Now is the time for Oregon to get serious about global warming
Governor Kitzhaber believes energy is THE issue of our time. I agree, but it is also THE time for Oregon to get serious about global warming. We have an opportunity this month to tell Governor Kitzhaber that we care about climate change and a clean-energy future for Oregon.
By Ann Gravatt
Governor Kitzhaber believes energy is THE issue of our
time. I agree, but it is also THE time for Oregon to get serious about global warming. We
have an opportunity this month to tell Governor Kitzhaber that we care about
climate change and a clean-energy future for Oregon.
The Governor issued his Draft 10-Year Energy Action Plan last month and he wants feedback on his draft by July 31. You can send him an email with your comments here.
Or, you can attend one of three hearings around the state starting tomorrow. Forget about the Beach Boys reunion tour, this is the tour of the summer.
The Future Energy Plan Tour dates are:
Wednesday, July 18. 5:30 p.m. - 7:30 p.m.
Location: Oregon Institute of Technology (OIT)
3201 Campus Drive, College Union Auditorium
Thursday, July 19, 5:30 p.m. -7:30 p.m.
Location: Central Oregon Community College (COCC)
2600 NW College Way, Pioneer 201 Auditorium
Friday, July 20, 5:30 p.m.-7:30 p.m.
Location: Mt. Hood Community College (MHCC)
6000 SE Stark St., Visual Arts Theater (in back)
The Governor’s Plan has some strong ideas – including meeting all of our growing energy needs with energy efficiency and using state buildings to model how to achieve deep energy efficiency in buildings. The Plan also acknowledges that we must use less coal power and prepare for a carbon-constrained future. But his message on coal and climate change should be clearer and stronger.
Here’s three key messages on the Governor’s Plan:
1. Support meeting 100% of Oregon’s load growth with energy efficiency. This is an ambitious, but very achievable goal that builds on Oregon’s significant accomplishments in energy efficiency. The Energy Trust of Oregon invests funds from Oregon’s investor-owned utilities and their programs have:
Saved enough energy to power all Portland homes for a year and heat all homes in Pendleton for five years.
Created 2,500 jobs and $90 million in wages and business income.
2. Oregon still
relies on coal generation to meet over 35% of our energy needs. That means over half of our electricity is
generated by fossil fuels because we also get 16% of our power from natural gas. The
Governor’s Energy Plan needs to be the plan for how we transition off of coal
power over the next decade. Reducing
our reliance on coal is the only way we can meet our state’ greenhouse gas
3. Finally, climate change is the reason that energy is THE issue of our time. What Oregon really needs over the next decade is a legally enforceable commitment to achieve our greenhouse gas emissions targets.
The Governor’s Draft Plan rightly says that we need to choose our future energy investments wisely; future carbon regulation could cost Oregonians if we don’t make the right energy investments. True, but there are also benefits that come with policies that limit our emissions.
Check out this report from last fall on the benefits of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative: more than 16,000 net jobs created, $1.6 billion in economic value to the 10-state region, and $1.3 billion in energy savings to consumers. And see this recent piece in the New York Times about the British Columbia carbon tax which has lowered both the personal and corporate income taxes in the province.
I hope you will join Climate Solutions in sharing your comments with the Governor and his team this month.