2-22-14 – Divesting pensions of fossil fuels will not save ski and maple industries

A number of environmental groups led by Representative, Kesha Ram (D-Burlington) are calling for Vermont to divest our pension funds of fossil fuel investments. There are two bills, one in each chamber, that would accomplish this, H.271 and S.131.

According to an article in Vermont Digger, about $88 million of the $3.6 billion in assets for the retirement funds for state employees and teachers are tied to fossil fuels.

Ram justified the divestment because, “Vermont’s economy, including the skiing, maple syrup and agricultural industries, could be harmed by climate change, she said.”

We hear this argument all the time. But…

Here is a video of VPIRG’s Ben Walsh testifying to House Energy & Natural Resources committee that even if the entire U.S. stopped emitting all CO2 tomorrow, the effect on the trajectory of climate change would be nil.

Here’s a video from last year of Vermont climate scientist Allen Betts admitting that even under the best of circumstances (which we are not attaining) Vermont’s climate will be like that of Pennsylvania by the end of the century.

So, saying we’re divesting of fossil fuel investments, or ruining our ridge lines with wind towers, or any anti-climate change measure to “save the ski and maple industries for Vermont” is really — by the standards of those promoting of anthropogenic global warming theory — a fraudulent sales tactic.

It would be nice if our elected officials stopped lying to us about climate change in general. It would really be nice if they stopped lying to us what even their own scientists and experts are telling them is happening and what is possible. And if this and other measures being pushed on us are not in any realm of reality about saving the ski and maple industries, what are they really for?

– Rob Roper, president of the Ethan Allen Institute


{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Shayne February 23, 2014 at 9:36 pm

Not to mention, this will cost our state workers pensions millions. Like it or not, oil and natural gas is booming, and companies in the industry are making record profits. That leads to higher value for our state pensions, which is a good thing, especially considering our $3 billion unfunded obligation.
Divestment is simply a way to free up more of other people’s money for the legislature to give to wind and solar companies. We can’t let the legislature play political games with people’s retirements.


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The Ethan Allen Institute is Vermont’s free-market public policy research and education organization. Founded in 1993, we are one of fifty-plus similar but independent state-level, public policy organizations around the country which exchange ideas and information through the State Policy Network.

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