Environment

Vermont ‘nowhere near’ climate change goals, panel hears

Members of the Governor’s Climate Action Commission. Photo by Mike Polhamus/VTDigger

Vermont is “nowhere near” meeting goals set in law and policy to stem the state’s contribution to global climate change, members of the governor’s climate change commission heard at their first meeting Tuesday.

Moreover, President Donald Trump has made it uncertain whether the Environmental Protection Agency will continue to have and make available key tools and data sources needed for Vermonters to address global climate change, task force members were told.

“We’re nowhere near achieving the type of (greenhouse gas) reductions we need to reach our goals,” said Jeff Merrell, the Department of Environmental Conservation’s air quality planning section chief and a speaker at the task force meeting.

Not much is already in place to dramatically change that outlook, Merrell said. It will be the task force’s responsibility to come up with solutions, according to the executive order Gov. Phil Scott signed last month to form the group.

Those solutions must add to the profit for Vermont businesses, while making the state more affordable, Scott’s executive order states. The task force must “engage all Vermonters” while coming up with these solutions, according to the executive order. The task force must also, according to the executive order, provide ways for every Vermonter to reduce his or her carbon dioxide pollution while simultaneously saving money.

The task force must also ensure that solutions they propose do not “negatively impact the other goals and values of the state,” said Peter Walke, the Agency of Natural Resources’ deputy secretary, and the chairman of the commission.

To aid in this effort, Scott says, the commission can form a technical advisory group, composed of experts who could be relied upon by the commission to provide “expertise and analysis of technical issues,” according to his order.

But before the commission’s first meeting, Scott appointed two co-chairs to the technical advisory group.

The first, Kevin Jones, is a professor of energy technology and policy at Vermont Law School. Jones holds a Ph.D. from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, a master’s degree from the LBJ School of Public Affairs, and a science degree from UVM.

The other co-chair of the technical advisory group, Annette Smith, said “no comment” when asked what qualifications she holds for the position. Smith has said that she earned a history degree from Vassar College.

Smith’s approach to technical subjects diverges from that of many established experts.

Smith, who runs Vermonters for a Clean Environment, has dismissed the value of peer review as a way to establish the validity of scientific claims, and said she prefers “real-world, anecdotal, on-the-ground” evidence to support her beliefs.

Smith’s beliefs have included the belief that airplane “chemtrails” (a term used to describe airplane contrails by people who believe the contrails’ water vapor is actually chemical or biological agents) are responsible for “dimming the sun” and altering the Earth’s climate, as she stated on a comment on the VTDigger.org website in 2014.

Smith has also said that sound produced by wind turbines causes cardiac illness, and a range of other health disorders. This view counters findings last year by the Vermont commissioner of health, who said no scientific research has established a causal link between the sound of wind turbines and any physiological human harms.

Smith’s views on wind-turbine sound also conflict with findings from numerous large-scale studies commissioned by various governments, including Massachusetts and Canada. Smith in May accused the Canadian government of falsifying a 2012 report that found no causal connection between human ailments and wind turbine noise.

Smith is, however, the state’s most prominent opponent of wind energy, and Scott ran for governor on a promise to oppose large-scale wind generation projects.

One member of the governor’s commission took issue with the selection of Smith to the Technical Advisory Group.

“The Scott Administration naming chairs, without a Commission conversation about the charge of the TAG, the credible experts that should comprise it — no less chair it — calls into question the independence, transparency and, ultimately, the integrity of the Commission,” said Vermont Natural Resources Council Energy & Climate Program Director Johanna Miller — a member of the commission.

“It’s disappointing and disturbing,” Miller said by email. “We asked for this Commission, and we want it to succeed. Without a fresh start – revisiting this preemptive decision at the first Commission meeting – I fear it’s destined for failure.”

Walke acknowledged this seeming disparity between the technical advisory group’s title and its co-chair.

“I know it’s been the source of some consternation,” he said, and during the meeting said nothing more on the subject.

Should the commission succeed in bringing Vermont’s greenhouse emissions in line with the state’s statutory goals, it will have accomplished an enormous task — dramatically reducing greenhouse emissions while benefitting Vermonters in numerous other ways.

Evidence shows that such a change is hard to achieve. The most recent data available, from a report the ANR published in July, shows that the state’s greenhouse gas emissions have remained more or less steady for the past 25 years.

Members of the commission said they understood the significance of the task they faced.

“I think we’re at a transformative moment in world history, a critical moment,” said Paul Costello, executive director at the Vermont Council on Rural Development, and the commission’s co-chair.

“The historical imperative we face is the most important one we face as a species,” Costello said at the meeting’s close. “We’ve got some hard work to do.”

The commission must deliver to Scott’s desk by the beginning of 2018 three recommendations that he can immediately act upon, Costello said, and the commission must by next July write a report with specific long-term policy and planning recommendations.

The commission will conduct four public meetings to suss out Vermonters’ feelings on the topic of global climate change, and to hear what potential suggestions they might have.

A tentative schedule of these meetings puts one in St. Johnsbury on Sept.14, another in Manchester on Sept. 21, another in St. Albans on Sept. 28, and a fourth in Springfield or nearby on Oct. 5.

The commission itself will meet, members said, on the second Thursday of every month — Oct. 12, Nov. 9 and Dec. 14 to begin with.

Walke said he’d aim to create a website soon where Vermonters would be able to submit comments on what the commission is hoping to achieve.

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  • Dave Bellini

    A near no win scenario. Most consumer decisions are driven by the reality of cost. So, all electric cars might happen someday but both the technology and the price have to get better. I had an energy audit by Efficiency Vermont. So now I know what would make my home more efficient except, the cost is prohibitive.
    As to sources of power in general, it seems like there’s an advocacy group against most sources of power. Nuclear? Too dangerous and creates radioactive waste. Coal? Too dirty? Wind? Holy cow not that. Remember the once popular bumper sticker, seen on nearly every Volvo 240 D station wagon: “Split wood not atoms” ?? Well wood is now “biomass” or something and it produces carbon dioxide. Consequently, wood ain’t good. Solar? Who could that offend? But those ugly solar farms are destroying the view and landscape. What’s left? Hydro power? Someone tell me, is that killing fish or snails or are dams bad? Oil? no that’s pollution. Natural gas? Heck no, there’s the pipelines and fracking. Maybe, move to a warmer climate but that would mean air conditioners……………

    • Dan DeCoteau

      My mother told me to never get into a peeing contest with a skunk. Common sense has been replaced by climate religion. It doesn’t matter what you say or present to the climate alarmists, they are right you are wrong. It does not matter to them that their policies will harm the working poor with no discernible effect on mother nature and the earths climate. Trying to prove the impossible is the goal of the climate change believers. If they baffle us with studies, statistic, charts, graphs and computer models and try to scare the sheet out of us what is the end result? Nothing! The only change generated by these so-called climate engineers is they will cause people hardship from more taxation and for what? So they can feel good about trying to change the earths weather, an impossible task as hard as trying to win a peeing contest with a skunk!

  • Peter Chick

    Why do I get the notion these people will not be satisfied until I am living in a cave?

    • Townsend Peters

      They don’t want you to live in a cave. The rising waters will probably fill it anyway.

      • Willem Post

        Townsend,

        There is enough land ice left, that, if melted in about 2000 years, would inundate a lot of US eastern Seaboard, including all of New York City, etc., and Brattleboro, VT.

        Folks would just move elsewhere, just as when the North Sea and Channel was created about 15,000 – 20,000 years ago.

        At one time the UK and Ireland were connected to Europe. There was no North Sea and no Channel.

  • Tom Hughes

    In order to achieve Vermont’s climate goals the commission must recommend more comprehensive strategies than have been tried to date. Without bolder recommendations – and swift action by the governor and General Assembly – the naysayers who mock gubernatorial commissions as the place that good ideas go to die will be proved right once again.

    If the commissioners and the governor are serious about their assignment, there is an effective climate strategy that conforms to all of the governor’s conditions and is working elsewhere: carbon pollution pricing.

    As President George W. Bush’s Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson wrote in the New York Times, a price on carbon pollution would “unleash a wave of innovation to develop technologies, lower the costs of clean energy and create jobs.” Want proof?

    • California implemented a price on carbon pollution in 2013, and has created 1.5 million new jobs since then. That’s almost three times as many new jobs in California as there are Vermonters.

    • The Canadian province of British Columbia introduced a carbon pollution price in 2008 and their economy’s growth has outpaced every other Canadian province the last three years running. In fact, the policy has been so successful that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is implementing a nationwide carbon price next year.

    • And look no further than Vermont. Republican Gov. Jim Douglas authorized Vermont’s first price on carbon pollution in the electric sector by joining the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative – and it is working. The economies in the nine RGGI states are growing faster – and emissions from the electric sector are falling faster – than in those states outside the compact. As the Vermont 2017 Clean Energy Industry Report notes, “since 2013, clean energy employment has grown by 29 percent in Vermont, which amounts to a total of just over 19,000 jobs.” You can’t argue with that success.

    There is a reason that economists from across the political spectrum – distinguished number crunchers like Joseph Stiglitz, Lawrence Summers, Jeffrey Sachs, Robert Reich, Gregory Mankiw, Martin Feldstein – all support carbon pollution pricing: It’s smart economics.

    By returning the carbon pollution revenue to Vermonters in the form of tax cuts or dividends every Vermonter would be engaged. We would have both the incentive and the means to transition to the cleaner, more advanced technologies of the 21st century – growing jobs and putting many more Vermonters to work.

    Finally, when it comes to saving Vermonters money, the sooner we transition off of fossil fuels the better. Even at today’s low gasoline prices, it costs about one-third less to drive an electric vehicle in Vermont than one powered by an internal combustion engine. An electric heat pump delivers BTUs to a home or business more cost-effectively than an oil burning furnace. Carbon pollution pricing is a market-driven solution that encourages adoption of these and other low-carbon, low-cost technologies that save Vermonters money.

    The transition to the clean energy future is a win-win for the Vermont economy and our climate.

    • John Freitag

      It is understandable that Tom Hughes, who has a job promoting a carbon tax in Vermont, would make this case. It is also understandable that a carbon tax on a national basis is supported by “economists from across the political spectrum” and has the potential for being a very positive action in our efforts to address climate change. What is not understandable is why people would think a stand alone carbon tax in Vermont would work. Given, the inability of Vermont to enact single payer health care, another concept worthy of national consideration, combined with our experience of the complex and poorly implemented Vermont Health Connect, people are right to be very wary of a well intended but totally impractical and potentially very damaging Vermont carbon tax.

    • Willem Post

      Tom,
      British Columbia, your info is out of date.

      Proponents of the carbon tax point to it being a success in British Columbia, Canada.

      BC’s levy started at $9 per metric ton in 2008, and gradually increased to $27 per metric ton in 2012, or about 23 c/gallon; much less than Vermont.

      I would be in favor of the BC carbon tax, but only if it were

      1) NOT used for government programs

      2) FULLY reimbursed

      3) Adopted all over the US.

      BCs carbon tax was initially CLAIMED to be 100% reimbursed by means of reductions in personal and business income tax rates.

      However, that turned out NOT TO BE TRUE. The reimbursements were restricted bit by bit, to finance various government programs. See URLs.

      http://business.financialpo

      https://www.fraserinstitute

      • JohnGreenberg

        None of what you say here contradicts anything Tom Hughes said above about BC.

  • bobstannard

    Annette Smith as co-chair of a climate goals commission? Seriously Gov. Scott? Was it her credentials that persuaded you to make this decision or her committment to renewable energy?

    • Anna Vesely

      Annette Smith is not a member of the 21-person Climate Action Committee. She has been appointed a co-chairperson of the commission’s technical advisory group. Her responsibilities are to seek out people with relevant technical expertise and to submit their names to the commission’s co-chairs.

      • bobstannard

        That’s comforting.

  • Judging from the constraints imposed on this commission, and the appointment of Annette Smith to a position of authority, our governor is doing a splendid job of towing the line of the Republican Governor’s Association, and their funders the fossil fuel industry, while appearing to act in a concerted way on climate change.

    What good does economic growth do us if the planet is burning?

  • Townsend Peters

    The comments of environmental regulators Merrell and Walke, as reported in the article, do not acknowledge an important tool that the Agency of Natural Resources (ANR) has by law but has failed to implement to promote reductions in greenhouse gas emissions.

    That tool is a statutory requirement to adopt rules that set protocols to account for greenhouse gas emissions, including from fuel use, over the entire life cycle of the fuel or other emissions producer. Once adopted, all State agencies and political subdivisions are required to use these protocols.

    Doesn’t sound sexy, but once decisions made by State and local government start to use full analysis of greenhouse gas impacts, it will change the discussion of what the decision should be.

    By law, ANR was supposed to adopt these protocols by 9/1/13. Will the Scott Administration step up to the plate and adopt them? Will its climate change commission step up and push for adopting them?

    • John Freitag

      Hi Townsend,
      Do you know why the Shumlin administration failed to adopt by September 1, 2013 these rules to help meet the goals they set? Perhaps like stand alone single payer for Vermont, it is a worthy goal that is not practicable except in the context of a nationwide or large regional effort..

    • bill_christian

      I don’t see such policies as having any effect. Here is how we win and save the climate. We tax fossil fuels. We gradually raise their cost. People find ways to not burn them. There are many ways. Problem solved. It won’t be easy but this will actually make it happen. And it needs to happen.

  • Ryan Haac

    Of course climate change is man’s fault. Any view to the contrary represents an undeserving success on the account of the fossil fuel industry’s henchmen. Having said that, even ExxonMobile acknowledges climate change is a problem caused by humans.
    http://corporate.exxonmobil.com/en/current-issues/climate-policy/climate-perspectives/our-position
    The Earth’s climate changes on its own but not at the rate that is being observed now, without some sort of extinction level event. In that context, I think we are it…

    Here is an animation that shows how average yearly temperatures from around the world have increased since 1900ish: http://www.climatecentral.org/news/history-global-warming-animation-21670
    “One” could argue that humans aren’t to blame – it’s the machines humans invented that combust fuels. Pesky engines! But we would refer to that “one” as a fool.

    Yes, Global chemical pollution is a serious problem that has attributed to climate change. One way this is linked directly to human-generated climate change is from the manufacture, application, and runoff of agricultural pesticides.

    Too much of anything is a terrible thing. “Carbon dioxide is required for life.” Sure. So is water. But our lungs can’t extract oxygen from that fluid to breathe, so let’s keep our heads above it. As such, let’s keep the carbon dioxide as carbon.

    Solar panels require significant energy input to produce, transport, and install. True.
    Estimates for how long it takes a panel to be “energy positive” are 5-6 years. I think that’s a pretty good investment. How long does it take for oil and gas to be energy positive. Oh yea…never.

    Solar cells themselves do not degrade and do not need to be disposed of – they can be reused or left in place. Ultraviolet light causes the encapsulate (that holds the solar cells in place on the panel and isolates them electrically) to turn yellow, and thus slightly more opaque, which in turn causes a degradation in power output. So if you want to dispose of your solar panels – let me know – I’ll “dispose” of them on the roof of my barn.

  • Peter Chick

    By all means. Tell me how many of the panel are doing what you suggest? 0

  • Don Dalton

    “How easy it is to make people believe a lie, and [how] hard it is to undo that work again!” – Mark Twain
    That sums up (alarmist) climate science nicely. Thank you.

    • Robert Lehmert

      You’re missing a word –“denial” .

  • JohnGreenberg

    I applaud your skepticism, but not where it leads you.

    If you are aware of “an independent peer reviewed study rather than one by an advocatcy [sic] organization,” by all means tell us all about it.

    If not, why not READ the link and tell us yourself what you think is wrong with its facts, its reasoning, etc.

    Otherwise, your “skepticism” is really nothing more than a dialogue-stopper.

  • John French

    As complicated as the left is making climate change should be a big flag to all of us.When anybody wants to pull the wool over your eyes, they apply verbal jujitsu to convolute the whole process.

  • bill_christian

    Willem, in 1941, no one was making much progress against Hitler. That’s why we all quit and let him win. Oh, I just remembered. That’s not what we did. We mobilized, sacrificed, worked together, turned it around and won. That gives me an idea.

    • Willem Post

      Bill,

      Not quite,

      Pearl Harbor was treacherously attacked by Japan, and AFTER that the US had no choice but to declare war on Japan, Germany and Italy, the axis powers. The US had been sitting on the fence of neutrality.

      Russia was invaded by about 75% of Germany’s military power, and managed to beat them back to Berlin. Russia lost tens of millions of people doing that.

      The D-Day folks had to face about 25% of Germany’s military power, which by that time was running out of fuel, ammunition, planes, tanks, trucks and manpower. German children were sent to front lines.

      The US had a much rougher time fighting Japan, and would have lost many more troops, but Truman dropped the bomb which ended it.

  • bill_christian

    Annette Smith believes in chem trails. End of conversation. Santa Clause is far more more plausible. How will you discuss policies of great importance with someone who believes in chem trails? Her mind brings this same analytical power to wind farms. She thinks wind farm noise causes cardiac disease, yet riding in a car, which is easily 1000 times louder, well, what does that do?

    • Don Dalton

      I don’t think a belief in chemtrails disqualifies anyone. There are arguments on both sides. Granted, it would take believing in a vast nefarious conspiracy, but on the other hand, control of weather has been a military objective for some time and there are voices, such as David Keith’s of Harvard, that advocate directly manipulating the climate through such things as spraying into the atmosphere. And since when would the military make this public if it were happening?

      I’m not saying this is going on or that I believe in it. But I certainly don’t believe everything the government tells us, and I certainly don’t believe everything that agencies funded by the government tell us.

      The key is to listen to both sides, and with regards to wind energy, Annette Smith has been a guiding light for many of us and deserves to be the skeptical person in the room who can provide information that others may not be willing to consider. It’s called listening to both sides: a lost art, I think.

  • bill_christian

    Annette Smith is very good at making people scared and angry. She knows nothing whatever of science or how the world works. I have tried to explain various simple things to her, such as the “capacity factor” of any power producing equipment, a term she used with zero understanding to claim that wind and solar are not effective. She actually believes that wind power makes us burn MORE fossil fuel. She really does. Ask her.

  • bill_christian

    If you believe that natural gas will last forever (thousands of years) and that the resulting CO2 (5400 ppm after 2000 years at today’s consumption) will be okay, then we should not pay extra for solar and wind. (CO2 indoors is limited to 1000 ppm by health codes.)

    • Rick Battistoni

      The OSHA permissible exposure limit for CO2 is 5,000 ppm. Just hate those pesky factual things.

      • bill_christian

        That is the OSHA limit. But building codes are 1000, for office environment, Would you be okay with raising the CO2 in our air to 4,000 ppm, because that’s under the OSHA limit?

  • bill_christian

    No she does not. She has an extremely inefficient propane backup generator.

  • bill_christian

    My comments about Annette Smith and chem trails were deleted, and that was a good call by the VTDigger moderator, because I was quite caustic. But do we want very important decisions to be made by someone who believes in chem trails? Here is a sample of her actual posts: https://thevpo.org/2016/07/01/down-the-rabbit-hole-with-annette-smith/

  • Tom Hughes

    John – You might be interested in the Vermont Total Energy Study commissioned by the Public Service Department. It too found that carbon pricing would increase gross state product, create jobs and reduce emissions.

    http://publicservice.vermont.gov/sites/dps/files/documents/Pubs_Plans_Reports/TES/TES%20FINAL%20Report%2020141208.pdf

    • Willem Post

      Tom,

      Having PSD doing such a study by PSD people whose jobs depend on a carbon tax is invalid, for starters.

      Outside consultants doing such studies often use cookbook methodologies which have been successful with clients such as VPIRG and DPS, and similar entities in other state governments.

  • JohnGreenberg

    If you were to look at worldwide consumption of petroleum based energy sources between the late 18th century and somewhere around 1940, and applied the same logic, you would reach the same conclusion: “At the rate they are being added, it will take many decades to get to 50% …” And you would be just as wrong.

  • JohnGreenberg

    Please provide links to your claim that “Wind energy has a CO2 removal effectiveness less than one.”

    Anyone interested in the claims about Irish and Australian efectiveness can Google them and find the studies WIllem mentions along with a series of critiques.

    The proof is in the pudding. There are more and more places achieving significant ongoing contributions from renewables and plenty of examples of penetrations close to 100% when the wind is blowing. It’s early days yet.

  • JohnGreenberg

    The US studies I’ve read suggest that onshore wind performs about as expected: 30-40% capacity depending on location.

  • JohnGreenberg

    Pure obfuscation. No one is saying that ALL climate change results from “CO2 from fossil fuels and humans.”

    This is analogous to suggesting that since lung cancer existed before cigarettes, cigarettes do not cause the majority of cases of lung cancer today.

  • Willem Post

    John,

    Over the past 40 years I have read many of such “engineering” boilerplate studies, and I have the education, training, and experience to quickly determine their quality.

    They look impressive to lay people, such as most legislators, etc., but they are junk to energy systems analysts.

  • Gary Dickinson

    Look it up.

  • bobstannard

    “…who cares about impacts of heavily subsidized energy projects producing expensive energy…”

    You mean like coal, oil and nuclear?

    • Willem Post

      Bob,
      Subsidies for wind and solar per kWh are much higher than for coal, gas nuclear, which is common knowledge.

      • Robert Lehmert

        Mr. Post, solar and wind have a bright future, and coal is a dead end. Nuclear is a dead-end.

        Do you like your taxes going into dead-ends? I do not.

      • bobstannard

        Over how long a period of time? I believe overall we’ve subsidized fossil fuels a lot more than renewables. The real question is why are we still subsidizing an industry that’s 80+ years old and polluting our planet?

  • Don Dalton

    John, I had rigorous studies in philosophy, enough to know that there are at least two sides to every question and that the answers are often much more subtle than the public can tolerate. My own experience shows me that things are simply not what they appear to be, and that groupthink often takes over for an open-minded consideration of the facts. Furthermore, I’m certain that calling someone a “denier” is no argument at all– in fact it’s a method of avoiding an argument and of avoiding having one’s beliefs challenged.

    I think “groupthink” is a pretty accurate assessment of what climate science is about. Witness how loudly some of the top consensus defenders object to having their beliefs challenged through any type of red team/blue team audit. Peer review, BTW, is a poor defense against groupthink, which is built upon consensus.

    I am trying to make people understand the real issues. We are not going to burn up, and the science and the facts tell us that the reefs are not dying because of CO2, or because of acidification, and that sea level won’t be catastrophic. People are too busy yelling “denier!” to look at the evidence.

  • JohnGreenberg

    Since the carbon tax proposals are all either 80-100% revenue neutral, please explain why this would impact seniors ” with less food” and “less heat.”

    • Edward Letourneau

      Simple. There are finite dollars. the income is fixed and will never increase. If you take more in taxes, something else has to be cut. For seniors that is food and heat.

  • Don Dalton

    James, don’t you know that saying the undersea volcanoes might be responsible for West Antarctica ice sheet calving is a false attribution? It must be CO2. There are no local causes of anything anymore; it’s all due to this amorphous CO2, which is everywhere, but which apparently hasn’t considered to affect the main body of Antarctica much at all. Odd.

  • Theo Talcott

    Annette Smith is Vermont’s greatest environmental hero and her appointment to the commission is a great sign. Writers who feel entitled to diss Annette for taking unpopular opinions should check their privilege.
    If Vermont had listened to Annette 15 years ago and adopted energy siting strategies that protected homeowners from the VT Public Service Boards phony, legalistic process, we’d have a lot more solar in place now. Annette has been defending frontline communities from the pushy State for years and I’m grateful her agreeably contrarian voice will contribute to this work. Hopefully the Commission revisits the State’s choice to enforce Eminent Domain property takings from Vermonters to make the fracked gas pipeline that’s burrowing across the state. Maybe the Commission outlaws Green Mountain Power’s crony-state-capitalist MONOPOLY of VT’s electrical supply in order to promote distributed solar. God willing, the intelligent outsider voices disrupt the business-as-usual bureaucrats who’d rather sell us out than solve the problem.

  • Robert Lehmert

    “After all we’ve been through the tropical times of the dinosaurs and then we went through the ice age, but we survived.”

    Really? “We survived”? I guess that could be true if the population were the same now as it was then. Got any substantiation to test your theory?

  • Robert Lehmert

    Jan, Bill and others – you might enjoy the Facebook group “Climate Change: Science, Mitigation & Adaptation” .

  • Robert Lehmert

    You have no idea what Scott Pruitt is doing because it is completely under wraps. The idea of putting administrators — who dedicated their careers to undercutting and destroying the agencies they are charge to lead –is a violation of the oath of office and a subversion of democracy.

  • Robert Lehmert

    Mr. Post assumes constant prices, which is a fatal fallacy given plummeting prices. They’ve fallen by more than 50% in the past 7 years — and is on a trajectory to fall even more quickly over coming decades. In Arizona, grid scale solar is fed into the grid at a guaranteed cost 3 cents per kWh. This is the second lowest rate for solar anywhere in the world in 2017 — cheaper than any other method including nuclear, gas, and hydro. This achievement shows you where the world is headed.

    Is this not so, Mr. Post?

    https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/plugged-in/the-price-of-solar-is-declining-to-unprecedented-lows/

    https://pv-magazine-usa.com/2017/05/23/tep-to-buy-solar-power-at-under-3-cents-per-watt/

    • Willem Post

      Robert,
      Not all heavely subsidized solar is located in Arizona, so your example is an exception and not applicable to New England, with much lower CFs.

      • Robert Lehmert

        Thankfully, someone is phasing out fossil fuel to get that ultra-cheap electricity. That’s the cutting edge — 3 cents per kWh in ideal conditions will drive prices down everywhere.

  • Robert Lehmert

    Have you seen the state’s early 20th century rental housing? It’s appalling. People have no choice, and owners have little to no incentive. Manufactured homes are much tighter and offer an aspirational alternative, but that takes money and motivation. I do not support a Vermont-only carbon tax, but a national carbon tax would fix these places up, or help people move to more comfortable housing.

  • Robert Lehmert

    There’s data ——- aviation efficiency is improving quickly.

  • Robert Lehmert

    The solar electricity I am producing on my roof this morning is fed into the grid and is helping power air conditioners in Boston or elsewhere. That’s because my power has a fixed price which cheaper than the next marginal kW available this morning.

    In addition, I’m sure you know that power plants may not run “24/7/365” if cheaper sources are available when the power is demanded.

    Perhaps you would enjoy the upcoming Renewable Energy Vermont conference on October 2 and 3: http://www.revconference.org/

    • Willem Post

      Robert,
      Your solar energy is powering something at midday in Boston or elsewhere happens, because your system is connected to the grid.

      It has nothing to do with price, which is a market place issue.

      Power plants, such as McNeil, Ryegate have a steady output and run 24/7/365, except when down for annual maintenance.

      The output of solar systems is mainly a variable midday affair; about 65% of the hours of the year solar
      output is zero.

      • Robert Lehmert

        I’m sorry — what’s your point? Solar systems work fine, and they’re getting better every year.

        To your comment, Ryegate and McNeil are biomass plants. I’m not sure I understand how you can write article-after-article which denounce biomass plants — and then single out an advantage as a saving grace that outweighs the downsides in such plants — particulates, fuel stock availability, and a host of external costs.

        I hear what you are opposed to — but what are you actually in favor of, Mr. Post?

  • Robert Lehmert

    See this from the University of California at San Diego:

    http://earthguide.ucsd.edu/virtualmuseum/climatechange2/07_2.shtml

  • Willem Post

    Sally,
    During the latest glaciation, 26500 – 19000 y before present the entire world population was about 1 to 2 million people.

    Many of these people were similar to us, painted drawings in caves in France, etc.

    Then it got much warmer, and flora and fauna multiplied, including people.

    I would say warm is good, cold is not so good.

  • Robert Lehmert

    No one said anything about McMansions. Where did you get that? I specifically referred to affordable housing.

  • Don Dalton

    Well John, I’d requested that my previous reply to you be deleted– but it was printed anyhow. No biggie.

    There are plenty of people who use the term “denier” to dismiss the warming debate; this is a favorite tactic of Mann and Oreskes and many others who are trying hard to make sure there is no debate.

    Catastrophic warming is bad logic and bad science. Here is the logic in a nutshell:

    1) We know all about the climate, but we don’t know the effect of CO2 on the climate.
    2) Our models are accurate.
    3) None of our models can account for current warming.
    4) Therefore, warming must be due to CO2.

    Look, and you’ll see the utter arrogance of the first premise. Do we even understand ocean circulation, since oceans play a huge role in climate? How about the sun and variations in UV output and its effect on oceans? Some honest research will show you the falsehood of the second premise. We don’t even know “enough” about the climate, but we pretend we do because we want to get to the conclusion: it must be CO2.

    This is unbelievably bad science, parading around as if it’s the settled truth. Amazing.