March 10, 2021
One year ago, you signed EO 20-04, the Oregon Climate Action Plan (OCAP), laying out the most sweeping action in state history to equitably transition Oregon to a clean energy economy. We applaud this bold leadership and vision to commit the power of the state to creating clean energy jobs and protecting Oregon’s current and future generations from the worst impacts of the climate crisis. OCAP has the potential to be a climate leadership legacy for years to come. If carried out according to the ambition with which it was intended, our state will reap many benefits. As you rightly said on signing day:
”...regarding climate change, I have been very clear. Immediate efforts and bold action are needed to tackle this scourge that is devastating the Oregon we know and love. And a smart approach can both protect the environment and continue to grow our economy.”
On behalf of the Oregon Climate Action Plan coalition, a diverse group of stakeholders representing Oregon’s environmental justice, youth, labor, business, advocacy and culturally-specific communities, we thank you and are pleased to present this progress report on the one-year anniversary of the Oregon Climate Action Plan.
Our coalition has consistently shown up as OCAP proceeds and advocated on core values: climate, equity and public engagement. In a May 13, 2020 letter, our coalition urged you and all sixteen state agencies, boards, and commissions charged with implementing OCAP to “make decisions based on the best science and provide a structure for public engagement that is transparent, enables input and engagement from Oregonians representing a broad and diverse demographic, and involves robust monitoring and oversight to ensure the most climate-protective and equitable outcomes for Oregon’s families and future.”
We celebrate the progress so far and the good it will do for Oregonians. This is deeply appreciated during an incredibly challenging year navigating multiple crises, from COVID to wildfires. At the same time, not all agencies, boards, and commissions are living up to the ambition of OCAP yet. Many final outcomes for rulemakings and other actions are still to be determined in the coming year.
The OCAP Progress Report provides our assessment of what is going well, areas for improvement, and major opportunities in the year ahead to ensure OCAP implementation reduces pollution and maximizes benefits for all Oregonians. One year into the ongoing process, we assess six main areas of work: transportation, cap and reduce, clean buildings, clean energy, natural and working lands, and public health.
A year after your leadership with this bold step forward on climate protection, here are some opportunities where your engagement and leadership could be decisive:
- Step in where OCAP’s intent is not being met and lead the way to a more ambitious outcome with your agencies.
- Appoint new, diverse voices to open seats on boards and commissions-- people who will prioritize equity, public health, livable communities, and climate protection.
- Encourage and help facilitate cross-agency collaboration so as to best utilize agency expertise and resources to inform policies and programs.
- Provide ongoing accounting via the Oregon Global Warming Commission of how the elements of OCAP will help our state achieve overall targets for lowering climate pollution based on the best available science, more equitable outcomes for Oregonians suffering on the front lines of the climate crisis, and an innovative clean economy.
- Continue to work with legislative leaders to adequately fund all state agencies charged with OCAP implementation, and with agency leaders to ensure funding allocations prioritize climate-related processes and rulemakings.
The many-faceted work to help Oregon achieve a prosperous, healthy future powered by clean energy is far from done, and that responsibility does not solely rest on the executive branch. Legislators have not delivered a major climate protection law in five years, while pollution in Oregon is increasing and impacts are harming our state. With less than a decade remaining to cut greenhouse gas pollution in half, there is an urgent need for additional legislative action, as well.
Given the difficulties that persist legislatively, we deeply appreciate your approach of maximizing existing authority through OCAP to address the climate crisis equitably. Now Oregonians expect and deserve to see follow-through by all agencies tasked with meeting the intent of OCAP: engaging the full power of the state of Oregon in taking responsibility for our part in the climate crisis, protecting the people who live here, and building the equitable, healthy, and clean future we deserve.
We look forward to continuing to work with you and your agencies to ensure a healthy future and stable climate for all Oregonians through strong realization of the Oregon Climate Action Plan.