Saturday, February 14, 2015

VT Enviro-Mentals Promise "No More Snow" Without Carbon Tax


VT without snow? Sans carbon taxes, consequences would be grim, green group warns

AP photo
AP photo
NO MORE SNOW: A green-energy advocacy group in Vermont warns the state is facing the end of snow if lawmakers don’t pass a carbon tax.
By Bruce Parker | Vermont Watchdog
Vermont Public Interest Research Group says the Green Mountain State faces a future without snow if lawmakers don’t pass a carbon tax on gasoline and heating fuel.
Despite below-average temperatures and severe snowstorms across New England, representatives at VPIRG, Vermont’s largest environmental advocacy organization, are warning the public of a dire climate event that could impact everyone from average Vermonters to the entire ski industry:
Imagine a Vermont without snow. No skiing. No snowmen. No sledding. No ice skating. With the entire Northeast digging out from more storms, this may seem unthinkable. But it’s the very real future we face unless we act now to confront global warming.
To prevent this climate disaster, VPIRG is urging Vermonters to take the following actions to prevent year-round summer:
  • Take a picture of yourself enjoying the snow
  • Post it to Facebook and tag “Energy Independent Vermont”
  • Include a link to a Pro-Snow petition and the hashtag #ProSnowVT
  • Like the Energy Independent Vermont Facebook page
If these steps are taken Feb. 21, VPIRG’s declared “Pro Snow” day of action, it will be an important first step in saving winter from extinction,” the group says.
As a longer-term solution, VPIRG is asking Vermonters to petition lawmakers to tax their gasoline by up to $1.35 per gallon. By passing the VPIRG-backed carbon tax, Vermonters who have enjoyed having more money in their wallets from recent low gas prices can surrender that cash to help keep snow in Vermont.
For skeptics who wonder whether these steps would be enough to prevent the end of snow in Vermont, Ben Walsh, VPIRG’s energy and climate program director, appeared to provide an answer.
Testifying before the House Energy and Natural Resources Committee on Feb. 6, Walsh said:
The United States … is about 19 to 20 percent of the worldwide greenhouse gas emissions today. The United States could literally start being run on fairy dust tomorrow, emit absolutely no greenhouse gas emissions from today forward, and the fundamental physics and the fundamental problem of greenhouse gasses in this planet would not change. It would buy the rest of the world a few years to get their act together, but it wouldn’t actually change the basic trajectory that we’re on.

Given that VPIRG’s climate program director says ending all U.S. carbon emissions would do nothing to affect global warming, it’s reasonable to assume a carbon tax in Vermont — a state with a population the size of Memphis, Tenn.— would accomplish even less.
A carbon tax could have a major impact on Vermont’s economy, however.
Rob Roper, president of the Ethan Allen Institute, debated Walsh on the merits of the carbon tax at a recent Rotary Club public forum in Randolph. According to Roper, a carbon tax would have a negative impact on the state’s economy.
“It’s bad economic policy, and it’s bad for Vermont in terms of our affordability and competitiveness with our surrounding states and the rest of the country,” Roper said during the debate.
In support of that view, Roper cited the opinion of state economist Tom Kavet, who recently said low gas and oil prices were providing an immediate boost to Vermont’s economy.
Kavet, speaking at an Emergency Board meeting in January, said lower gas and oil prices would save Vermonters $600 million in 2015 — about $2,500 per household. Kavet called the recent low oil prices a “phenomenal stimulus” for the economy and said the low price of gas at the pump was “bigger than any raise anybody’s gotten in a long, long time.”
According to Roper, the Ethan Allen Institute conducted an online survey of about 1,500 Vermonters to see what Vermonters thought of the proposed carbon tax. In the unscientific survey, more than 90 percent of Vermonters were opposed to the tax.
Contact Bruce Parker at


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