Media Room


Climate Action Executive Orders
November 6, 2017


Good afternoon. I’m Governor Kate Brown and it is my honor to be with you today. Thank you to the Hacker team, along with project^, Lease Crutcher Lewis, IBEW, and everyone part of the Field Office project.

Mayor Wheeler, thank you for being here.  We are also delighted that several leaders from our Legislature, including Senator Dembrow, Senator Beyer, and Representative Helm.
Additionally, I want to recognize Multnomah County Commissioner Sharon Meieren who’s with us.  Thanks to the city of Portland and the County for leading Oregon’s charge.

I want to be blunt: climate change poses the greatest threat to Oregon’s environment, economy, and our way of life. Future generations will judge us not on the facts of global climate change, but what we’ve done to tackle it.

Since the 1970s Oregon has been on the forefront as a national leader.  I am very proud of our history which  includes the nation’s first bottle bill and a precedent setting law to establish our land use planning system.    But we can not rest on our laurels. Under my leadership, we will continue to move forward.

Since I became Governor,  I signed into law the nations first coal to clean bill that gives Oregon a future free from coal powered electricity while doubling the amount of clean renewable energy to 50% by  2040.

Our Clean Fuels Standard will reduce the carbon intensity of our fuels.

We will continue to invest in energy efficiency, pursue renewable energy and support public transit.

These efforts to invest in energy efficiency have paid off, in multiple ways. 

Across Oregon, we’ve reduced energy use in residential buildings by 8 percent since 2015. Oregon’s industrial sector has cut energy use by another 8.5 percent.

This year, Oregon updated our residential energy building code – new homes built to code in Oregon today will be nearly ten percent more efficient than they were last year.

And thanks to green buildings like this one, we continue to find new ways to reduce energy consumption in commercial buildings by incorporating natural elements and innovative technologies in the construction of new and refurbished buildings.

Efforts like these have created more than 40,000 energy efficiency-related jobs for Oregonians. And energy efficiency experts are helping our manufacturing, agriculture, and industrial sectors adopt innovations that save energy and money.

While Oregon is a small part of the global climate challenge, we are playing a leading role in finding innovative solutions to preserve our natural resources, reduce carbon, and prepare Oregon for the clean energy economy of the future.

I look forward to taking this message to Bonn, Germany, where I’ll travel this week to attend the International Climate Change Conference.

Despite the decision by the White House to retreat from leadership on climate, it is our moral obligation and an economic imperative to lead in the fight against climate change and fulfill the goals of the Paris Agreement.

The Paris Agreement is a blueprint for job creation, stability and global prosperity. It is our best chance we have to create jobs, promote trade, spur innovation, and preserve American competitiveness in a 21st century economy.

As Governor, I will continue to work with leaders on the West Coast, across the country, and around the world to address the challenge of climate change.

Oregon continues to lead the way. Today, I look forward to signing two executive orders that move Oregon toward greater energy efficiency and accelerate the adoption of zero emission vehicles.

The first is directed at building energy consumption. And while we have made much progress, residential and commercial buildings comprise about 30% of our energy consumption.

So in my Executive Order, I am directing state agencies to double down and chart a path to achieving net zero energy ready buildings as standard practice in buildings across the state.

We are doing this by ensuring that state-owned and state-leased buildings will become carbon-neutral, which will also save taxpayer money from reduced energy bills. My energy efficiency executive order focuses on finding new innovations in retrofits of existing buildings through pilot projects. Additionally, it focuses on having the latest available innovations updated every three years in our statewide building codes.

Maximizing energy efficiency in buildings is one of the best and least cost ways to achieve emissions reductions in the energy system. These steps are important so that our new construction is on the cutting edge of the clean energy future.

And this session, though we made significant progress through state investments in EV rebates and public transit, transportation still accounts for 40% of our greenhouse gas emissions.

So the second executive order puts Oregon on an accelerated track to get 50,000 or more registered and operating electric vehicles in the state by 2020.  The latest DMV data shows that we have about 16,000 electric vehicles on the road in Oregon today, so we have some work to do together.

To accomplish this important goal, we will be putting in more EV Charging infrastructure in the state so that a drive in your electric vehicle around Oregon will be easy – start planning your emissions-free road-trip from Astoria to Pendleton to Bend to Medford soon!

In addition, my executive order directs additional work to make electric vehicles more affordable and accessible to all Oregonians.  To accomplish our 50,000 by 2020 goal, we will be working with our partners, including utilities, autodealers, and businesses, to install workplace EV charging stations, electrify their own fleets, and support the state’s transition to electric vehicles.

Transitioning to zero emission vehicles is key to Oregon meeting the international Paris Agreement targets, and our more ambitious statewide goal of reducing emissions at least 75 percent below 1990 levels by 2050 that were set by the Kulongoski administration.

As Governor, I am committed to accomplishing our greenhouse gas reduction goals.    Our  environmental values and economic development are not mutually exclusive goals. We have an opportunity to further our commitment to emissions reduction by passing a Clean Energy Jobs Bill for Oregon next year.

There are many opportunities to grow the clean economy, and adopting policies like these is essential in continuing to attract jobs and investments to Oregon well into the future.

Thank you.