Governor Scott’s blue sky thinking on climate change

Vtdigger.com reports Scott sees potential ‘economic boon’ in climate change .

At his Thursday news conference Governor Scott was asked about the climate change issue. “I’m not sure that there’s a financial threat” to Vermont as a result of climate change, Scott said. And he suggested that with California experiencing rampaging wildfires it makes Vermont look pretty good.

Governor Scott has quite a sunny view of what climate change will do for Vermont it’s an opportunity, you see! This is kind of surprising as barely a couple days ago it was revealed that his administration was so loath to use the term “climate change” in a draft policy paper a plan for the future development that they edited the reference out.

But now Republican (Phil, not Rick of Fla.) Scott says, “Climate change could be in some ways beneficial to Vermont, when we’re seeing some of the activity in California today, with the wildfires and so forth, and lack of water in some regions of the country, if we protect our resources we could use this as an economic boon, in some respects,” Scott said.

climatetrends

A reporter asked whether Scott meant that if refugees fleeing wildfires and drought “have to relocate somewhere, they’d come to Vermont.”

“They’d come to Vermont, right,” Scott said.

What do you suppose those now “seeing some of the activity in California today […] wildfires and so forth, and lack of water” (also called having their homes destroyed and lives regularly threatened by massive wildfires) might feel about Scott’s remarks?

A recent study published by The Impact Lab titled, Estimating economic damage from climate change in the United States, and reported in the Atlantic.com  one of the first to apply regional economic models to climate change found: Climate change will aggravate economic inequality in the United States, essentially transferring wealth from poor counties in the Southeast and the Midwest to well-off communities in the Northeast and on the coasts.

Other sections of the U.S. will suffer alarmingly according to the report: The loss of human life dwarfs all the other economic costs of climate change. Almost every county between El Paso, Texas, and Charlotte, North Carolina, could see their mortality rate rise by more than 20 people out of every 100,000. By comparison, car accidents killed about 11 Americans out of every 100,000 in 2015.

From his remarks it sounds possible that our Governor Scott is familiar with this paper. And perhaps if the study’s predictions prove reliable and you want to think only regionally there might even be some advantage for Vermont, for now. The study does note: If climate change continues unabated into the 22nd century, the North will likely eventually “flip over” into much higher temperatures and more severe economic  damages.”

And critics of the study caution in the Atlantic.com about its predictions: But this emphasis on the observed [the impact study is modeled on previously observed data] means that the research omitted many serious risks of climate change — even those the researchers considered important — if the data describing them was too paltry. The estimates do not include “non-market goods” like the loss of biodiversity or natural splendor. In other words: Most people agree that dead polar bears have an economic cost, but there’s no consensus on how to approximate it.

The study also doesn’t account for the increased likelihood of “tail risks”—that is, unlikely events with catastrophic consequences. Many researchers believe that global warming will make social strife, mass migration, or global military calamity more likely, but those events are, by definition, hard to predict.

For now let’s everyone keep a sharp eye out to see how Phil Scott is directing his administration to plan for climate change [oops]. But it’s possible the Governor was just trying out a little blue-sky thinking at his Thursday press conference you know, B.S. for short.

13 thoughts on “Governor Scott’s blue sky thinking on climate change

  1. You neglect to mention Vermont’s gang of neo-environmental capitalists who see climate change as a huge economic opportunity as well (they get a lot of press for their conference at VTC each year).

    Unlike Shumlin, Scott is not a “fast talker” and has been misinterpreted a lot. His comments at the presser disturbed me as well, however. We shall see. Shumlin’s inept rollout (down-the-throat-shoving) of renewables set us back even as we were going forward…. and drove a huge wedge between Vermonters across the state, akin to the Take Back Vermont era. That bad will should show up in the negative column in responding to climate change.

    I bought a copy of Peter Miller’s new book Vanishing Vermonters at a book signing yesterday. I haven’t read it yet, but something tells me you would likely gleefully bash and trash those Vermonters that he gives voice to….as they don’t seem to fit into your concise limits of what Vermont is (or should I say What Vermont Was). It’s slipping through our fingers with a big boost from all of the fast talkers.

    1. What’s with the personal bit about what I might “gleefully bash and trash”?
      Your remark is very telling that you know nothing … zip about my background and family here in Vermont.

      1. No BP, I know nothing about you but for what you write here.
        What could that possibly “tell” you about me, since you post anonymously?

        What I have read here is inconsistent with these Vermonters’ stories as I have read them in Peter’s writings in the past couple of years. I’d like to hear your reflections on his book (it’s quite different from his others).

  2. Be all that as it may, if the Governor is so ineloquent and if one believes the world around him is prone to misinterpret his (what should I call it?) just-plain-Vermontfella speak then let’s watch his actions all the more!

    But for god sake he’s not Fred Tuttle. Scott graduated from college, been in elected office for almost twenty years and will soon be up for re-election for a possible second term.

    Enlighten me what he’s been doing as Gov. for these Vermonters you and Peter Miller have decided to champion? I mean after one term I’d think just not being Peter Shumlin isn’t enough.

  3. Huh? Not sure where your first paragraph came from.

    And you didn’t explain what was so telling (above).
    Why don’t you tell us what is that was so telling?

    Vermonters (not you perhaps–how would I know?) cannot afford to live here anymore and that’s not just words on a page. Not a news flash except to those who really, really, really want the very nice package in the window but who forget that we first need to cover basic needs of Vermonters like those in Peter’s book. Scott ‘gets’ them and they figure prominently in his efforts. We’ll see whether or not he can succeed. I’m tired of a majority that seems to forget that basics should come first, and that you can’t always get what you want, however worthy.

    Pick up the book and read it if you don’t/can’t understand why Scott has resonated with Vermonters. As Popeye said, “I can’t stands no more.”

    1. Where’d the first paragraph come from?
      You said:“Unlike Shumlin, Scott is not a “fast talker” and has been misinterpreted a lot. “

  4. I’m thinking about insects.

    Ticks. Those of us over a certain age can remember a time in Vermont when nobody worried about them. I grew up roaming around the fields and woods and never saw one, never got one on me, never even thought about them. Now we all have to drench ourselves and our clothes in chemicals and do tick checks. Lyme disease and other tick-borne illnesses are something to worry about in Vermont.

    The Southern Pine Beetle. This rice-grain sized beetle destroys thousands of acres of pine forest in the SE U.S. every year. It has random outbreaks that can only be stopped by cutting down a wide enough swathe of trees around the affected area. It could now be called the Mid-Atlantic Pine Beetle because it is causing havoc in the NJ pine barrens and has gotten as far north as Long Island. It takes a seriously cold winter to stop these things. We’ll be seeing it soon enough in southern Vermont.

    What next? Fire ants? Chiggers?

    Phil Scott looking at Vermont as some kind of pay-for-a-seat lifeboat for climate refugees is foolish and ridiculous. The U.S. is looking at tens of millions displaced by killing weather and rising water. The only answer is to slow down and stop the change. That means hurting the profits of businesses that donate to the GOP.

  5. Civilization is a heat engine and we have long since exceeded our carrying capacity with our demands. I don’t believe we are going to outrun the fire that is man, even with our distance from the centers of capitalistic excess.

    If you heard Scott say what he said, the words were an off-the-cuff aside. I don’t accept all of his ideas but his detractors have not given me anything to hang my flag on.

    I’d say the ticks and other invasives have nothing on us.

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