When Will Oregon Address Climate Change?

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When Will Oregon Address Climate Change?

On October 17, 2019, I was proud to join other climate advocates to sign three ballot initiatives to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The summary of the three initiatives are as follows:


1. 100% Clean Electricity By 2045 - All Oregon electric utilities will be required to generate power using only clean renewable energy (wind, solar, hydropower, etc.) by 2045.

2. 100% Clean Electricity By 2045 + Electrification - All Oregon electric utilities will be required to make major investments in electrification resources that reduce climate pollution and save consumers money.

3. 100% Clean Economy By 2050 - Updates and enforces Oregon's existing carbon pollution limits that currently aren't being met. It requires Oregon to cut its pollution in half by 2035 and to be 100% carbon-free by 2050.


What prompted the initiatives? When the state lawmakers were unable to pass a statewide cap-and-trade bill to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The bill was blocked when eleven Republican lawmakers walked out of the state senate, denying a quorum for a vote on the bill.


Are these climate targets feasible? Absolutely! In July 2019, Oregon utilities used renewable energy (54.3%), natural gas (39.9%) and coal (5.9%) to generate electricity across the state [1]. Oregon has significant undeveloped onshore and offshore wind, solar and geothermal resources which could be cost effectively developed to replace coal and natural gas power plants.


Oregon, it is time we come together to take real action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in our state.


This article was reprinted with permission from Jack Kerfoot. Jack is a candidate for Portland Commissioner.


[1] United States Energy Information Administration - Oregon State Profile Energy Estimates July 2019.

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