Survey: Should Vermont Assume Costs/Emission Goals of Paris Climate Agreement

images         When the legislature returns to Montpelier for a special veto session (June 21-22) regarding the budget,  education “yield” bill, and marijuana legalization, a group of legislators will also propose a Resolution that Vermont comply with the conditions of the Paris Climate Agreement despite the fact that the U.S. has withdrawn. Compliance will come at considerable cost and require severe curbs on the use of gasoline, diesel, home heating oil, etc.  Full language of the proposed resolution appears below.

QUESTION: Should the Legislature pass a resolution “support[ing] State funding and policies” necessary to comply with the costs and emissions goals set forth in the Paris Climate Agreement? 

Note: Under the Agreement, Vermont’s obligation to the “Green Climate Fund” alone comes with an estimated $20 million price tag by 2020, and we would need to lower greenhouse gas emissions by 26–28 percent below 2005 levels (from 9.33 to 6.8 Million Metric Tons) by 2025.

.         No. 

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House resolution strongly opposing the announced U.S. withdrawal from the Paris Climate Agreement of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and recognizing Governor Philip Scott’s enrolling Vermont in the U.S. Climate Alliance


Offered by: Representatives Sullivan of Burlington, Deen of Westminster, Botzow of Pownal, Burke of Brattleboro, Cina of Burlington, Colburn of Burlington, Haas of Rochester, Hooper of Montpelier, Lanpher of Vergennes, Masland of Thetford, McCormack of Burlington, Mrowicki of Putney, Rachelson of Burlington, Squirrell of Underhill, Stuart of Brattleboro, Townsend of South Burlington, Webb of Shelburne, Weed of Enosburgh, Yacovone of Morristown, and Yantachka of Charlotte

Whereas, according to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and multiple research studies, “scientific evidence for warming of the climate system is unequivocal,” and that “ninety-seven percent of climate scientists agree that climate warming trends over the past century are very likely due to human activities,” and

Whereas, according to NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), 2016 was the warmest year since modern meteorological record keeping began in 1880, and that 16 of the 17 warmest years on record have occurred since 2001, and

Whereas, in December 2015, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change established the Paris Climate Agreement (the Agreement) that was entered into force in October 2016 and that as of June 8, 2017 consists of 148 countries, including the United States, and

Whereas, the central purpose of the Agreement is to limit the 21st century air temperature increase to less than two degrees Celsius above preindustrial levels while working to keep the increase to less than 1.5 degrees Celsius, and

Whereas, as part of its participation in the Agreement, the United States pledged to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions 26–28 percent below 2005 levels by 2025 and to contribute $3 billion to climate change assistance to poorer nations by 2020, and

Whereas, on June 1, 2017, President Trump announced that the United States would invoke the Agreement’s withdrawal process, and

Whereas, the withdrawal of the United States from the Agreement will create a serious impediment to the international effort to address the planet’s projected increase in temperature, and

Whereas, Governor Philip Scott, U.S. Senators Patrick Leahy and Bernard Sanders, and U.S. Representative Peter Welch each strongly criticized the withdrawal decision, and

Whereas, Attorney General Thomas J. Donovan is among the state attorneys general who have publicly committed to the implementation of the Agreement, and

Whereas, Governors Jay Inslee of Washington State, Edmund G. (Jerry) Brown of California, and Andrew M. Cuomo of New York organized a bipartisan group of governors, known as the U.S. Climate Alliance (the Alliance), committed to the implementation of the Agreement, and other governors, including Governor Philip Scott, have since joined, and

Whereas, in 1990, Vermont emitted a total of 8.11 million metric tons of greenhouse gases, and although this amount rose to 9.4 million metric tons in 2004, by 2012 it had dropped to 8.27 metric tons, and

Whereas, 10 V.S.A. § 578 establishes a goal for Vermont to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 50 percent below the 1990 level no later than January 1, 2028, and the Comprehensive Energy Plan, as required in accordance with 30 V.S.A. § 202b, establishes a further goal of an 80 to 95 percent reduction by 2050, now therefore be it

Resolved by the House of Representatives:

That this legislative body strongly opposes the announced withdrawal of the United States from the Paris Climate Agreement of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, and be it further

Resolved: That this legislative body recognizes Governor Philip Scott’s enrolling Vermont in the Alliance and urges him to support State funding and policies to enable Vermont’s commitment to the greenhouse gas emissions reduction provisions of the Agreement to be realized, and be it further

Resolved: That it is imperative that Vermont uphold its commitment to the newly formed Alliance by reducing the State’s reliance on fossil fuels and by meeting the greenhouse gas reduction goals established in statute for 2028 and in the Comprehensive Energy Plan for 2050, and be it further

Resolved: That this legislative body is prepared to work with the Governor, diverse stakeholders, and all Vermonters to identify and implement the policies, programs, and approaches annually required to achieve the State’s greenhouse gas reduction commitments, and be it further

Resolved: That the Clerk of the House be directed to send a copy of this resolution to President Donald Trump, to U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt, to Governor Jay Inslee of Washington State, to Governor Jerry Brown of California, to Governor Andrew Cuomo of New York, to Governor Philip Scott, to Attorney General Thomas J. Donovan Jr., and to the Vermont Congressional Delegation.

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

FORBES morrell June 20, 2017 at 1:09 am

You have to be kidding ! Here we are with the exodus of our middle income people, a dwindling tax base, property taxes going through the roof, population getting older with less resources to create a healthy economy ,dwindling school population coupled with the cost of education escalating .. The answer is NO ! We have had it !!


Willem Post June 23, 2017 at 1:52 pm

Paris Conference of the Parties, COP-21 in 2015: COP-21 is a non-binding, CO2 emission reduction agreement, which aims to limit the world temperature to 2 degrees Celsius above the pre-industrial level during the 1861 – 1880 period by 2100. By 2015, the increase was about 1.0 C. That leaves just 1.0 C to go. This may appear minor, but is not.

The world CO2eq emissions, all sources, were about 52.7 billion metric ton in 2014 and are on a trajectory to become about 65 billion Mt by 2030. However, the UN Environment Program, UNEP, estimates the emissions would be about 60 billion Mt by 2030, if all current policies and commitments, made prior to COP-21, were fully implemented. If so, the world temperature increase is estimated to be at least 3.7 C by 2100. See URLs and below table.

* With full implementation of COP-21, the increase would be at least 3.5 C by 2100.
* With additional CO2eq reduction (gap no. 1), the increase would be about 2 C by 2100.
* With even more CO2eq reduction (gap no. 2), the increase would be about 1.5 C by 2100.

– For perspective, the effect of the COP-21 pledges would be emissions about 3.5 to 4.0 billion Mt less in 2030, than in 2016 (the below table shows 4.0). Analyses by MIT; Lomborg, a Danish professor; UNEP; et al., agree on that quantity of emission reduction.
– The emissions reduction would become about 2.5 to 3.0 billion Mt, due to the US withdrawal from COP-21, which means other nations would have to make up the difference, not only regarding emission reduction, but also regarding the anticipated US contribution to the Green Climate Fund of about $25 billion in 2020, and much greater annual amounts thereafter.
– The additional reduction of 12 – 14 billion Mt (gap no. 1) required to stay under the 2 C increase by 2100 is not trivial, as it is equivalent to about 12 times to annual emissions of the entire EU-28 transportation sector.
– The UNEP aims to have ZERO emissions by about 2080, which would require very significant sequestration and other measures. That would be a truly mind-boggling challenge, especially with 10 to 12 billion people on the planet.

Based on outcomes of twenty prior COPs, the many trillions of dollars required for additional investments to achieve such a huge emission reductions likely would not take place. Whereas, China is praised for making investments of at least $100 billion/y, it would be making those investments anyway, as continuing its severe pollution problems likely would be politically untenable.


Willem Post June 23, 2017 at 4:14 pm

Bob Roper,

US population 325 million
VT 0.62 million
UN Green Climate Fund: $100 BILLION in 2020, greater ANNUAL amounts thereafter.
US share at least $25 billion, because China and India do not pay.
VT share 0.62/325 x 25 = $47.6 million in 2020, greater ANNUAL amounts thereafter.
VT has trouble raising annual money to clean Lake Champlain.
The fund would become the mother of all boondoggles.


Ben June 23, 2017 at 8:00 pm

I’m a fan of staying ahead of the curve on economics. Investing now to move to renewables and build the infrastructure of the future will pay huge dividends to our kids and grandkids. Otherwise, we may be left scrambling to adapt to a world that has left us behind. Progress doesn’t stop after the 20th century!


Willem Post June 26, 2017 at 12:30 pm

Your best bet is to invest in energy efficiency, build an off the grid house with solar panels sized to also charge your EV.
All very low CO2, much better than any wasteful government renewables program.


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