On Track for Climate

Today is the start of a big week for Oregon’s climate in the state legislature. Two bills now being considered could put Oregon on the path to clean air and a healthy climate future.

We all know that our climate is changing. In fact, as far back as 2007, the Oregon Legislature adopted ambitious climate pollution reduction goals to protect our clean air, safeguard our shellfish and tourism industries, and reduce Oregon’s contribution to climate change, drought, and severe weather. But Oregon is not on track to meet these goals.

This week, Oregon has the chance to get back on track and come clean on climate pollution.

This week, lawmakers consider two bills that could transform our economy while transitioning us away from dirty coal power; increasing our output of clean, renewable energy; and investing in local jobs, rural communities and clean air solutions.

First, we can get off dirty coal: This morning, legislators heard testimony on the Clean Electricity and Coal Transition Plan (HB 4036), a plan that sets Oregon on a path to eliminate coal from powering our homes and businesses, while simultaneously doubling the amount of clean energy – like wind and solar power – used in Oregon.

This Clean Electricity and Coal Transition Plan was crafted by bringing diverse parties to the table – OEC, electric utilities, environmental and consumer protection organizations, and the renewable energy industry – to devise a hugely important step forward in reducing carbon emissions in our state. Creating electricity for Oregon produces 30% of our greenhouse gas emissions. The Clean Electricity and Coal Transition Plan will reduce those emissions by half by 2040.

As a PGE representative stated in testimony to Oregon legislators today, “We think the writing’s on the wall. The future for coal is limited.”

Since 1998, over $9.8 billion has been invested in new renewables, and 3,350 megawatts of clean power have been installed. This investment has led to over $153.8 million in local revenue and created over 5,300 jobs. The Clean Electricity and Coal Transition Plan reaffirms this commitment to clean energy and clean air for everyone.

Second, we can put a speed limit on carbon pollution: The Healthy Climate Bill (SB 1574) will be heard this afternoon. The bill works economy-wide to limit climate pollution and account for its cost, accelerating the transition to clean energy and creating a healthy future for our children.

By enforcing our existing limits on climate pollution and putting a price on this pollution, the Healthy Climate Bill will hold polluters accountable while helping to grow the local clean energy economy with good paying jobs for Oregonians.

Oregon needs an enforceable, economy-wide climate policy – like a highway’s speed limit – that leads to a safe, affordable clean energy future that will protect those hardest hit by the effects of climate change – our rural areas and industries, low-income communities, and communities of color.

Effective climate policy requires not only an overall curb on pollution (the “speed limit”), but also targeted solutions (the “traffic signals”) for high-impact industries in order to effectively clean our air and reduce climate pollution. Passing the Clean Electricity and Coal Transition Plan and securing renewable electricity generation for the future fits closely into plans for a complete transition across our entire economy to clean energy.

Getting carbon-intensive coal out the of the electricity grid makes it easier to put a comprehensive cap on Oregon’s carbon pollution – both by reducing the price needed to achieve the state’s greenhouse gas reduction goals and by engaging utilities in the fight against climate pollution.

Oregonians want a clean air future.

This week, with your support, we are getting on track. You can join us at the legislature tomorrow as we talk to legislators about these two important bills.

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