Climate Good News — The Tony Bennett Edition

My day started by standing in line for coffee behind a man singing perfectly in tune to the Tony Bennett song playing in the background. His delightful energy inspired this post, as if to say “today’s the day we focus on the good!” So let’s celebrate some climate victories that make us want to fill our hearts with song!

  • Arctic drilling prospects frozen: Earlier in October, the Obama administration canceled plans to sell any new Arctic drilling leases and refused to extend leases previously sold. This big move comes after Shell already halted its failed $7 billion hunt for oil amid numerous setbacks. Some say the victory should be attributed activists delaying Shell’s broken icebreaker, the Fennica, from returning to Alaska through direct action protests in Portland. Others say the activists’ work had nothing to do with the decision, citing plunging oil prices and lower than expected yields from Shell’s early drilling efforts. Whatever the reason, we should celebrate it. Freezing the possibility for future Arctic drilling represents a major climate victory, both because of its direct implications and because of what the Arctic represents symbolically: it’s one of the world’s last pristine wildernesses, and Alaska is a place for the effects of global warming are being felt acutely.
  • R.I.P. Keystone XL Pipeline: Last week Transcanada, the Alberta-based company seeking to build the contentious 1,179-mile pipeline that would carry 800,000 barrels a day of petroleum from Canadian oil sands to the Gulf Coast, asked via a letter to the State Department that its permit requests to build the pipeline be suspended. And on Friday afternoon, President Obama announced that his administration had rejected a request by TransCanada to construct the Keystone XL. For years, activists, lawmakers and citizens have sought to block construction of the pipeline. Not only would it be a conduit for Canada oil sand petroleum (a type of oil whose extraction process produces 17 percent more greenhouse gases than conventional oil), but it’s a project that holds a great deal of symbolism for those invested in the climate fight. Projects like this determine how we answer the question as to whether we’re going to move toward a clean energy economy, or further ensnare ourselves in the “business as usual” model dependent on climate-destabilizing fossil fuels.
  • Carbon pricing efforts worldwide have doubled since 2012: Carbon pricing now covers about 12 percent of all greenhouse gas emissions, a sign of great momentum leading up to the U.N. summit on climate change taking place in Paris later this month. The World Bank found that the number of carbon pricing programs, both those implemented and planned, has risen to 38 from 20 since 2012, nearly doubling. South Korea began carbon trading this year while both Chile and South Africa plan to tax on carbon emissions. Rachel Kyte, a vice president and special envoy for climate change at the World Bank, noted the significance of this climate victory, saying: “There is a growing sense of inevitability … that there will be a price on carbon for governments and businesses.”
  • Portland divests from future fossil fuel investments: Earlier this fall, both Multnomah County and the City of Portland voted to divest from the Carbon Tracker 200, the top 200 companies still maintaining reserves and drilling for fossil fuels around the world. Multnomah County Chair Deborah Kafoury explained the philosophy behind the move, noting: “Where we invest our dollars is a reflection of our values” while also stressing how crucial it is that oil reserves stay in the ground if we are to combat global climate change. OEC’s Colin Price was there to testify in support of the resolution, stating, “The time has come for Portland to disentangle itself from the industries chiefly responsible for the climate crisis that threatens our community’s health, key industries, natural resource heritage and way of life. Our organization’s own experience with portfolio divestment illustrates that strong market performance can co-exist with a fully divested portfolio; earlier this year our staff made the decision to divest its endowment portfolio. We moved our funds into a custom-built investment portfolio that reflects both our values and a commitment to a strong financial performance. One year later, we’ve seen that it’s possible to make such principled decisions without sacrificing the success of one’s investment.”

So yes, of course, there remains much work to do. But amid the negative headlines we’re so accustomed to seeing cross our feeds, let’s start our Monday by reveling in the progress made thus far, and by acknowledging that we may be winning in our efforts to build a better world.

Devon Downeysmith, Climate Communications & Outreach Manager

Related Posts
Filter by
Post Page
Featured Environmental Health Transportation Solutions Air Quality Climate Protection Legacy timeline Eco-Healthy Homes OCAP News OCAP-Page Carbon Sequestration Living Green Agriculture Policy Diversity, Equity and Inclusion
Sort by
youth climate march in portland

Climate Change is Impacting Youth Mental Health

Do you find yourself or the youth in your life feeling anxious or depressed over the idea of climate change? A new study shows this is a problem sweeping Oregon and beyond. The Oregon Health Authority just released a report, Climate Change and Youth Mental Health in Oregon, documenting
June 14, 2022, 7:41 pm


Traveling This Summer: Try these climate-smart travel ideas

With summer just around the corner, many people are stir-crazy, willing to tolerate a seemingly less risky variant of Covid, and ready for a vacation. Whether it’s a family reunion, catching up with old friends in faraway places, or just seeing a bit more of the world, lots of us are looking to travel this year.   Given what we’ve all been through, it’s long overdue. The pent-up demand for travel is so strong that
May 13, 2022, 10:47 pm


Oregon Climate Action Plan Turns Two!

Two years ago, Governor Kate Brown made history when she signed the Oregon Climate Action Plan (OCAP), executive order 20-04. It’s the largest executive action on climate in Oregon history, and arguably the biggest single climate action ever undertaken by the state given its broad sweep. OCAP set in motion a broad array of state agency activities to respond to the climate crisis by reducing climate emissions from our state’s largest polluting sec
March 11, 2022, 6:02 pm


CLIMATE VICTORY! Oregon Climate Protection Program sets the path for a healthy climate future

Oregon just took one of its biggest steps ever toward reducing climate pollution and delivering a stable climate for the future. Oregon just took one of its biggest steps ever toward reducing climate pollution and delivering a stable climate for
December 16, 2021, 2:41 am


Strengthening Oregon’s Climate Protection Program

The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) is getting closer to finalizing rules for a new Climate Protection Program. Over the past year, DEQ has made a number of positive changes to strengthen the rules; however, a few key policy design features still hang in the
August 31, 2021, 10:07 pm


I-5 Interstate Bridge between Oregon and Washington

Building Bridges: Connections Between Communities, Climate, and Equitable Transportation

The Columbia River between Washington and Oregon has been significant for transportation around the region for thousands of years, with people moving along and across the river to meet their needs, make a living, and connect across communities. The I-5 bridge between Vancouver, Washington and Portland, Oregon, is currently at the center of a regional conversation about transportation, connectedness, and community needs. 
August 10, 2021, 8:19 pm


Windmills over green terrain

OEC & Partners Advocate to Strengthen the Climate Protection Program

July 16, 2021 Governor Kate Brown Office of the Governor 900 Court Street NE, Suite 254 Salem, OR 97301-4047 Director Richard Whitman Department of Environmental Quality 700 NE Multnomah St. Suite 600 Portland, OR 97232 Cc: Chair
August 3, 2021, 7:55 pm


hands planting a small seedling in soil

Using Soil to Slow Climate Change

The economic demands on farmers and ranchers to maximize production on their land can inadvertently lead to damaging the soil. Unhealthy soil stores less carbon and depends on an increased use of chemicals and fertilizers which in turn can increase pollution and loss of soil to erosion. The good news is that the stewardship and determination of today’s agricultural producers can help solve these problems. And, under the 2020 Oregon Climate Action Plan, there i
July 29, 2021, 7:17 pm


OEC and partners call on ODOT to consider climate and equity

July 14, 2021 Oregon Transportation Commission 355 Capitol Street, NE MS 11 Salem, Oregon 97301   Dear Chair Van Brocklin and members of the Oregon Transportation Commission: Our organizations write this letter as communities around the state are reporting dozens of deaths in the wake of a record-breaking heatwave while preparing for another summer and fall of destructive wildfires. Climate change is already bringing enormous human suffering to
July 15, 2021, 3:57 pm


No Replies to "Climate Good News -- The Tony Bennett Edition"