In 2007 Oregon set a 2020 greenhouse gas reduction goal that is almost 30% below today's levels. How do we get there? In October 2010 the Oregon Global Warming Commission unanimously adopted a roadmap of ideas.
The Commission’s general charge is to recommend ways to coordinate state and local efforts to reduce Oregon’s greenhouse gas emissions consistent with Oregon’s goals and to recommend efforts to help the state, local governments, businesses and residents prepare for the effects of global warming.
The Commission may recommend statutory and administrative changes, policy measures and other actions to be carried out by state and local governments, businesses, nonprofit organizations, and residents. Additionally, the Commission tracks and evaluates: assessments of global warming impacts on Oregon and the Northwest; existing GHG reduction policies and the advancement of regional, national and international policies; costs, risks and benefits of various strategies; progress toward reduction goals; technological advances; and other related tasks.
Through an outreach strategy, the Commission will educate Oregonians about the science and economic impacts of climate change and will promote actions to not only reduce GHG emissions, but to prepare for climate change impacts.
The group solicits and considers public comment related to these recommendations through public comment periods during meetings, presentations, Web site communications, a climate change e-mail list (currently more than 500 members), public meetings and other communication strategies.
The Commission continues and expands upon the work of the 2004 Governor’s Advisory Group on Global Warming, the Carbon Allocation Task Force, the Governor’s Vehicle Emissions Workgroup, and the Climate Change Integration Group to meet the state’s policy to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions according to specific reduction goals.
In a resolution adopted by the Commission, they determined to focus their recommendations and research efforts using the criteria outlined below. While the criteria help to prioritize the Commission’s actions, all three strategies and approaches are pursued simultaneously.
Decrease greenhouse gas emissions – both reductions and removals from the atmosphere – in order to meet Oregon’s GHG goals. It is recognized that these reductions may not occur immediately, but over time. GHG reductions should begin with the most cost-effective solutions, broadly defined to include near-term and long-term environmental, social and economic considerations, as well as those that have the capacity to decrease in cost as their deployment becomes more widespread.
Protect the health and well-being of Oregonians and the health and resiliency of Oregon’s ecosystems impacted by global warming. This priority includes developing and devising adaptation plans and strategies to prepare for the threats directly posed by global warming.
Ensure that Oregon’s economy remains vibrant and healthy; that Oregon’s key economic sectors have the tools, information and assistance they need to plan for and adapt to a changing climate; that they be better positioned economically to withstand the negative consequences of global warming; and that they participate in the benefits.
Adopted by the Commission on November 18, 2008.
The following general principles will guide Oregon Global Warming Commission actions:
Oregon’s greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction goals and solutions must be meaningful, firmly grounded in best available science and technology (and modified as the science evolves), and lead to effective reductions in Oregon’s greenhouse gas emissions.
Oregon’s GHG emissions reduction goals should be commensurate with the state’s emissions relative to global emissions.
Oregon should first begin with the most cost-effective solutions, construing “cost” broadly to include near-term and long-term environmental, social and economic considerations, fairly weighing demand and supply options, and not neglecting actions that may have small near-term benefits but significant long-term potential.
Oregon should seek solutions that afford environmental and other co-benefits such as reducing other pollutants, or assisting businesses and households to cope with rising energy prices.
To the fullest extent possible, Oregon’s actions should be designed to serve both the long-term economic well-being of the State and the goal of stabilizing GHG atmospheric concentrations at manageable levels.
Recognizing that there are always tradeoffs between a long-term investment strategy and near-term costs and cash flow, the Commission believes Oregon can and should be a leader - but not so far ahead of other jurisdictions that Oregon’s businesses are disadvantaged. The State will need to build flexibility into its market and regulatory tools to relieve short-term competitive pressures if others aren’t living up to their responsibilities.
Oregon should be creating long-term economic well-being with an “investment strategy” that buys efficiency savings, new technologies, energy price stability and a long-term competitive edge in selling – and profiting from – the tools developed and the lessons learned.
Oregon’s actions will be guided by the need to protect access to reliable and affordable energy, and to needed goods, services and markets.
Oregon will act to broaden Oregonians’ employment, housing, transportation and energy choices so lower greenhouse gas alternatives are available and affordable. Oregonians preferring choices that result in higher greenhouse gas emissions must be prepared to pay the costs of those choices.
Oregon will look for ways to support innovation, especially if it leads to marketable products and services.
Oregon will partner with other states, Canadian provinces, tribal nations and other nations, where doing so will enhance the effectiveness of state actions and their co-benefits for Oregonians, recognizing that our actions will be most effective when they align corresponding actions by others.
Oregonians will strive to take responsibility for emissions from their purchasing decision and waste disposal choices.
Reducing the state’s greenhouse gas emissions won’t eliminate the need to adapt to the warming climate that will result from changes to both human and natural ecosystems already fixed in the atmosphere. Oregon’s adaptation strategies must continually evolve, be integrated into long-term planning, and address whole systems rather than individual effects
Oregon is committed to equity in allocating both costs and benefits of this enterprise, paying special attention to those businesses and households least able to respond with their own resources. We recognize that emissions reductions will not be captured proportionately across all sectors, or across urban, suburban and rural communities. Cost effectiveness will condition allocation of responsibilities.