Gov. Peter Shumlin laid down a little noticed but important policy marker in his inaugural address. After a highly questionable recitation of the alleged magnitude of environmental change, he went on to say: "While leaders across America, influenced by the extraordinary economic power of oil, coal, and automobile companies, equivocate about climate change. We must not. That our planet is warming at an alarming rate is undeniable."
Whether or not a global average increase of one degree F over the next century - most of it at high altitudes and latitudes - is "alarming" is a matter of one's sensitivity to very small changes. Clearly it alarms Gov. Shumlin, though, and he wants it to alarm us. Because once we are alarmed, we'll be much more likely to buy into his ambitious agenda to make Vermont the world's leader in reversing greenhouse gas emissions.
This, he appears to seriously believe, will bring renown to little Vermont (and its governor). It will make this state a magnet for all sorts of green enterprises, which will locate here, import productive families with children, and provide a much needed (by him) rationale for expanding our public school system to save the jobs of VT-NEA teachers with an average of 12 pupils in their classrooms.
So Vermonters will certainly hear again from the new governor: The planet is racing toward Al Gore's Heat Death! Desperate big-government "solutions" must be implemented! Here! Now!
That agenda, introduced and promoted by Sen. Shumlin in 2008, calls for an energy super-government, the "climate collaborative," to "coordinate statewide activities on climate change and all related energy activities."
This unprecedented nine-member public body would supervise a bewildering array of task forces and working groups to produce a host of reports advocating new regulations, controls, mandates, plans, rules, standards, taxes, and subsidies. Among them: