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Gubernatorial Candidates Differ On Threat Of Climate Change

Angela Evancie
Gov. Peter Shumlin, left, and Libertarian candidate Dan Feliciano expressed differing views on climate change during VPR's debate on Tuesday evening.

It’s hard to find a subject where Vermont’s four candidates for governor have very different positions but the threat posed by climate change is one of them. These differences were very clear during VPR's gubernatorial debate.  

The candidate who is least concerned is Libertarian Dan Feliciano. He says the state has wasted millions of dollars providing tax credits for solar projects and he argues that climate change is being overblown by a number of politicians and scientists.

"I do not think it [climate change] is that big of an issue right now." - Libertarian candidate Dan Feliciano.

“I don’t think climate change is as big an issue as we’re actually making it and as a small state as we are I don’t think that anything we can do is really going to impact it as much as we think it’s  going to be,” said Feliciano. “So I don’t think it’s that big of an issue right now.”

Republican candidate Scott Milne is slightly more concerned than Feliciano, but Milne thinks it’s a mistake for state government to allocate any significant resources to reduce carbon emissions.

“We’re a state of 600,000 people; we’ve got a population the size of Columbus Ohio; we can’t be doing everything,” said Milne. “We want to be responsible citizens but government can’t be sticking its neck out and getting too far overboard on spending money on this.”

Gov. Peter Shumlin thinks the threat of climate change is very real and he defended his efforts to encourage the development of a variety of renewable energy sources.

"Unless we stop the carbonization of the atmosphere we are dead. Dead, get it?" - Liberty Union candidate Peter Diamondstone

“I think Scott and Dan are living in a different state than I am on this one. I believe climate change is one of the biggest challenges that we face,” said Shumlin. “It is going to get worse and we cannot move fast enough to embrace renewable energy, to embrace energy efficiency and to show the rest of the country how to get this right.”

The candidate sounding the greatest alarm about climate change is Peter Diamondstone of the Liberty Union party. He says it’s a life or death situation.

“We are on the verge of a disaster beyond belief,” said Diamondstone. “Unless we stop the carbonization of the atmosphere we are dead. Dead, get it ?

Diamondstone says the development of alternative energy sources should be one of the highest priorities for Vermont’s next governor.

Bob Kinzel has been covering the Vermont Statehouse since 1981 — longer than any continuously serving member of the Legislature. With his wealth of institutional knowledge, he answers your questions on our series, "Ask Bob."
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