When I heard that David Hill of the Energy Futures Group was scheduled to present its model to Vermont’s Climate Council two months ago, I was skeptical. The Climate Council’s plan, released in December 2021, seemed to rely heavily on a “Social Cost of Carbon” to justify future climate proposals.
Vermont’s Global Warming Solutions Act gives statutory authority for rulemaking to the Agency of Natural Resources. The secretary of that agency has until Dec. 1, 2022, to adopt rules to meet the 2025 emissions reductions requirements in the Vermont Climate Action Plan.
With the 2022 election out of the way, it’s a good time to take a serious look at proposals for improving election laws. Here are three of my longtime favorites.
Too often candidates for office traffic in carefully scripted evasions and Sugar Plum Fairy promises. For democracy to work, the people need to make office seekers defend their record and tell what they will do ‘once elected. As our Constitution declares, “all officers of government, whether legislative or executive are the people’s trustees and servants, and at all times, in a legal way, accountable to them.”
Listening to the presentation to the Climate Council on the cost savings they are claiming will be associated with the Climate Action Plan (CAP), I was reminded of the classic scene from Caddyshack where Bill Murray’s character tells the story of his compensation for a round with Dalai Lama: “Oh, there won’t be any money,” says the Lama, “But when you die, on your deathbed you will receive total consciousness.”
Over the past fifty years affordable housing for working families has been thwarted by a growing web of regulation at the behest of a wide range of interests. If Vermonters want more such housing – and that’s a debatable proposition – we’ll have to backtrack to give home builders a fair chance to deliver their product.
At the VPIRG 50th anniversary celebration last week Climatologist Katharine Hayhoe explained how to sell the climate catastrophe narrative to listeners who don’t want to believe it. Her use of scary weather events on television screens poses a serious question of being effective or being honest.
In 2020, about 20% of Black citizens voted in Vermont’s general election, well short of a Census-estimated 70% of white Vermonters. That’s the second largest gap in the country.