Our Work
Image of workers building a solar array

Oregon Environmental Council works directly with elected officials, community members, and grassroots activists across the state to take real and immediate action to curb the biggest driver of climate change: pollution from fossil fuels. By working today for lasting solutions, OEC helps protect the state against the costly and dangerous effects of extreme weather and air pollution while helping to build a more resilient, equitable clean energy economy for us all.

Everything in our lives depends on the climate, from the food we eat to the water that supports our health, homes, and industries. But our climate is changing, and the impacts are already being seen across Oregon: disastrous wildfires costing billions in damages; extreme heat that disproportionately harms our workers and other frontline communities; warming rivers and oceans that threaten our fish and Indigenous ways of life; and unprecedented drought that impacts Oregon’s water supply, agriculture, and natural resource economy. OEC is acting now to reduce climate pollution and protect the Oregon we love for future generations by supporting the transition to cleaner energy, cleaner fuels, and climate-smart transportation options. The result will be cleaner air, a stronger economy, family-supporting jobs, and a healthier, more resilient Oregon for all.

Join our list of activists. Together, we’ll fight for the healthy climate future that Oregon deserves.

Oregon Climate Action Plan

After years of collective advocacy on behalf of a broad coalition of businesses, non-profits, community organizations, and individual Oregonians, Governor Kate Brown made history in March 2020 by taking sweeping executive action (EO 20-04) to address the climate crisis. Citing the scientific, economic and moral imperative for reducing greenhouse gas emissions and adopting climate mitigation measures, the Oregon Climate Action Plan (OCAP) will ensure that Oregonians across the state benefit from a competitive economy and healthy communities. OCAP directs state agencies to help achieve science-based climate targets-- reducing greenhouse gas emissions by at least 45% below 1990 levels by 2035 and at least 80% by 2050--and in doing so, to prioritize and protect our most vulnerable and impacted communities.

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Clean Energy
field with windmills and blue sky in background

Turning on our lights and running our refrigerators doesn’t have to wreck the climate. Energy efficiency and renewable energy--like wind and solar power--are widely available and ready for much broader use. In 2021, an environmental justice-led coalition that included OEC and rural renewable energy developers, labor representatives, and power companies helped pass 100% Clean Energy for All. Building off previous successes to clean up Oregon’s electricity grid, like ending the use of coal power, 100% Clean Energy for All reestablishes Oregon as a climate leader, tying Oregon with New York for the fastest transition to clean electricity in the country and prohibiting the development of new fossil “natural” gas power plants. This means that by 2040, the electricity grid that brings power to your home or office will transition entirely to clean, renewable sources of power, like solar and wind. By providing direct renewable energy investments in Oregon communities, ramping up near-term demand for clean energy and applying strong labor policies to renewable energy projects, this law will benefit working families and help advance an equitable transition to a clean energy economy in Oregon.

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Capping Emissions

Despite Oregon’s long-term greenhouse gas reduction goals, fossil “natural” gas use and emissions are on the rise in Oregon. With less than a decade remaining to cut global climate pollution in half, we must urgently reduce emissions. That’s why OEC has advocated for a strong Climate Protection Program, which will cap and reduce emissions from Oregon’s top polluting sources: transportation fuels, natural gas, and large industrial emitters. By putting an enforceable limit on pollution from these sectors, the Climate Protection Program provides Oregon a vital opportunity to demonstrate leadership and make progress in the fight for a healthy climate future.

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Clean Transportation for All
Portland city bus moving fast across steel bridge

The way we get around makes a real difference for our health and environment. Cars and trucks are the largest sources of climate pollution in Oregon, responsible for nearly 40 percent of our total greenhouse gas emissions. Transportation pollution not only affects our climate, but also fills our air with harmful toxins. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Cleaner, healthier, more affordable options for getting around exist, and OEC is fighting to make them a reality for people in Oregon. OEC helped pass--and is working with state agencies to expand-- the Oregon Clean Fuels Program, which reduces the carbon intensity of transportation fuels over time by replacing dirty gasoline and diesel with cleaner alternatives. It’s one of the key transportation sector solutions for fighting climate pollution, and has already cut more than 4 million metric tons of climate pollution, equal to taking nearly 800,000 cars off the road per year. We’re also working day in and day out to advance a more equitable transportation system that supports clean air, climate stability, and equitable access to get people where they need and want to go.

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Climate-Resilient Lands
Photo of farmland along the Rogue River

Healthy forests, waters, and agricultural lands are vital to Oregon’s economy, culture, and way of life. They are also an essential piece of the climate puzzle: from how we grow our food to how we manage our forests, the way we use our land has the potential to seal our climate fate. Recognizing the vital role that natural and working lands play in carbon sequestration and climate mitigation, OEC is working to support policies that help landowners and rural communities succeed in a changing climate. For the first time in history, Oregon now has concrete goals and recommendations for advancing carbon sequestration by Oregon's forests, wetlands, and agricultural lands-- positioning the state as the U.S. leader on climate mitigation.

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Building Back Better

With climate-fueled extreme heat, wildfires, and drought are already impacting the lives and livelihoods of Oregonians across the state–threatening local economic recovery, worsening health crises, and disproportionately affecting frontline communities--we cannot afford to dig ourselves deeper into climate catastrophe with a business-as-usual approach to rebuilding. Rather, we must seize the opportunity to build back better with strong investments that drive equitable economic recovery with climate action at a moment when Oregon urgently needs both. That’s why OEC is advocating with a broad coalition for ambitious federal investments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and advance the transition to a clean energy future, and to do so in a way that prioritizes those communities disproportionately impacted by climate impacts and historic racial, economic, and environmental injustice.

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