Apr 26, 2017
It’s full steam ahead for the Clean Energy Jobs campaign and we’re happy to see all the excitement! As the Renew crew travels around the state, organizing people-power for clean energy and climate protection, there’s a lot of curiosity about what the Clean Energy Jobs policy will do exactly. I collected some of the most common questions. I hope you’ll find them informative and inspirational.
What is the Clean Energy Jobs campaign?
It’s our highest climate priority in Salem this year. The policy will do three things:
Creates a limit, or cap, on Oregon’s overall climate pollution, and the cap gets lower each year.
Puts a price on each ton of climate pollution, paid for only by those emitters who put out 25,000 tons per year-- the equivalent of burning 133 rail cars of coal.
Reinvests the proceeds in clean energy solutions – like solar and wind power, energy efficient homes and businesses, public transit, electric vehicles, and healthier communities.
Has this ever been tried before?
Ten U.S. states and 39 countries, including China, have some kind of price on pollution covering about a quarter of the world’s emissions. The U.S. solved the Acid Rain problem of the 80s and 90s with a similar program.
California, Quebec, and Ontario are joined in a North American cap & trade market, with more Canadian provinces likely joining soon. They have an economy-wide cap and price on climate pollution.
Nine states in the Northeastern U.S. (Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Rhode Island, and Vermont) are part of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), which puts a price on pollution in the electricity sector.
In each case, we see pollution is falling dramatically while economic growth is ahead of the national average. Oregon can potentially link up with those successful systems, reducing costs and giving businesses more options to reduce their pollution.
How much money are we talking about here?
The price per ton on pollution starts relatively low $16.49, and would raise around $700 million dollars a year from the state’s largest sources of pollution. These funds would be invested back in Oregon’s growing clean energy economy, creating jobs, saving people and businesses money, investing in modern transportation for all, attracting matching investment, and making our state's economy more competitive and sustainable.
What kinds of projects would Oregon invest the proceeds in?
The bill requires proceeds be spent to reduce greenhouse gas emissions while benefiting Oregon communities. The proceeds will be used to accelerate Oregon’s transition to clean energy while expanding opportunities for and protecting low-income and rural communities, communities of color, and impacted workers.Some types of projects include:
Making clean energy, like solar, more affordable
Improving energy efficiency in homes and businesses
Expanding clean energy jobs and training for workers and rural communities
Increasing transportation options, especially in high pollution corridors
Lowering home energy bills
If Oregon adopts a price on pollution, will others follow our lead?
Nearly every country in the world agreed to the Paris Agreement on Climate Change to cut emissions in order to keep the world from dangerously warming. 195 countries want to do something, but the world needs leaders like Oregon to step up and show the way with our success.
Clean Energy Jobs will enable Oregon to achieve the pollution reduction targets in our laws (we’re not on track). We’ve made progress with strategies like the Clean Electricity and Coal Transportation Act andClean Fuels Standard, but we’re still far from where we need to be to make sure Oregon is doing our part to address the climate crisis.
The Clean Energy Jobs bill is part of a blueprint of clean energy policies that fit together -- like the Clean Fuels Standard, Renewable Portfolio Standard, building codes that increase energy efficiency, the transition to electric vehicles, and others-- to help Oregon reduce pollution and transition to a clean energy economy.