Oregon’s Renewed Commitment to Climate Action

climate-change-action-signRecently, Andrea Durbin, Executive Director of the Oregon Environmental Council, and Jeff Allen, Executive Director of Drive Oregon, shared an opinion piece in the Oregonian which serves as a reminder that change is inevitable, and each region and individual can play a part in moving us towards a cleaner energy future. While NW Earth Institute works with organizations and individuals across the globe, we are proud to call Oregon our home. As Andrea and Jeff so poignantly remind us, now is the time to take climate action – and each of us, regardless of our perceived influence, can make a difference. To read the full piece, click here

Recently, amid a gathering of the highest-ranking energy officials in the world, Oregon was in the spotlight. Our state — which some have said is too small to influence the world economy — was a shining example to world economic leaders of what transitioning to a clean energy economy looks like.

Since taking office, Gov. Kate Brown has signed both the Clean Electricity and Coal Transition act and the clean fuels standard. These laws move Oregon’s economy toward the future, shield consumers from fluctuating gas prices and pollution from fossil fuels, and feed job growth and innovation. These laws also blaze a trail for other states to follow — and other states are taking notice. At the recent Clean Energy Ministerial meeting in San Francisco, Gov. Brown and the elected leaders of Washington, California and British Columbia renewed their commitment to a clean economy and agreed to the next wave of forward-thinking climate priorities. Together, this region makes up the world’s fifth-largest economy and represents 54 million people; it can lead by example and drive market changes.

The leaders of the Pacific Coast — and mayors of six major West Coast cities, including Portland — signed pledges to build on our successes and work to transform vehicles, buildings, energy and waste in ways that will slash carbon pollution by 80 percent by 2050.

Here in the west, we’re already seeing the impacts of climate change…But west coast leaders are not only committing to adapt to our changing climate, but to turning back the worst climate disruption: Our region will accelerate the adoption of electric vehicles and invest in transit. Buildings will generate as much energy as they consume and report energy use, like cars report miles per gallon. The electricity grid will be upgraded and interconnected for reliability and integrate more renewable energy.

Naysayers and fossil fuel corporations say it’s impossible to both protect the environment and inspire a thriving economy. Year after year, we’re proving them wrong. Along the Pacific Coast, clean job growth is more than twice as fast as overall job growth, adding 91,656 jobs in five years. Unemployment is falling and gross domestic product (GDP) is rising, while the region takes decisive action to protect the climate…

Change is inevitable, but the timeline grows shorter each year. With this renewed commitment to climate action, the work along the Pacific Coast begins anew to fully transition to a clean energy economy. With this new pledge, Oregon is leading again.

*Want to learn more about climate change and how to lead in your own community? Check out NWEI’s Change Is Our Choice: Creating Climate Solutions discussion course book. 

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