Zupan and Bellini on the carbon tax

January 17, 2019

by John McClaughry 

Here two takes on a carbon tax from two very different Vermonters.

Lawrence Zupan was the Republican candidate against Bernie Sanders last November. He writes, “For the wealthy, a carbon tax would be an inconvenience. For the rest of us, a carbon tax is a catastrophe. How very revealing it is that the same political group, which loudly proclaims their concern for the poor and disadvantaged by promoting more of their government provided compassion, is willing to sacrifice those same souls on the green altar of carbon neutrality. Whatever you believe about the effects of carbon dioxide  emissions, this tax is simply wrong. So, yes, this proposed tax is not a symbol of sound environmental stewardship — it is a symbol of the callous cluelessness of its proudly self-righteous proponents.”

Now here’s another take, from Dave Bellini, president of the Vermont State Employees Association, who I call a hard-nosed liberal.

“I do NOT support a carbon tax or any other gimmick, mechanism, adjustment, cap & trade, fossil fee, etc.  Many Vermonters commute to work by necessity and need LOWER gasoline prices not higher gasoline prices.  Home heating oil is expensive enough already.  Please don’t do anything that will drive up the cost to get to work and to heat one’s home.  I’m not against all taxes but take it easy on the people that get up in the morning and go to work.’

It’s hard to argue with either of these guys.

— John McClaughry is vice president of the Ethan Allen Institute

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Jeffrey Kaufman MD January 17, 2019 at 9:45 pm

The following was posted today to the No Carbon Tax VT FB page by Linda Gordon..

Is the Carbon Tax a Scam?

Vermonters lack perspective on climate change science and the role of CO2 in global warming, without which we can be fooled into believing carbon offsets or taxes are righteous. They’re not. Here’s why.

The current concentration of CO2 in our atmosphere is a little above 400 parts per million (ppm) by volume (406 ppm measured in 2017 at Mauna Loa Observatory, Hawaii) It increased from about 280 ppm in the mid 18th century, as determined by ice core samples taken in Greenland and Antarctica, where data is available for the last hundreds of thousands of years. We all know that during the mid 1700’s and before, humans did not contribute to raising nor lowering CO2 concentrations in our Earth’s atmosphere. So, is this increase of 120 ppm over the last 270 years significant?

There have been 12 geologic periods that span over the last 600 million years, the current being the Quarternary, where for the last 800,000 years the average CO2 concentration has been 230 ppm (Luthi 2008). This is the Lowest CO2 concentration of any of the preceding 11 periods. You’re probably familiar with some of those periods by name, the first being the Precambrian, and including the Cambrian, Carboniferous, Permian, Triassic, and Jurassic. For perspective, the average CO2 since during those 600 million years was over 2,600 ppm! This is nearly seven times our current amount, and 2.5 times the worst case scenario predicted by the IPCC for 2100. Our current period, the Quarternary, has the LOWEST CO2 concentration in the Earth’s history!! The slight increase in CO2 concentration since the industrial revolution is barely noticeable when viewed over the course of the Earth’s CO2 history.

We should also be aware that during each of the last four ice ages the average CO2 concentrations were dangerously low, falling to below 190 ppm. By the end of the last ice age it fell to 182 ppm, thought to be the lowest in the Earth’s history! The reason this is alarming is because the Earth came within about 30 ppm of 150 ppm, the level at which plant life can not exist. Had the C02 level dropped below that threshold of 150 ppm, plant life would have become extinct on Earth!

In my next post I’ll show further details on why higher CO2 concentrations are desirable and lower concentrations are problematic. Then you’ll really understand why it makes no sense to voluntarily try to reduce CO2 levels, if we even could. Regulating pollutants that cause smog and respiratory troubles, sure, but NOT CO2 which is colorless, odorless, and is required by plant life on earth. Certainly, it is not reasonable to tax or regulate CO2 emissions in an effort to reduce them, since we depend on CO2 for food, for our very survival.

Can’t wait for my next post to learn more?
Read this information for yourself in
Gregory Wrightstone’s “Inconvenient Facts: The science that Al Gore doesn’t want you to know “.


Ken Mahl January 18, 2019 at 1:20 pm

Excellent point! Let me go a step further. (Please excuse the boring facts)
In the history of the earth there have been five major Ice Ages and each lasted for tens of millions of years. All except one and that is the Quaternary which Mr. Kaufman mentioned above. [Look up the definition of Ice Age-but in a nutshell it is a time when Ice sheets exist on the earth which grow and recede (Glaciation and Inter-Glaciation).]
We are living in an Ice Age (Quaternary) that so far is only 2.8 million years old. Over the past 2.8 million years there have been anywhere from 30 to 40 glaciations and the warmer Inter-glaciations. The duration of a glaciation/inter-glaciation cycle has most recently been approximately 100,000 years. Coming out of a glaciation the temperatures warm rapidly and going in to a glaciation they cool just as rapidly.
What is a glaciation? It is a period when ice sheets grow from the poles and at higher elevations. There is evidence in New York City’s Central Park of multiple glaciers that have moved thru the city. Right here in Vermont we have had one to two miles of ice many times. A one mile ice sheet makes Vermont uninhabitable.
All the above are facts, please verify them yourselves.
My question then is why, since we are currently in an Ice Age and have had thirty to forty glaciations that return on regular cycles making Vermont uninhabitable, are we ever concerned about a gas that makes plants grow and that may (and that is a very questionable “may”) help warm things?
Please re-read Mr. Kaufman’s comment above, 400 ppm of CO2 is still very low in terms of geologic time.
This climate scare stuff is not new. I am old enough to have lived though the Global Cooling scare back in the 70’s and I can vouch for the weather being colder back then, but like the weather will be….it changed….and if past is any indication of the future, weather will continue to change.


Deborah Dailey January 18, 2019 at 10:52 pm

Thank you so much for the lesson in climate history and the role of CO2 in maintaining plant life. A carbon tax would cause undue hardship for people who are already struggling to pay for basic necessities, while doing nothing to change the climate. Moreover, if we should ever be able to decrease the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere by any measurable amount, we will likely cause more harm than good. I learned the benefits of carbon dioxide in third grade science, but I guess people forget, or it isn’t being taught any more.


H. Brooke Paige January 18, 2019 at 12:44 am

The carbon tax scheme is designed to full the pockets of its proponents the proprietors of SunCommons and its evil want-a-be non-profit cousin VPRIG. These folks just can’t be satisfied with raking in hundreds of thousands of dollars from their blind followers – No, they want 20% of the value of all fossil fuels to pass through their hands to be “redistributed” as they see fit, after they have shaved off their “cut” for being the middlemen in the deal !

How about letting the hardworking Vermonters keep their cash in their own pockets to be spent as they see fit – like on rent, food, clothing or other necessities !

Now there is a revolutionary idea, letting the common citizen make decisions for themselves !


Deanne January 19, 2019 at 1:53 am
Deanne January 19, 2019 at 2:00 am

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post:

About Us

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.

Latest News

VT Should Borrow Tax Exemption from Bernie’s Fatherland

July 15, 2019 By David Flemming What public policy has the best chance of convincing 20-somethings to stay in Vermont? A) Adopting a $15 Minimum Wage B) Passing...

Behavioral economics shows who’s responsible for rise in racism (if there really is one)

August 14, 2019 by Rob Roper Many news stories and opinion pieces in the Vermont media are opining about a rise in racism around our state and perhaps...

Statewide School Choice an Imperative as Schools Push Political Agenda

August 12, 2019 by Rob Roper For the past year or two, Vermont public schools have become increasingly, overtly political in the indoctrination of students to a political...

When the Rules Don’t Apply to Progressives

August 8, 2019 by Rob Roper So, Google hosted a three day summit on climate change in Sicily. Attendees, including the likes of Barak Obama, Leonardo DiCaprio, and...

VT Unaffordability Overshadows Unique Benefits

July 7, 2019 By David Flemming Wallethub completed an extremely compelling survey which looks at the “best states for Millennials.” Vermont didn’t do too shabby, coming in at #13...