May 26, 2015

Every day in Oregon, polluters dump waste into our air and water at no cost to their bottom line. If they are going to use the resources we all share – our air, livable climate and clean water, these large polluters should at least pay the true cost.

We already see the damaging effects of climate change risking our natural areas and Oregon economy. The men and women who work in shellfishing and seafood, family farmers and the many workers on our ski mountains and other recreational areas.

Asthma rates are increasing as air pollution stagnates in the hot air and our most vulnerable populations are at risk. Delaying action to address the root causes of climate change just compounds the costs – on our health, our economy and our communities.

The Climate Stability and Justice Act (HB 3470) is the action we need. The Act enforces Oregon’s existing limits on climate pollution with a firm timeline for action to guarantee Oregon achieves those goals. The law ensures that progress is measured and reported every five years and that further reductions are taken if benchmarks aren’t met. Tell your legislators to support this bill.

The Climate Stability & Justice Act will:

  1. Achieve Oregon’s climate goals, adopted in 2007 by the Legislature.
  2. Create an enforceable action plan for achieving goals that is benchmarked every 5 years to ensure we’re making progress.
  3. Take into consideration the disproportionate burden of climate pollution on at-risk populations.
  4. Create a framework to support all cost-effective ways to reduce pollution.
  5. Draw upon best practices from our region and the world.
  6. Has the potential to generate carbon revenue that can be reinvested into creating good-paying, clean economy jobs.
  7. Remain flexible, allowing Oregon to use the best science and technology while reacting to changing circumstances.

Limiting climate pollution also creates the incentive for businesses to invest in Oregon’s clean energy economy, bringing jobs and opportunity to our state. If we focus on developing an economy that gives good jobs to families now and creates a clean energy future for our kids, we can create a prosperous Oregon while safeguarding clean air for our families and future generations to come.

This is not am untested idea. Hundreds of countries have limits and prices on carbon. Close to home, California has had a comprehensive climate law since 2006 and a cap-and-trade program in place since the beginning of 2013. During the first two years of cap and trade, the state’s economy thrived with jobs in California growing by 3.3 percent from January 2013 to June 2014, outpacing the rest of the nation. British Columbia also has a price on carbon pollution and one of the fastest growing economies in Canada. Oregon should join our west coast partners to create a clean economy powerhouse.

The Climate Justice & Stability Act has momentum. It has passed the House Committee on Energy and Environment and has been referred to House Rules Committee. Hundreds of people have turned out in Salem asking for climate action. Now make sure your voice is heard to move this bill forward.