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Climate Protection

OEC believes Oregon can demonstrate climate leadership by taking the steps necessary to curb global warming pollution and adopt solutions that will stimulate state growth in a new energy economy.

Why We Care

Everything in our lives ultimately connects to the climate around us, from food production to water supplies to health. Oregon is already feeling the impacts of global climate change. Our region is warming, average annual  precipitation has increased, land on the central and northern Oregon coast is being submerged by rising sea level, and snow pack has declined precipitously. A 2004 Scientific Consensus Statement indicates these trends will continue:

  • Changes in the hydrological system will result in coastal and river flooding, continued snow pack declines and lower summer river flows.
  • Oregon will see an increase in unhealthy air days, as hotter summertime temperatures generate more smog. A longer pollen season will make life more uncomfortable for people with asthma and allergies, and cases of insect-born diseases will increase.
  • Drier summers will lead to drought and vulnerability of forests to fire, disease and insects.
  • The effects of global warming on agriculture will include reduced water supply, increased pests and diseases, and changed growing seasons and conditions that may require different crops.

The economic consequences of global warming cannot be ignored. Key Oregon industries — agriculture and forestry — will be dramatically disrupted. Loss of hydroelectric power will impact energy costs. Oregon’s ski industry could disappear.

What We Do

Curbing global warming pollution requires action from individuals, businesses, communities, states and countries. OEC promotes public policies to slow global warming and shares solutions that individuals and businesses can easily employ to protect our climate. We advocate for comprehensive global warming policies that address emissions from the major sectors in Oregon’s economy while laying the groundwork for a new clean energy economy with an abundance of green jobs.

OEC has helped achieve major state action on  global warming, including adoption of clean car standards that will cut global warming pollution from cars by 30% by 2016, a Clean Fuels Program that will cut global warming pollution from transportation fuels by 10% by 2020, and the nation’s second strongest state-level greenhouse gas reduction goals. We participated in the Western Climate Initiative to develop a regional carbon cap-and-invest system, now being forwarded at the national level.

Promoting Policy

OEC advocates for public policies that responsibly address global warming, with a particular emphasis on transportation, as more than one-third of Oregon’s global warming pollution is generated by the movement of people and goods. We are promoting greater transportation choices and working to ensure robust implementation of the Clean Fuels Program through Environmental Quality Commission rulemaking.

A major focus of our efforts is outreach to metropolitan areas outside of Portland about the imperative to reduce global warming from cars and trucks, the benefits of doing so, and how local governments can increase opportunities for shorter driving trips and for more walking, biking, and transit use.

OEC is also preparing comprehensive global warming policy proposals for consideration by the 2013 Oregon Legislature.

Mobilizing Oregonians

OEC spearheads Cool Oregon, a broad coalition of businesses, local governments and other organizations that are committed to ensuring Oregon’s success in meeting the state’s greenhouse gas reduction goals. The coalition provides a forum for members to demonstrate political resolve to make progress on climate change action and support ongoing local and state efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.  

Engaging Agriculture and Other Oregon Businesses

OEC provides information about the potential effects of global warming on Oregon agriculture, adaptation strategies, and ways agriculture can benefit from solutions to global warming by selling greenhouse gas reduction credits for emission reducing practices.

Thirty wineries participated in our Carbon Neutral Challenge for Oregon Wineries partnership with the Oregon Wine Board, assessing and reducing their carbon footprints through connections with expert consultation and incentives. 

Likewise, our Climate Friendly Nurseries project is a partnership with the Oregon Association of Nurseries to help nurseries use energy and other resources more efficiently, reduce costs, and lower greenhouse gas emissions.

OEC’s On the Way to Carbon Neutral is a roadmap for small and medium-sized businesses to reduce their carbon footprint.

How You Can Get Involved

Find out right now what you can do to slow global warming – at home, when shopping, at school and work, and when you’re on the go. Lend your voice to the growing chorus of those who are demanding corporate and government action by signing up for Oregon Environmental Council Action Alerts. If you represent a business or organization, join Cool Oregon, a coalition that supports the goal of reducing Oregon’s greenhouse gas emissions to 75% below 1990 levels by 2050.

Jana Gastellum

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