Media Room

 REMARKS AS PREPARED
Subnational Clean Energy Ministerial Welcome
6/1/2016

The major threat to our quality of life is global climate change. Addressing it is an environmental and economic imperative. Future generations will judge this generation not on the fact of climate change, but how we responded to it. 

Oregon, as one of the four founding partners of the Pacific Coast Collaborative is proud to stand with our regional partners-- California, Washington, and British Columbia-- as leaders in the fight against global climate change, and we’re excited by the opportunities from new commitments we are making here today.

Through the Pacific Coast Collaborative, we are demonstrating that regional collaboration does make a difference, often greater than any one jurisdiction can accomplish on their own.

The impacts of climate change will affect us all-- regardless of jurisdictional boundaries. Worse yet, the impacts of climate change will hit low-income families, communities of color, indigenous communities, and rural areas the hardest-- amplifying latent disparities.

In addition to responding to the challenges of global climate change, our population is growing steadily, and with it, demands for water, land, energy, and economic development.  

Clearly, we’re already seeing impacts of climate change, and we must be resilient in adapting to these impacts. There are challenges in ensuring that the electric grid remains safe and reliable, which is the underpinning of our society and economic vitality.

As we adopt new policies and develop a sustainable and resilient energy resource mix of the future, we must also make necessary investments in repairs and upgrades to aging infrastructure, while building out new transmission infrastructure to power a thriving, global 21st Century economy.

Through the Under2MOU and individual international bilateral agreements, California, British Columbia, Oregon and Washington will continue to push for national and international climate action.

Under2MOU is a renewed commitment combat climate change by 128 national and subnational signatories, representing 710 million people and economies totalling $20.7 trillion. Through this collaboration, we have a significant opportunity reduce greenhouse gas emissions consistent with the ambition reflected in the Paris Agreement.

In Oregon, we accomplished a lot this past year alone. We accelerated the availability of solar energy in Oregon, and adopted landmark clean fuels legislation to help improve air quality and reduce the state’s carbon footprint. 
And earlier this Spring, approved the nation’s first “coal to clean” law that gives Oregon a vision for a future free of coal-powered electricity by doubling the amount of clean, renewable energy serving Oregonians to 50% by 2040.

Part of the reason we’ve been so successful is that we believe environmental values and economic development are not mutually exclusive goals. 

As members of the Pacific Coast Collaborative, we continue to make significant strides forwards cleaner and greener energy future-- a reflection of a renewed sense of political urgency and a credit to effective and expanding collaborations with a diverse set of partners.

But there is still a great deal of work to be done – work we must continue to do together. The cost of inaction is too great.

We must continue to work together on this greatest challenge to our way of life and continued prosperity for our communities.

The 2016 Pacific North America Climate Leadership Agreement between West Coast U.S. States, British Columbia, and the five largest West Coast cities reflects our shared commitment and vision of a vibrant low-carbon regional economy. 

By aligning the vision and working with our local cities, including Los Angeles, Portland, San Francisco, Seattle, and Vancouver, we can leverage the impact of our individual efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 80 percent by 2050 and to create a low carbon future that is the model for the world.