“Global Climate Change is really a central issue of this administration,” said Secretary of the Agency of Natural Resources Deb Markowitz, one of the featured speakers at the Climate Action Day Rally held at the statehouse Thursday. Markowitz spoke on behalf of Governor Peter Shumlin. She went on to say that she and and the Governor had discussed putting together a “Climate Cabinet” to deal with the so-called climate crisis.
“When you take a look at the average temperatures and the increase of our temperatures, by the end of the century, Vermont’s climate is expected to look like, at a minimum, like northern Virginia’s,” Markowitz said. “And it could be like North Carolina’s!”
The list of speakers included Markowitz, Speaker of the House Shap Smith, Rep. Ginny Lyons (D-Burlington), and Rep. Tony Klein (D-Montpelier), who is Chair of both the House Natural Resources & Energy Committee and the Joint House & Senate Energy Oversight Committee. About 100 people attended the rally, many of whom were from 350.org, an international environmentalist group. Among the leaflets distributed were the “Vermont Climate Action Bill of Rights”, which states that “A natural and stable climate is a basic human right” and demands “climate justice” by making Vermont a “carbon neutral” state, per the United Nations Environment Program.
The Climate Action Bill of Rights also demands that Vermont enact a “Climate Action Cabinet and Climate Action Agency”, and directs the state government to “raise the cost of carbon emission and distribute these revenues to all citizens to fund efficiency and conservation, carbon-free and radiation-free energy sources, such as solar, wind, and geothermal, and to vastly expand public transportation.”
The proposed bill, called the “Carbon Fee and Dividend Act of 2010“, calls for a “carbon fee of $15 per ton of CO2 on all fossil fuels at the point where they first enter the economy”, with a $10 increase every year “to ensure that fossil fuel energy loses its competitive price advantage with respect to the clean energy technologies we have today…within 10 years of the date of enactment.”
The bill also contains a moratorium on any new coal-fired power plants. “Beginning on the date of enactment, there shall be no new coal-fired power plants permitted, constructed, or operated…no expansions in capacity of any existing coal power plants permitted, constructed, or operated…any previously permitted coal-fired power plants that have not yet been constructed or put into operation prior to the date of enactment shall not be put into operation and shall not be further constructed.” The bill can be found here.
“We need to talk to each other and those who disagree with us to help them understand that climate change is real,” said Speaker of the House Shap Smith. “And even if you can’t convince them that it’s real, you can convince them of this: What is the harm in taking action if it wasn’t real, and what is the alternative if it was real? What do I mean by that? The actions that we have to take to change our behavior to impact the globe in a positive way are actions that should be taken anyway.”
Regardless of the damage that will be inflicted on our already struggling economy by the proposed draconian tax burdens, we ought to do it anyway so no harm done? It is highly unlikely that an entrepreneur who depends on his business to support his family, his employees and their families will feel that way once his business folds under the burden of such measures. How will punishing businesses with these kinds of laws create jobs or help our economy?
“What I can say to you is that we use the notion of moving towards a future of using less carbon, we use that as a filter for the decisions that we’re making here,” Smith continued. “Those decisions are decisions that we’re making in the Natural Energy and Resources Committee about where we’re going to put power supplies, where we’re going to find our power, and what we want to encourage and what we’re not [going to encourage].”
When the speakers concluded, Matt Riley came forward to give the ‘blessing’. “I am a Druid,” he announced. He then led the attendees in a prayer to the Earth, asking for the Earth’s blessings on their efforts and ending with, “We are the ones that we’ve been waiting for.”