually promote science and know the difference between scientific law and statistics.

    • John Greenberg

      Jim Poirier:

      “I would really love too see the true source of this 97% of “scientists” agree claim.”

      There are 2 papers, either one of which could be cited as the source.

      One is a survey of earth scientists by Zimmerman and Doran: “An invitation to participate in the survey was sent to 10,257 Earth scientists. …

      This brief report addresses the two primary questions of the survey, which contained up to nine questions (the full study is given by
      Kendall Zimmerman [2008]): 1. When compared with pre-1800s levels, do you think that mean global temperatures have generally risen, fallen, or remained relatively constant?
      2. Do you think human activity is a significant contributing factor in changing mean global temperatures?

      With 3146 individuals completing the survey, the participant response rate for the survey was 30.7%. … With survey participants asked to select a single category, the most common areas of expertise reported were geochemistry (15.5%), geophysics (12%), and oceanography (10.5%). General geology, hydrology/hydrogeology, and paleontology each accounted for 5–7% of the total respondents. Approximately 5% of the respondents were climate scientists, and 8.5% of the respondents indicated that more than 50% of their peer-reviewed publications in the past 5 years have been on the subject of climate change. While respondents’ names are kept private, the authors noted that the survey included participants with well-documented dissenting opinions on global warming theory.

      Results show that overall, 90% of participants answered “risen” to question 1 and 82% answered yes to question 2. In general, as the level of active research and specialization in climate science increases, so does agreement with the two primary questions (Figure 1). In our survey, the most specialized and knowledgeable respondents (with regard to climate change) are those who listed climate science as their area of expertise and who also have published more than 50% of their recent peer-reviewed papers on the subject of climate change (79 individuals in total). Of these specialists, 96.2% (76 of 79) answered “risen” to question 1 and 97.4% (75 of 77) answered yes to question 2.”

      The authors conclude, pertinently: “It seems that the debate on the authenticity of global warming and 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.”

      In addition, the 97% figure has another, entirely different source: namely, a study by Cook et al: “We analyze the evolution of the scientific consensus on anthropogenic global warming (AGW) in the peer-reviewed scientific literature, examining 11 944 climate abstracts from 1991–2011 matching the topics ‘global climate change’ or ‘global warming’. 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.” http://iopscience.iop.org/1748-9326/8/2/024024/article

      Here’s a new source with an even stronger claim: “About that consensus on global warming: 9136 agree, 1 disagrees.”

      Here’s the gist: “I just want to highlight this illuminating infographic by James Powell in which, based on more than 2000 peer-reviewed publications, he counts the number of authors from November, 2012 to December, 2013 who explicitly deny global warming (that is, who propose a fundamentally different reason for temperature rise than anthropogenic CO2). The number is exactly one. In addition Powell also has helpful links to the abstracts and main text bodies of the relevant papers.
      It’s worth noting how many authors agree with the basic fact of global warming – more than nine thousand. And that’s just in a single year. Now I understand as well as anyone else that consensus does not imply truth but I find it odd how there aren’t even a handful of scientists who deny global warming presumably because the global warming mafia threatens to throttle them if they do. It’s not like we are seeing a 70-30% split, or even a 90-10% split. No, the split is more like 99.99-0.01%.
      Isn’t it remarkable that among the legions of scientists working around the world, many with tenured positions, secure reputations and largely nothing to lose, not even a hundred out of ten thousand come forward to deny the phenomenon in the scientific literature? Should it be that hard for them to publish papers if the evidence is really good enough?”

      It is worth adding that none of these studies supports the statement attributed in the article to Paul Burns: namely, “97 percent of climate scientists support a carbon tax.” That may be a correct claim, but it is a DIFFERENT claim from the one I’ve referenced above.

      • Wendy Wilton

        Climate change has been occurring on this planet from the time the ocean and land masses formed. The earth has gone through very warm and very cold periods as a result of asteroid impacts and volcanic activity, and perhaps other phenomena such as the sun’s activity and the orbit or axis tilt. Three hundred million years ago dinosaurs lived in our region that could not have withstood our current climate. Mass extinctions of plant and animal life have occurred due to these changes well before mankind existed. Those types of impacts are beyond our ability to control. We are actually fortunate to be living in one of the earth’s temperate periods…

        Fast forward to the earth in our lifetime…Little VT is a carbon “sink” due to our large tracks of forest and agricultural land. We do not generate more carbon than our plants can absorb. Why then, even if someone could state that massive pollution is causing climate change, would it be our responsibility to make up for Bejing or Mumbai or NYC for the carbon pollution being generated in those places to the detriment of our people? Haven’t we taken on enough of the world’s causes for one group of 600,000 people?
        Time to hit ‘pause’.

      • Chris Kayes


        There are very few scientists who deny Anthroprogenic Global Warming (AGW). Let me repeat that – very few scientists deny AGW. However there are plenty of tenured scientists who do deny Catastrophic AGW.

        It’s a big difference and one which none of your studies takes into account (on purpose).
        For a good overview of the problems with the concept of consensus and CAGW, see http://wattsupwiththat.com/2014/07/16/climate-consensus-nonsense/.
        That article discusses all of the papers you referenced and all of their shortcomings.

        • John Greenberg

          Chris Kayes:

          I’m glad you acknowledge that “very few scientists deny AGW.” That’s all I set out above to show.

          You write as though no one suggests otherwise, but that is far from being the case. There are quite a few commenters – including several in this very comment stream – who suggest that while “the climate is always changing,” man’s actions have nothing whatsoever to do with it.

          From this argument, we are often asked to infer that since nothing mankind has done is responsible for the warming we have experienced in the industrial era, then nothing mankind can do now or in the future will mitigate that impact. Consequently, we are to conclude, the planet’s warming provides no basis for human action.

          But if, as you acknowledge, “very few scientists deny AGW,’ then the premise of the argument I’ve just summarized is false, and the remainder cannot follow. If some portion of the change we’ve experienced IS due to anthropogenic activity, then it follows that it is at least possible for different anthropogenic activity to have the opposite impact. And if that’s true, it is reasonable to believe that there IS a plausible basis for action.

          It is, of course, possible to conclude ON OTHER GROUNDS, that such action is unwarranted, ill-advised, or whatever else you wish. But the argument justifying inaction based on the impossibility of human influence will no longer fly once AGW is acknowledged.

          Indeed, I suspect that’s precisely why Doran and Zimmerman take some pains to point to the gap between the controversy over AGW in the mass media and the society as a whole when it’s compared to the lack of controversy in the scientific community.

          In short, your acknowledgement is far more important than you make it sound, since it eliminates an important argument for inaction.

          Turning to your next point, you do not define “catastrophic AGW,” so it is impossible to know what, if any, consensus exists on that point. You’ll have to define it.

          Turning to the article to which you link, I have to say I find it a far less convincing an overview than you do. And, by the way, it does NOT discuss the Doran/Zimmerman study.

          In particular, the author appears first to be making the same distinction as you do by distinguishing between “climate change deniers” and those who “deny (1) dangerous (2) anthropogenic climate change ….” I assume he’s using the word “dangerous” (undefined) similarly to the way you’re using “catastrophic.” (Also undefined)

          But then he adds the kicker: “(3) to which the only rational response is drastic reduction in CO2 emissions even if achieving it costs trillions of dollars and perpetuates poverty in the developing world.”

          This 3rd point is really TWO totally distinct points: a) “to which the only rational response is drastic reduction in CO2 emissions” and b) “even if achieving it costs trillions of dollars and perpetuates poverty in the developing world.” One could certainly believe that a) is true and reject the very premise of b): namely, that reducing carbon emissions would “cost[s] trillions … and perpetuate poverty.”

          It is quite possible to believe that the BEST “rational response” is “drastic reduction” (whatever “drastic” means) without believing that it’s the ONLY “rational response.”

          Moreover, there are certainly plenty of economists who totally deny both points in b). Indeed, there are some economists who make precisely the opposite point: namely that NOT addressing climate change will cost trillions more than addressing it and also that NOT addressing it will “perpetuate poverty in the developing world.” It’s worth noting that the governments of many developing countries are in this latter camp, including especially the largest ones: China, India, and Brazil.

          In addition, by introducing both of these third points, Beisner (whose PhD is in Scottish history, by the way, and whose undergraduate degrees are in religion and philosophy, and “Society with a Specialization in Economic Ethics,” whatever that is — http://ecalvinbeisner.com/bio.pdf) is trying to turn a scientific issue into a policy controversy. The two do not equate.

          Put simply, scientific method provides an excellent way to describe how the world really is, and how it got that way. (As Jack Webb repeated in “Dragnet” all the time: “The facts, ma’am, just the facts.”) Policy proposals are concerned with “should” not “is.”

          In what concerns us here, you and 97% of the scientific world now appear to agree: AGW is a fact of our modern world. What to do about that is NOT a scientific question, although scientists can certainly be asked to express their expert opinions on whether any given action will actually effect change or not.

          But as soon as anyone – scientist or otherwise – tell us what to do about AGW, he or she is wearing a different hat: namely, that of policy-maker, and if one thing is clear in our highly divided political culture, there is little consensus among policy makers about much of anything.

          It used to be a given in our society that we would attempt to create policies based on the best rational assessment of the facts. But that’s no longer a given: there are many who prefer to simply deny the facts they wish were otherwise. Indeed, that’s precisely what’s at stake when AGW is denied altogether.

          In short, the Beisner article is far from a convincing argument for distinguishing “climate denial” from denial of AGW. It uses all sorts of rhetorical tricks and back-door assumptions to make a pretty unconvincing (in my estimation) case. But rather than going further into the analytical weeds of all those issues here, I’ll close by stating that there’s a lot less here than meets the eye.

          • John Greenberg

            Chris Kayes:

            My comment above was written as a general reply, but John McClaughry, one of the debaters has kindly furnished us below with a perfect example. Here is his position in his words: “There is no scientific evidence for detectable anthropogenic global climate forcing that produces these recurring effects; and there is little or no prospect that human intervention, even at enormous economic and social cost, can detectably alter the result of these natural processes.”
            John’s statement shows precisely why acknowledgement of AGW IS important and not to be quickly or lightly skimmed over.

      • Jim Poirier

        So, 97% of a small subset have reached consensus. The nearly two thirds of respondents were so concerned as to not have an opinion? Interesting also to note, less than a third of those surveyed responded. From a standpoint of behavioral analysis, I would determine that there is a minority of scientists that feel strongly about AGW, and the majority are either in denial, or dispute it based on thier own research, but do not want to be pilloried, so they stay out of the fray.

        • John Greenberg

          Jim Poirier:

          Your comment addresses only the first of 3 articles cited and does so by equating failure to respond to a survey to not having an opinion.

          Perhaps someone can show me that I’m wrong, but on that basis, I suspect that EVERY survey and every poll of every kind would lead to the same result. Be that as it may, Doran and Zimmerman note in the article: “This is a typical response rate for Web-based surveys.”

          As someone who avoids surveys but who often has strong opinions, I see no basis for your conclusion that “the majority are either in denial, or dispute it based on thier own research, but do not want to be pilloried, so they stay out of the fray.”

      • John McClaughry

        Here’s the piece I wrote on the Doran-Zimmerman 97% claim in 2012. The Cook meta-study that came out later is even more ridiculous. It occurs to me that 97% of the professional staff at the Vatican agreed that Galileo was dead wrong in 1616.

        Frontline’s Climate Change Consensus
        John McClaughry 10/30/12
        On October 23 PBS’s Frontline presented a feature entitled “Climate of Doubt: Frontline investigates how climate skeptics mobilized, built their argument and undermined public acceptance of a global scientific consensus.” Its aim was to give its viewers a tour through the shadowy world of sinister interests selling the idea that anthropogenic (“human-caused”) global warming is a myth, a hoax, and a scam.
        PBS reporter John Hockenberry put on screen crowds of Tea Party activists holding that view, and interviewed conservative activists like Tim Phillips (Americans for Prosperity) and Myron Ebell (Competitive Enterprise Institute). These were described as “fighting science with doubt and delay.”
        Hockenberry interviewed – and heavily edited – only one skeptical climate scientist, Dr. Fred Singer. In response to Hockenberry’s implication that the skeptics were few and unqualified, Singer replied that some 31,000 persons with scientific degrees had signed the 1998 “Oregon Petition”, the key sentence of which is “There is no convincing scientific evidence that human release of carbon dioxide, methane, or other greenhouse gases is causing or will, in the foreseeable future, cause catastrophic heating of the Earth’s atmosphere and disruption of the Earth’s climate”. There were, incidentally, 51 signers from Vermont, 22 of them with doctorates in science or medicine.
        To dismiss the Oregon Petition, Frontline asserted at least twice during the program that “97% of active climate researchers” believe that humans are a significant cause of global warming. (“Significant” can range from “the most influential” to “barely detectable”.) Thus, why should you few skeptics be taken seriously?
        The origin of this often-quoted percentage is curious. Canadian environmentalist Lawrence Solomon was a global warming believer until he authored a 2008 book entitled The Deniers: The world-renowned scientists who stood up against global warming hysteria, political persecution, and fraud. More recently he traced the origin of the “97 percent” assertion back to a two-minute online survey of 10,257 earth scientists, conducted in 2009 by two researchers at the University of Illinois.
        The researchers, Doran and Zimmerman, deliberately excluded the solar scientists, space scientists, cosmologists, physicists, meteorologists and astronomers who might have thought that the sun and planetary movements might have something to do with Earth’s climate.
        They also decided that neither academic qualifications nor scientific accomplishment would be a factor in whose responses could be accepted – about 1,000 of those surveyed did not have a PhD, and some didn’t even have a master’s degree. They reduced the list to 3,146 who responded to these two questions:
        1. When compared with pre-1800s levels, do you think that mean global temperatures have generally risen, fallen, or remained relatively constant?
        2. Do you think human activity is a significant contributing factor in changing mean global temperatures?
        Ninety percent of the respondents answered “risen” to the first question, presumably assuming it referred to the pre-1850 Little Ice Age. Eighty two percent of the respondents answered “yes” to the second question.
        Those percentages weren’t impressive enough for the researchers, so they further reduced the sample until only 77 remained. Seventy five of the select 77 said “yes” to both questions, producing the desired “consensus” finding that “97% of “active climate researchers” believe that humans are a significant cause of global warming. Those human activities, incidentally, include land use changes as well as greenhouse gas emissions.
        This manufactured “consensus” is obviously dishonest, but Frontline repeated it twice while alleging that skeptical scientists were largely funded by fossil fuel interests and other undesirables.

        • John Greenberg


          I’ve responded to your claims about Doran and Zimmerman before, so I will take the liberty of cutting and pasting my previous response:

          Your reading of the Doran and Zimmerman paper is inaccurate on 3 specific points:

          1) “The researchers, Doran and Zimmerman, deliberately excluded the solar scientists, space scientists, cosmologists, physicists, meteorologists and astronomers ….”

          Nothing in the paper suggests any “deliberate” exclusion. The paper purports to “assess the scientific consensus on climate change through an unbiased survey of a large and broad group OF EARTH SCIENTISTS.” (emphasis added) A priori, it makes no more sense to suggest that physicists should have been included than to suggest that ANY scientists should have been included. Why not biologists? Chemists? Presumably however, earth scientists are the folks who actually study climate and climate change and are therefore a logical group to chose.

          More specifically, here’s what the Doran/Zimmerman study says about how the survey was conducted: “An invitation to participate in the survey was sent to 10,257 Earth scientists. The database was built from Keane and Martinez [2007], which lists all geosciences faculty at reporting academic institutions, along with researchers at state geologic surveys associated with local universities, and researchers at U.S. federal research facilities (e.g., U.S. Geological Survey, NASA, and NOAA (U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) facilities; U.S. Department of Energy national laboratories; and so forth).” http://tigger.uic.edu/~pdoran/012009_Doran_final.pdf

          2) Similarly, this allegation appears to blatantly contradict what the study says: “They also decided that neither academic qualifications nor scientific accomplishment would be a factor in whose responses could be accepted – about 1,000 of those surveyed did not have a PhD, and some didn’t even have a master’s degree. They reduced the list to 3,146 ….”

          First, they didn’t “reduce the list.” There were 3146 responses to the survey. Second, more than 90% had PhDs, which means that, AT MOST, 315 did not.

          Here’s the language in the study: “With 3146 individuals completing the survey, the participant response rate for the survey was 30.7%. This is a typical response rate for Web-based surveys [Cook et al., 2000; Kaplowitz et al., 2004]. Of our survey participants, 90% were from U.S. institutions and 6% were from Canadian institutions; the remaining 4% were from institutions in 21 other nations. More than 90% of participants had Ph.D.s, and 7% had master’s degrees.”

          3) “Those percentages weren’t impressive enough for the researchers, so they further reduced the sample until only 77 remained.”

          Again, here’s what the paper says: “In our survey, the most specialized and knowledge-
          able respondents (with regard to climate change) are those who listed climate science as their area of expertise and who also have published more than 50% of their recent peer-reviewed papers on the subject of climate change (79 individuals in total).”

          But, in any case, the Doran/Zimmerman study is not the only source of the 97% claim.

          In addition, the 97% figure has another, entirely different source: namely, a study by Cook et al based on an analysis of “11 944 climate abstracts from 1991–2011 matching the topics ‘global climate change’ or ‘global warming’” in the peer-reviewed literature.” http://iopscience.iop.org/article/10.1088/1748-9326/8/2/024024/pdf

          Criticizing these studies for what they actually say is one thing; making up “facts” to suit your theory is entirely another.

          • Jim Poirier

            Are we arguing semantics now? Clearly, you just supported Mr. McClaughry’s Assertion that Doran/Zimmerman worked their own data to reach their desired conclusion, clearly narrowing respondents down to the desired subset.

          • John Greenberg

            Jim Poirier:

            Why not read the article, which is not even 2 full pages long, and reach your own conclusions? For my part, I find your suggestion totally unconvincing.

            Doran and Zimmerman make it quite clear that the consensus of ALL those responding is quite high on both of the survey questions: 90% on the first, and 82% on the 2nd: “Results show that overall, 90% of participants answered “risen” to question 1 and 82% answered yes to question 2.”

            They then note that “In general, as the level of active research and specialization in climate science increases, so does agreement with the two primary questions….” Should they have failed to follow where the data led them? If you think so, please tell us why.

            It’s important to remember that the 97% figure seems particularly significant only in retrospect, since it’s been so often quoted and now debated. But there is no reason to believe that the authors went looking for it. 82% would have been – is – an extremely impressive number for agreement on any topic in our highly contentious society.

            The point these authors make in this article about anthropogenic global warming could just as easily have been made about, say, Darwin’s theory of evolution, a scientific theory accepted by virtually all biologists for over a century and still contested by a significant block of the American population. (See, e.g. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/06/02/creationism-america-survey_n_5434107.html)

            I fail to see how any of this is “arguing semantics.” But as I said above, the article is 2 pages long – easy to read – and readers are free to draw their own conclusions.

            Here’s my conclusion, for what it’s worth: no one is free to simply re-write this or any article to suit his own purpose and then pretend that it accurately represents the work of the authors as John McClaughry has done here. In my estimation, that’s not “arguing semantics;” it’s intellectual fraud.

  • Bob Stannard

    “if what scientists say is true the problem is too big to solve.” Rob Roper

    This defeatist attitude is not what the world needs right now. If this is how EAI truly feels then they should step out of the way and let people who are up to challenging big problems take over.

    • Jamie Carter

      Defeatist or practical? Perhaps we should start spending our limited resources on preparing for a different world as opposed to trying to maintain a static enviornment.

      There are two choices, spend all your money to try and stop climate change and be broke when the next natural disaster hits, or spend it in preparation.

  • Renee Carpenter

    Very unfortunate event, in my opinion, framed to be rude and combative–really not helpful to resolve one of the most serious problems of our times. Disturbing, in fact; especially given recent revelations that (Exxon) Mobil–FOR DECADES–has been hiding known scientific research about the effects of carbon on the atmosphere and climate, planting misinformation throughout the media, and changing text books to reflect an opinion closer to the Ethan Allen Institute–similar tactics that the Koch Brothers have used their billions to promote.

    The framework of the debate–and conventions of journalism–pose one side against the other as if they were equal, which they are not.

    Glad to see your reporting, and look forward to seeing more of a round table discussion that includes the dozen or more Vermont PARTNERS across all stakeholder groups who are on board to work together to develop solutions within public policy. The actuality of what Vermont can do to support low and middle income residents to cut their carbon footprint requires a collaborative approach that many in Vermont have used to make our state a national leader in public policy.

    If we want to see similar paralysis as we observe in Congress, we’ll continue with events such as was held Thursday night. If we want to maintain leadership in solving our problems, we will move to a more civil and democratic process of inclusive dialogue–like the Council on Rural Development has been facilitating on numerous issues including Climate Change Initiatives.

    Please note that I’m writing nothing of the content of the legislation, nor about the wide range of content area absent from Thursday’s discussion and thus this article. The omission of huge volumes of content limits the possibility of really understanding the foundation issues at hand and our potential for enacting public policy that begins to move Vermont into a more resilient and sustainable future.

    You conclude your article with John McClaughry’s closing remark, “… crippling the shaky economy of our little state, solely to advance this grand global crusade against climate change simply to get some kind of bragging rights is beyond foolish,” but do not follow up with statements that document how the first baby steps in developing Vermont’s green energy economy has stimulated our economy and generated well-paying jobs. Nor did you reflect on members of the Vermont climate alliance, or numerous other ***facts*** about other governments’ implementation on carbon fees used to stimulate actions that limit energy use while stimulating the economy. (And this information was also presented Thursday night.)

    “He said-she said” (so-called) journalism is a disservice to the public because it fails to identify when actual facts are known. ***That’s the real job of the journalist–teasing out the facts. In this case, we need to know the real facts, not just what a right-wing policy institute says. This article might have, at the very least, pointed out the broad coalition of Vermont groups in the discussion, and cited Jon Erikson when he pointed out that there are two pieces of legislation under discussion.

    I’m looking forward to broader, less polarized public discussions that tease out the details of these proposals and leave the purchased propaganda out. After all, the earth is round, science is real, our climate is changing, and our communities are already implementing some of the necessary measures to move us towards a more resilient future –some of which we learned from our experiences after the devastation of Tropical Storm Irene. We need state (and Federal) government to support the efforts of communities and individuals looking ahead to a more sustainable reality.

    If fees on carbon–as described by James Hansen on Friday morning’s “Democracy Now” (www.democracynow.org) and by Jon Erikson a few weeks ago on VPR’s “Vermont Edition” (also archived online)–will leverage funding for some of these changes towards resilience for communities and people who do not have the resources otherwise, I want to hear more about it. Butting heads with climate deniers will not serve anyone but the profiteers from human misery and climate destruction and certainly not “We the People” in a democracy.

  • Jamie Carter

    So things went as expected.

    Burns, argues we need to do something at all costs and those costs should burden Vermonters who can’t afford it. This burden will be offset by subsidizing winterization efforts (something we already has that doesn’t work very well at all), dropping the sales tax, which maybe actually be a good thing but is offset by the $0.88 fuel tax, and some other magical number that appears to be speculation at best. In summary, Burns wants to tack on a rather large tax on fossil fuels that will hurt vermonters forced to commute long distances, farmers who need to run tractors, low income vermonters struggling with heating their homes, truckers, and every business that needs to run delivery trucks. In turn, if you can navigate the paper work you may get a $500 rebate on a new furnace (assuming you can come up with the other $7000) or you may get a small rebate on a heat pump (likely run off solar installed by suncommons, owned by ex-VPIRG conspirator Peterson).

    Roper et al, argue that Vermonters can’t afford it and we won’t make a difference on a global scale. And they are correct. Vermonters can not afford it. Weatherization efforts, tax credits and rebates, etc do not help people put food on their tables, pay their monthly mortgage payment, or buy heating fuel. Most Vermonters live paycheck to paycheck and the promise of paying less taxes April 15th doesn’t change the fact that they need every dollar of that weekly paycheck to make ends meet. Moreover, the gay marriage argument is ridiculous. In that case what VT did by leading the nation was to enact social change. This isn’t social change, it isn’t a movement, it ism’t something people can change by rallying around. It takes real action, carbon mitigation… and because we are dealing with actual physical properties Vermont will not make a meaningful contribution, certainly not anything worth fleecing Vermonters for $1,000,000,000 over 10 years. In fact, the deforestation required for all of these wind towers and solar fields will reduce the amount of carbon the state vegatation can absorb, in essencing removing our ability to mitigate increases in CO2.

    The argument over this tax is not whether climate change is real as Mr Burns would like to make it into, the argument is whether or not Vermont and Vermonters have the fiscal capacity to do it, and whether the benefit is worth it. And to the end Mr. Burns is on the wrong side.

    • Renee Carpenter

      “… subsidizing winterization efforts (something we already has [sic] that doesn’t work very well at all)…”

      It’s too easy to drop false, unsupported statements into these comments, but responding to this particular one, for me is easy: My house was weatherized and my fuel use (and cost) was cut at least in half. If the windows were also upgraded (a more expensive project), it likely would be halved again. This is one house built in the early 1900s.

      I’m guessing that both the weatherization program and Efficiency Vermont have accurate statewide statistics.

  • Bruce Wilkie

    As a rural Vermonter who drives 100 miles a day to a low paying job, I am fearful that this new law will be the last straw in the crushing economic burden that all Vermonters outside of Chittenden county face.
    There are no busses or trains where most of us live. And there never will be. Anyone who farms or logs or works in any of the land based industries that have been the economic base of Vermont for the last 200 years will be destroyed.
    Electric powered manure spreaders, skidders, Peterbuilts, or corn silage choppers? Please!
    Businesses are fleeing the state, which will force even longer commutes.
    That leaves minimum wage tourism jobs to take up the slack.

    Are we all doomed to a Blittersdorfian future where the ridgeline industrial wind debacle will destroy the state.
    Are we willing to destroy Vermont for no benefit to Vermonters?

    • Tom Sullivan

      Hey Bruce, My question to you is that carbon tax proponents say (I’ll paraphrase) they’ll protect lower income Vermonters from being hurt by the carbon tax. It’s a simple question: Do you trust them?

      • bruce wilkie

        Not a chance. They’re pants are on fire.

    • Chuck Hannon

      In a rural state where you have to drive 30 minutes to get to a hospital raising gas taxes by .89 is insane.

  • timothy price

    The “government, any government, only knows how to increase taxes. They do it very well, constantly, and are pretty good at it. Solving real issues…. meh, not so much. But they think that they have to do “something”. Like our medical establishment,.. they do much more economic and physical damage/harm than doing less would accomplish. Politicians seem to be devoid of creative solutions that are effective.

    Educate people about how to reduce fossil fuel uses; construct our infrastructure to be well insulated, efficient in collecting natural solar gain; encourage crop culture to use “waste” within communities… ie. recycle human waste products for agricultural use; build topsoil to absorb carbon (this is a huge storehouse of carbon). Prioritized efficient mass transit development… and design for pedestrians and bicycles.

    Reverse the policies of “use more fuel, pay less” practices of suppliers. Graduate the cost of fuels as with income taxes. The more fossil fuel a person consumes, the higher the cost. Also, the Federal Reserve policy of maintaining at least 2% inflation is backwards and upside down. The claim it encourages buying as people want to “get it before the price goes up”. But that encourages consumption. We want to encourage conservation.. so deflation is good for the environment.. and to the population as well. Not so good for the banksters.

    There is also strong evidence that increasing carbon content in the atmosphere has a positive impact that outweighs any negative. Do an online search about the benefits of increasing CO2 in the atmosphere and learn.

    Finally, hold our politicians in Was
    fairlee, VT

  • Don peterson

    I wonder if we would have won WWII had we attempted to mobilize support via tax policy.

    Doubtful. The reason climate change policy meets so much resistance is that the burden is not being placed fairly on the population. More importantly, the rewards of mitigation are reserved for the investor class, with rest of us paying with our dollars and our land.

    • Don peterson

      To carry my analogy a step further: I personally would submit to some kind of WWII rationing as I believe we are in a war; but what I will never submit to the will of a Governor who sells our mountains and farmland to the highest bidder and then goes via jet to Paris to brag about it.
      The breaking point in the book “Animal Farm” came when the pigs starting wearing silk dresses.

      • Bruce S. Post

        Don, thank you for daring to utter the “R” word, rationing. Climate issues are symptoms of a larger threat: hyper-consumption and increasing destruction of the Earth’s bounty. And, if the consequences of climate disruption are so existentially great, why are the proposed solutions so disproportionally small?

        • “… disproportionally small?” Immorally small.

      • Randy Jorgensen

        Good discussion, Don.

        ” I personally would submit to some kind of WWII rationing as I believe we are in a war”

        What I find interesting is that I have yet to hear one proponent of the carbon tax propose simple measures of reducing Co2. They turn right to a “tax” to curb behavior, when it much simpler to start out with things such as reducing the state speed limit, in an effort to reduce Co2.”

        Why, because it wouldn’t funnel any money into the a “select” few’s piggy banks, the ones that stand to profit handsomely from the remaining 10%-20% of the money left over from the carbon tax. That money flow will be directed by the state, and the legislators, to their buddies, with their lobbyists. They’re the ones who will reap the money that us average folks have to fork over with a carbon tax.

    • Elizabeth Parker

      World War II cost American taxpayers for decades. War is always a tax policy decision. War is paid for the government.

    • John Greenberg

      Don Peterson:

      “I wonder if we would have won WWII had we attempted to mobilize support via tax policy.”

      I’m not sure what you mean by “mobilize support via tax policy,” but as a point of fact, income tax rates went up in 1940, 1941, 1942, 1943 and 1944. They remained at 1944 levels in 1945, declining the next year. In other words, the US DID raise rates to pay for the war. http://taxfoundation.org/sites/taxfoundation.org/files/docs/fed_individual_rate_history_nominal.pdf

      Last I heard, we won.

      • Don peterson

        I’ll be more succinct: we didn’t tax people into believing WWII was a necessary sacrifice; people bought bonds and paid taxes because they knew it was necessary.

        And the burden was applied to all, not just to the politically disconnected.

        Don’t expect progress on climate change when only the rural parts of Vermont carry the water for the I-89 corridor. As currently framed, Vermonts climate policy looks like a classic “reverse Robin Hood”. And the sheriff of Nottingham is eating croissants in Paris as I write.

  • Wendy Wilton

    Voters and the media should pay attention to this issue, because it could pass through this thoughtless legislature and a careless governor will sign it as one of the parting gifts to the ‘climate cause’. I know so many working Vermonters living paycheck to paycheck who cannot afford this boutique deal. Fuel is expensive enough today for those folks who keep the thermostat down, don’t drive excess miles, and certainly don’t make decent incomes like Paul Burns of VPIRG or Jon Erickson of UVM. Many will have no choice but to leave the state or go on assistance. The state is already in a financial bind from increasing Medicaid…such a crazy policy will make our fiscal woes even worse. The green jobs promised from solar and wind have not materialized…only lined the pockets of millionaires.

    Thank you for hosting the debate. I certainly do hope that experienced, prominent Democrats will not allow the passage of this proposal. It’s up to them to stop the insanity here. The Republicans are already opposed.

    Note to voters: elect more Republicans to bring balance to our state government. VPIRG would not advance such initiatives if the state government were more balanced.

    • Keith Stern

      elect more Republicans to bring balance to our state government. Elect more reasoning, common sense, strong conservatives. RINOs are not the answer. Unless Phil Scott proves me wrong he is not the answer.

    • Cairn Cross

      Wendy just because I think facts are important and you have said that Paul Burns and Jon Erickson make “decen”t incomes I note that in the 2013 990 for VPIRG as reported by Guidestar Mr. Burns made approximately $47K. From the salary report published by UVM (http://www.uvm.edu/~oir/sr/sr14.pdf) Jon Erickson’s pay for 2014 is $117K. This is public information and people can draw their own conclusions from this

    • Cairn Cross

      Also for full disclosure the 990s for Ethan Allen Institute as reported on Guidestar for 2014 indicate that Rob Roper made $50K and John McClaughry made $22K. Now we have all the salary “facts” for the debaters.

  • H. Brooke Paige

    Highway Robbery dressed up real fancy is still just Highway Robbery !

  • June Cook

    Comparing “same sex marriage” legislation to “massive carbon tax” indicates the paucity of Mr. Burns (VPIRG) propaganda and sound-bite argument which is an insult to anyone’s intelligence. The analogy is totally fallacious and has nothing in common — it’s is about “VT being the first” — that may feel good to some but doesn’t address the reality. Statements about saving money and creating jobs — that’s simply what it is — blowing bubbles without sustenance. Such statements should be backed up with hard data — not just someone’s predictions. The Lowell Wind project was going to create 700 jobs when it was promoted. How many did it create? One, two if any.

    Reality about the carbon tax — I am retired and heat my home with oil (which is as friendly as burning wood and pellets and denuding the countryside of every living tree and adding to CO2 emissions and destroying organic matter in the process); drive because I live in a rural area, and have “affordable” rental property (heated with oil) that I supply the heat. I don’t qualify for subsidies and am not wealthy — just average middle income — this will bankrupt my ability to live here. No great loss, maybe, but what happens when enough people in my situation are forced to fire sale and leave. Will VIPRG pick up the vacuum?

    The “net-metering” solar panels forces me — an others in this position — who are not wealthy enough to install solar panels, not poor enough to qualify for anything — to pay the brunt of the bill.

    Just a thought: The total dependence on electricity as the future is short-sighted when someone pulls the plug on the “grid.”

  • Kathy Leonard

    Putting Paul Burns and John McClaughry in the same room could only produce more heat than light. These are two of the most abrasive, repellant public figures I’ve seen in Vermont. This event only served to reinforce pre-existing stereotypes on both sides of this issue. Not helpful.

  • Tom Sullivan

    It’s a money grab. If it wasn’t, the Vt carbon tax bill would be revenue neutral. It’s a bad idea, which is why many democratic lawmakers are not supporting this carbon tax. Realistically, If you push for such a massive tax, constituents (especially in economically challenged areas) are going to be handing out pink slips next November, which will bode well for republicans. So go ahead, show your support.

  • Jacob Gregory

    So, VPIRG is up in arms about carbon releases and wants to push a carbon tax, yet they led the charge to run Vermont Yankee out of town. Pretty hypocritical, I’d say. VY generated carbon-free electricity that was close to the total amount used by the state of Vermont, yet VPIG and others fought it for years and finally ran it off, along with 600 jobs for decent, hard working, educated people.

  • Elizabeth Parker

    As I sat at the Carbon Pollution Tax Debate, I was touched by the desire if both sides to stimulate the economy. With 166,000 Vermonters living at 185% of the poverty level or below, which is an annual income of a little over $21K, we have an obligation to support a moral economy where all Vermonters make a living wage and have enough to save for their retirement. Currently approximately 44,000 Vermonter’s over the age of 65 live solely on Social Security. These people living on inadequate incomes and cannot afford high energy costs. We as a state cannot afford to let billions of dollars drain out of our state for fossil fuel each year. Vermont’s economy must become more self reliant so that better jobs can be created paying a living wage and raise up the plight of 1/4 of vermont’s population.
    Certainly Vermonters treasure our landscape. Today the pursuit of fossil fuel is destroying landscapes and water quality in other parts of the world. Tar sands, fracking, rigs in the Gulf and North Sea, Syria razed while oil flows. Can we with good conscious continues to allow the decimation of our planet?
    I fail to see how the argument that Vermont’s contribution to the reduction of global warming is insignificant. We must all as a planet change our behavior together. We as a planet must create a healthy economy.
    There was another argument I did not understand. That solar and wind power cannot survive without government subsidies. When I think of the huge amount of government support that has been given over the last seventy years to the nuclear power industry, I would argue that all new power systems require government support. Sadly, the Gen IV nuclear power has many kinks yet to work out. With Vernon siting on our southern border with no plan for proper decommissioning, Vermont faces nuclear cleanup with no Help from Entegy or the federal government. Do we really want to get in this situation again? If nuclear was a clean option, I would advocate it. Say, it just isn’t. And yet the federal government still pours money into this harmful option.
    There are costs for wind. In England there are many windmills that have been running for hundreds of years. Yes, windmills make noise and have an impact on the landscape. when a better option arises they can be taken down and repurposed. There are costs for solar. As we progress in the development of the technology we will be able to develop sustainable units.
    I am excited to imagine the new clean energy sources we will develop!
    Reinvesting tax dollars in weatherization, improved public transportation (a five year public transportation bill was passed by the Feds this week!), fuel pumps and other energy saving projects stimulates the Vermont economy and gives support to the 166,000 Vermonters who do not have enough to make ends meet. The argument that companies will leave Vermont does not make sense to me. If they are not looking at the triple bottom line then good ridance! Vermont by its actions attracts like minded people. Create a clean, renewable energy economy and those committed to clean renewable energy will come. Those born in Vermont who truly love their land and their people will stop telling the story of victim hood and start to embrace a story of empowerment and we can do and we are profiting from doing a better way.
    It is time to choose the story of empowering all Vermonters. It is time for a moral economy. It is time for self reliance. It is time for joining together to create an economy that serves all Vermonters and our beautiful environment! In the end this is something I hope both sides can agree upon.i urge lawmakers to take leadership and adopt a Carbon Pollution Tax this session.

    • Craig Powers

      No more TAXES, Elizabeth. Pie in the sky dreams and income redistribution at it’s worst. That is all the carbon tax really is…

      Do you really trust Montpelier bureaucrats to manage this? Just looked at the 200 million wasted on Vermont Health Connect! What about increases in property taxes year after year, even though enrollment continues to slide downward. What about the heroin infiltration into VT….?

  • Chaunce Benedict

    If you think we have a problem right now with declining population, shrinking school enrollments, state budget deficits, stagnated economy, etc., just wait for the carbon tax! Watch the for sale signs go up en masse. Watch working people suffer and drown in the morass of ever-increasing taxation and regulation. Watch the state empty out, the ski and tourism industry dry up and blow away. Watch the Vermont economy wheeze along into a complete blow out.

    How stupid an idea this carbon tax. On a national level, perhaps a plausible ideas worth exploring. However, its amazing that people have devoted so much time and energy cooking up this proposed carbon tax so that little ole Vermont can save the world from climate change.

    For goodness sake, everyone, let’s move away from this stupendously ideological Nanny State idea, on to more constructive discussion and thinking about what we can do to help our precious state’s people grow and prosper, including a reasonable set of strategies to do our part to address global climate change.

    • Charles Hannon

      The problem is schools need to be closed. Twin Valley has started a new program encouraging kids from Denmark to come be Exchange Students in Whitingham. Its sole purpose is to bump up the number of kids. We do not get a dime from the Danish government. We can’t afford to educate our own children. Why bring in more? To justify teacher to student ratio?

  • John Grady


    People protest a pipeline but not a airport ? TV show about oil mentioned air travel consumes 9% of the oil America uses.


    Rich people flying to their probably very large vacation homes that consume tons of energy and not a peep about it yet Joe Six Pack should be nailed for trying to earn a living and stay warm.


    Another energy guzzling tourist trap and nobody protesting ?


    Vacation land for flat landers is an economic disaster.


    Great chart about health care by age. How much of Vermont’s exploding Medicaid bill is due to the aging population many of whom have transferred assets out of their own names while taxpayers foot the nursing home bills ? I witnessed the health care industry in action when my parents got old and sick. Pointless office visits, pointless physical therapy and tons of waste.

    Vermont’s economy depends on oil and when the price of oil goes up a real lot the state is going to hurt real bad. Peak Cheap Oil is real so Vermont should be building a NEW Economy to be prepared for the future instead of clinging to the failing tourist trap economy while being addicted to oil.

    Fix the Medicaid spending for elderly.
    Fix the schools spending.
    Fix the old housing problem.

    Become competitive by reducing the base cost of living so there are jobs for young people.
    Vermont used to make things to export to other states and should target getting back into that business because shipping stuff from China sure isn’t GREEN.

    Want to be a leader in change than dump the 20th Century mentality.
    32 hour work weeks.
    Flexible 9 to 3 jobs for woman with school age children so they can watch them when they are young and they aren’t running wild as teenagers.

    America tried to have it all and became a rat race. Re-engineer the economy. Energy efficient houses near jobs to reduce the need to drive, fewer work hours. McMansion Nation has failed and any other way of life is an abstraction to the ME Generation.

    Auto loans, students loans, mortgages and credit card debt is unreal. The population is killing itself to pay interest and to pay for tons of waste in health care & education. The drug and crime wave Vermont and other states are suffering is because of lack of opportunity for young people in McJob Nation.

  • Carl Werth

    “Everybody’s desperate,
    trying to make ends meet
    Work all day, still can’t pay the price of gasoline and meat
    Alas, their lives are incomplete.”

    From “Mohammed’s Radio” by Warren Zevon.

  • Vested interests on both sides of the debate.

  • Glenn Thompson

    VPRIG’s Paul Burns attempt to compare the proposal of passing a carbon tax to that of Gay Marriage could be the most absurd comparison of all time! Gay marriage had no impact on taxation, negatively impacting rural Vermonters, putting Vermont at an economic disadvantage with neighboring border states. Negatively impacting lower income Vermonters…..and I could add many more! Burn’s comparison becomes more ridiculous when one considers Gay Marriage applied only to the country, unlike energy usage which applies to the entire world. If Burns believes a carbon passed by Vermont is going to influence energy and economy policies of India and China, Burns is living in a different world.

    Erickson and Burns goes on to say this!

    “the carbon tax would reduce Vermont’s sales tax by $1 billion over the next 10 years, cut the sales tax by $600 million, save state employers $850 million, and provide $270 million worth of energy-saving improvements to low-income Vermonters, and in so doing would save Vermonters around $150 million each year in energy costs.”

    I seriously doubt these figures are anywhere’s near accurate, but if true, that is an enormous amount of money that is going to be redistributed. Someone is going to pay for it, and it doesn’t take a genius to understand….WHO!

    Looking at this Carbon Proposal from an overall perspective. In the end whatever Vermont does will not show up in numbers large enough to measure in regards to controlling the climate (if that is even possible). The impact by putting forward such a short sighted plan will be noticed by most Vermonters in a very negative manner!

  • Stuart Friedman

    Let’s get disabused of the idea that the 1777 Vermont Constitution abolished slavery, it did not such thing:

    “Therefore, no male person, born in this country, or brought from over sea, ought to be holden by Law, to serve any person, as a Servant, Slave or Apprentice, after he arrives to the age of twenty-one Years, nor female, in like manner, after she arrives to the age of eighteen years, unless they are bound by their own consent, after they arrive to such age, or bound by Law, for the Payment of Debts, Damages, Fines, Costs, or the like.”

    • Bruce S. Post

      Excellent point, Stuart. Too many people, particularly politicians, like to make this boast without knowing the reality. See more here: http://vtdigger.org/2014/02/23/state-historian-finds-imprecise-end-slavery-vermont/

      • John McClaughry

        I totally agree – but I was well aware that Vermont didn’t abolish ALL slavery in 1777 – just adult slavery. Vermont has every right to be proud of being first to do that.

  • Paul Lorenzini

    This sound like just another reason to drive over to Hew Hampshire for a tank of gas and provisions.

  • Kristin Sohlstrom

    About that pesky “97% of all scientists agree” talking point…this is how the Sierra Club president responded about it just a couple of months ago during Senate hearings. You draw your own conclusion. I suspect those of you who donate to them will (and SHOULD) give that a second thought.

    BTW, good job EAI in reminding VPIRG, VT isn’t just their state to run. In fact, we aren’t their state at all. They can disband and disappear at any time now.


    • Walter Gustafson

      Just want to make sure folks are aware that the reference above is written by Jame’s Taylor, a Senior Fellow at the Heartland Institute. The Heartland Institute is well known for being incredibly biased and receives massive funding from the fossil fuel industry. Donors like Exxon Mobil came under fire for funding the Heartland Institute’s climate change denial, and in turn, the Heartland Institute no longer discloses their funding sources……draw whatever conclusions you will from the lack of transparency. Feel free to check out more here: http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php/Heartland_Institute

      On another note, many of their studies which claim anthropogenic climate change is false come from scientists who have no background in atmospheric climate science at all. Is a PhD geologist a scientist? Yes. However, would he/she be able to give an expert opinion on atmospheric climate science….No.

  • Alisha Stommel

    The fact that Roper and McClaughry are trying to argue that climate change is not issue or even real, shows just how self-serving and greedy they are. For the average Vermonter the carbon tax could over time reap many benefits. This tax on carbon is also an important step we can take as Vermonters to help preserve the environment for future generations.

    • John McClaughry

      Your comment reveals considerable ignorance on your part. Rob and I agreed that “climate change” (whatever that is) is “real” (whatever that means). By prior agreement with Burns and Ericson, the debate was limited to a carbon tax for Vermont. After agreeing to that, Burns couldn’t stop himself from calling us “deniers” and dragging out that ridiculous “97% of scientists agree” argument, just as you apparently can’t stop yourself from assailing people who have a different view of this issue as “self serving and greedy.”

      • Glenn Thompson

        This 97% figure that is constantly being tossed out there is getting old. Having spent a considerable amount of time researching how this figure came about….it would be the equivalent of the NRA asking its members if they favor the 2nd amendment and then running with it to mislead the public that the entire country would be the same % as what the NRA believes!

        What we need is a new survey. A comprehensive survey that would include “experts” from all fields of expertise related to climate change and weather patterns. That would Climate Scientists right down to Meteorologists and everyone in between. Also the questionnaire must be made up several questions that would give the public a better idea of the positions by the ‘experts’. Multiple questions would also prevent the “Cherry Picking” which is obvious in the heavily slanted and politically charged 97% survey.

        • John Greenberg

          Glenn Thompson:

          “it would be the equivalent of the NRA asking its members if they favor the 2nd amendment and then running with it to mislead the public that the entire country would be the same % as what the NRA believes!”

          How would it be like that?

          I’ve quoted 2 sources for the figure.

          The first is an opinion survey of earth scientists by Doran and Zimmerman. It clearly and explicitly distinguishes between the opinions of all those who took the survey, those who were most specialized in the field, and the opinions of the population in general. To use your analogy, it would the equivalent of surveying NRA members, finding that most favor the 2nd amendment, then noting that those who own more than 1 gun (I’m obviously making this up) favor the 2nd amendment by even higher numbers than the general membership, and finally noting that the entire country does NOT believe in the amendment at anything close to the percentage that the NRA members do.

          The study concludes by noting that: “the debate on the authenticity of global warming and the role played by human activity is largely nonexistent among those who understand the nuances and scientific basis of long-term climate processes,” but that the “public … continues to mistakenly perceive debate among scientists.” That’s precisely the opposite of what your analogy would suggest.

          The 2nd is a literature survey by Cook and makes no pretense of suggesting anything whatsoever about the opinions of the lay public.

          Sorry, Glenn, but your analogy does not properly represent either source for the 97% figure. Indeed, it directly contradicts the first, and simply bypasses the second.

    • Rob Roper

      This is exactly the question we raised at the Debate, Alisha, and which VPIRG did not answer. Nobody said climate change is not an issue. Even if you agree with all the science of the alarmists regarding the problem, the same science says that adopting wind and solar, etc even on a global scale, will not solve the problem. Therefore, when you and others say “this tax on carbon is an important step we can take to preserve the environment for future generations,” you are lying through your teeth. Please show me the science that says adopting this tax — even if we inspired every other nation on earth to follow our example — will alter climate trends over the course of the century in a way that preserves the climate status quo, or even anything resembling the status quo. If you insist that it will, as Paul Burns did, you are the science denier.

      • John Greenberg

        Rob Roper:
        “Even if you agree with all the science of the alarmists regarding the problem, the same science says that adopting wind and solar, etc even on a global scale, will not solve the problem.”

        Could you please provide some documentation for this claim?

  • John Grady


    Rent $30 a month and a $400 rebate.
    People could buy one for $1,000 plus installation and it’s paid for in about 4 years without a rebate. Efficiency Vermont could loan people money instead of luring them into a lease that will cost a lot of money over the years.


    $42 a month and a $300 rebate.
    Why not just get a 5 year loan and than own it ?

    People are claiming if a carbon tax is passed money will stay in Vermont. Who owns Green Mountain Power ?
    Does the high profit on leases made by GMP keep our electric bills down at the expense of the people lured into a high dollar lease based on a rebate ? Who cooked up this deal, some guy from Hoboken NJ ?

    • Randy Jorgensen

      Bravo John! It’s all to hook people on GMP, EFV is lock and step in cahoots with GMP/GOV. It’s all a shill game. And we are like cooking frogs in the pot.

  • Elizabeth Parker

    NYTimes today p9 Global Fossil Fuel Subsidies Dwarf Funding Commitment to Climate Change according to The international Monetary Fund the global total subsidies for fossil fuel are $5.3 trillion. Subsidies come out of government budgets funded from taxes. To be pro fossil fuel is to be complicit with this huge subsidy. We have choices on which power we subsidize.

  • John McClaughry

    “I heard the other side say that one side of this debate will embrace science, and it clearly wasn’t intended to refer to our side,” McClaughry said”
    What I actually said was ““I heard the other side say that one side of this debate will embrace science. That would be our side.” But bear in mind that we agreed beforehand that we wouldn’t debate “climate science”. We were there to debate the advisability of a carbon tax for Vermont. So early in the proceedings Burns/Ericson claimed they they and only they were devoted to climate science.
    For the record, here is my long-held view on the matter, plus a couple of recent online references to articles explaining why reasonable middle of the roaders are increasingly leery of the wild claims made by the VPIRG-Sanders-Gore type advocates.
    Global Warming Statement 1/3/07

    “Planet earth warms and cools in many cycles, influenced by variations in the earth’s orbit, the tilting and precession of the axis, solar irradiance, cosmic ray flux, solar magnetic fluctuations, oceanic decadal oscillations, cloud cover variations, and terrestrial emissions of water vapor, carbon dioxide, methane, volcanic ash and other gases.
    From 1850 to 1940, long before anthropogenic carbon dioxide emissions became significant, the planet warmed significantly as it emerged from the Little Ice Age. Again since 1977 earth has experienced a slight global warming trend in the lower troposphere, where the greenhouse gas effect is greatest.”
    “There is no scientific evidence for detectable anthropogenic global climate forcing that produces these recurring effects; and there is little or no prospect that human intervention, even at enormous economic and social cost, can detectably alter the result of these natural processes.”
    John McClaughry [AB physics 1958 , MS nuclear engineering 1960]
    Addendum 2015:
    These two articles are reasonable and moderate critiques of the “Climate Change” belief, and explain why the authors find that belief unsupported.

    Matt Ridley (UK), “The Climate Wars’ Damage to Science”, Quadrant OnLine (Australia), June 2015. https://quadrant.org.au/magazine/2015/06/climate-wars-done-science/

    David Siegel (Switzerland), “What Should We Do About Climate Change?” RealClearPolitics 11/30/15 http://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2015/11/30/what_should_we_do_about_climate_change_128876.html

    • Fred Moss

      Mr. Burns actually used the 97% study as part of his argument???? Everyone that has researched this even a tiny amount knows that study is false. 75 out of 77 scientist don’t represent the world when it comes to consensus. For all you die hard global warming believers, this should cause concern for you. You are being lied too. At least investigate for yourself!!!

  • Lee Russ

    And what do Misters McClaughry and Roper say to EXXON:

    “…if you visit Exxon’s website, you will find that the company believes climate change is real, that governments should take action to combat it and that the most sensible action would be a revenue-neutral tax on carbon … With no government action, Exxon experts told us during a visit to The Post last week, average temperatures are likely to rise by a catastrophic (my word, not theirs) 5 degrees Celsius, with rises of 6, 7 or even more quite possible.” https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/even-exxonmobil-says-climate-change-is-real-so-why-wont-the-gop/2015/12/06/913e4b12-9aa6-11e5-b499-76cbec161973_story.html?wpmm=1&wpisrc=nl_opinions

    Or about these:

    Asked by what he thought was a representative of a coal company if he could produce a report “to counter damaging research linking coal to premature deaths (in particular the World Health Organization’s figure that 3.7 million people die per year from fossil fuel pollution),” Professor Frank Clemente of Penn State “said that this was within his skill set; that he could be quoted using his university job title; and that it would cost around $15,000 for an 8–10 page paper. He also explained that he charged $6,000 for writing a newspaper op-ed. When asked whether he would need to declare where the money came from, Professor Clemente said: ‘There is no requirement to declare source funding in the US.’” http://energydesk.greenpeace.org/2015/12/08/exposed-academics-for-hire/

    Department of Defense “Report on Security Implications of Climate Change”–{this] report reinforces the fact that global climate change will have wide-ranging implications for U.S. national security interests over the foreseeable future because it will aggravate existing problems such as poverty, social tensions, environmental degradation, ineffectual leadership, and weak political institutions that threaten domestic stability in a number of countries.” http://www.defense.gov/News/News-Releases/News-Release-View/Article/612812

    • Fred Moss

      I read the article from the post Lee. Did you? I like the part where he writes ” they told me with no action the temp will rise 6, 7 degrees Celsius. Really?? Who said that, what name? Rise that much in what time period?? 10,000 years? Nobody is denying the climate is changing. It has been and will continue to do so. The issue is being taxed to death to combat something that we have essentially no control over.

      • Lee Russ

        Of course I read it. Your statement that “we have essentially no control over it” is based on what? You don’t think human activity is causing or significantly contributing to it? Or that we can’t reduce the human contribution to it? If the former, even EXXON says you’re wrong. If the latter, that’s a pretty hasty conclusion, based on ..what?