Climate change poses one of the most significant threats to Oregon’s economy, environment, and way of life. Our winters are becoming milder, our summers hotter. Snow packs are shrinking and unseasonably warm temperatures are leading to rapid spring melts depleting Oregon’s supply of summer water for agriculture and stream flows for wildlife. Storms and forest fires are becoming more severe while the risk of coastal flooding is increasing.
These impacts will affect all Oregonians, but will hit low-income communities, communities of color, and rural communities the hardest. Mitigating the impacts of climate change and achieving Oregon’s greenhouse gas reduction goals are key priorities for Governor Brown.
About 80% of our greenhouse gas emissions come from the way and the type of energy we use every day. In order to curtail climate change, we must put Oregon on the path to the energy resource mix of the future. Governor Brown is focused on meaningfully reducing greenhouse gas emissions to combat climate change while keeping energy reliable and costs affordable to benefit Oregonians and the state economy. Oregon has low costs of electricity, as compared to other states, which helps to attract new businesses and industry to the state. In addition, we must continue to invest in necessary energy infrastructure to ensure that our systems our reliable and resilient in the face of natural disasters, such as the expected 9.0 Cascadia earthquake.
Oregon is upholding the tradition of leading on environmental stewardship with the passage of the nation’s first coal-to-clean law, eliminating out-of-state coal-fired electricity for good by 2030 while increasing renewable energy to 50% by 2040. In addition, Oregon will close the last remaining coal plant in the state 20 years early in 2020. Oregon has continued historic investment in energy efficiency, significant renewable energy development, and support for alternative transportation fuels such as electric vehicles. These policies support family-wage jobs in the Oregon’s clean energy economy.
Oregon must continue to do our part in reducing greenhouse gas emissions in a way that strengthens our communities and bolsters our economy. Under Governor Brown’s leadership, Oregon is working with leaders along the West Coast to fight global climate change and develop a clean energy mix of the future as a member of the Pacific Coast Collaborative and the recently launched Ocean Acidification Alliance.