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Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Guest blog: Stating the case for renewable energy in Vermont

Kathryn Blume, a friend who is active in Vermont energy and climate circles, posted the following on Facebook today.  I like it, and asked for permission to repost here:

There's been a peck of absurd hoo-ha and some childish fol-de-rol here in Charlotte [a town near Burlington, Vt.] over concerns about renewable energy projects sullying some obscure form of virginity possessed by our fair and delicate town.
In response, I posted this on FPF [Front Porch Forum], and have received messages of kudos, gratitude, and approval--some by folks feeling a little too shy to stick their neck out for the cause. On behalf of all you concerned-but-retiring peeps out there, I am happy to re-post:

"While I appreciate everyone's concern for the politics, economics, and logistics of siting "industrial" energy-generation projects in Charlotte, I think it's important to keep in mind the fact that climate change is accelerating rapidly, and addressing it requires that we get off fossil fuels as quickly as possible.

"We demand abundant energy--exactly when we want it--to power every aspect of our lives. While one might be uncomfortable with the look of a field full of solar panels, or a wind turbine on a ridge top, they hardly rival the massive impacts of true industrial energy generation: entire mountains and forests destroyed due to mountaintop removal coal mining and tar sands extraction, earthquakes and poisoned groundwater due to fracking, massive offshore oil spills collapsing entire marine ecosystems, pristine rivers polluted by leaking pipelines, communities endangered by exploding oil trains...the list goes on.

"The big difference is that we don't live in Alberta or the Gulf Coast or Appalachia or Nigeria or Lac-Mégantic or San Martín Texmelucan de Labastida or Arkansas or Oklahoma or Montana or Michigan - so we don't have to experience the consequences of all that firsthand. We just get to benefit from the results.

"Of course, it's important that energy generated in Vermont stay in Vermont and benefit Vermonters. And yes, the politics and policies can be complex, and we do need to engage them consciously and deliberately. But ultimately, if we're going to power our lives, then the least we can do is take responsibility for it."

So there.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Pricing carbon in Vermont

The following letter to the editor (from yours truly) appeared in the Valley News on Friday, 13 February:

Charge for Carbon Pollution

To the editor:

As California's massive drought rolls on and Boston is buried in record snowfalls, it's apparent that something is going wrong with our planet's climate.

If you're like me and many others concerned about global warming and the unplanned experiment we are currently carrying out on the climate of the only livable planet we know of, you should be aware of a coming campaign to put a price on carbon pollution in Vermont. This campaign, under the name Energy Independent Vermont, will seek to reduce Vermont's carbon pollution, benefit the state's economy and create jobs, and do so in a way that is fair to low-income Vermonters. You can find out more about it at

Please join me and many other Vermonters in this effort to make carbon polluters pay while at the same time helping homeowners save energy and money. It's that simple.