COVID-19 has sent shock waves through our entire economy. Households across Oregon are facing economic hardship not seen in our lifetimes, with no clear end in sight either locally or on a global scale. Pre-existing social inequities have been exacerbated. And it’s become clear that the effects of this virus will last for years.
Oregon’s stunning natural beauty and history of clean energy innovation position it as a natural climate leader that can inspire action in the Northwest and beyond.
As a Northwest-based nonprofit, Climate Solutions advances local, statewide, and regional action on climate and clean energy through championing transformational policies and innovations and catalyzing powerful partnerships. We advocate for innovative and equitable policy solutions to reduce pollution and create clean energy jobs and climate-resilient communities across the state.
Climate Solutions is focused on accelerating a swift and equitable transition to 100% clean energy, and we are working in three key areas: electricity, transportation, and buildings. These are the sectors responsible for the majority of climate pollution in our region, and transitioning off fossil fuels to clean energy alternatives is necessary, urgent and possible. To achieve this, the Oregon team is working to electrify everything from cars, trucks, and buses to homes and buildings, and power it all with 100% clean electricity.
After several years of legislative dysfunction and climate policy stagnation in our state, as well as unrelenting climate impacts that have harmed our communities, Oregon is starting to reassert its climate leadership. In March 2020, Governor Kate Brown signed Executive Order 20-04 (a.k.a. the Oregon Climate Action Plan (OCAP), enacting a suite of climate policy priorities across state government, including a doubling of the successful Clean Fuels Program standards, establishing new Climate Protection Program regulations (a.k.a. cap-and-reduce) for transportation, fossil gas and industrial polluters, and mandating that every department of state government do what they can to reduce climate pollution. Additionally, in June 2021, Oregon's legislature passed House Bill 2021, which includes a binding commitment for 100% of Oregon's electricity to be generated from clean and carbon-free sources by the year 2040. These were hard-fought victories that will have major benefits for addressing the climate crisis and our state’s transition to clean energy, but much work remains—particularly to rein in fossil fuel pollution from our transportation and buildings sectors.
Climate Solutions is working in Oregon to:
Incorporate a racial and social justice lens in our work
We must ensure that we are addressing historic injustices and current inequities that disproportionately affect Black, Indigenous and people of color as well as low-income communities. Without addressing these injustices into our climate solutions, we will not succeed in creating a livable and just world where we can all thrive..
Ensure that our state keeps its commitment to 100% clean energy
In June 2021, Oregon’s legislature passed House Bill 2021, which includes a binding commitment for 100% of Oregon’s electricity to be generated from clean and carbon-free sources by the year 2040, along with renewable energy investments in communities, and assurances that clean energy projects will create family-wage jobs.
By getting to 100% carbon-free electricity by 2040, Oregon will set the most aggressive clean energy transition timeline among US states. Our Climate Solutions team will be closely monitoring implementation of this major climate progress by regulatory agencies and working with partners to ensure that the clean energy transition benefits communities across the state. We will continue to advocate for innovative, equitable clean energy policies and solutions to reduce climate pollution produced by the transportation and buildings sectors by powering it with 100% clean energy.
Accelerate clean transportation
Toxic air pollution from the transportation system and the climate crisis have caused public health crises in our communities.The transportation sector is Oregon's largest source of climate pollution, and according to our recent transportation research report, both electrifying our transportation system and reducing our reliance on driving alone (called “vehicle miles traveled”) are key ways to clean it up.
We are working with state and local governments, transit districts, and utility providers to equitably accelerate transportation electrification by adopting medium- and heavy-duty zero-emission regulations, building more publicly accessible and affordable charging stations, promoting financial incentives for individual and fleet EV purchases, supporting transportation options and programs that are inclusive to community needs, encouraging transit agencies to buy zero-emission electric buses, and working in coalition to advocate for a clean and just transportation system.
Advocate for clean, climate-resilient buildings
Heating and powering our homes and businesses generates a substantial amount of our climate-changing pollution and contributes to the energy burden experienced disproportionately by low-income communities, renters and communities of color (paying three times more than average). The use of fossil gas in the electricity sector and for direct use for homes and buildings is on the rise in Oregon and nationwide, despite its significant public health, racial justice, and climate consequences. We are working to pass and implement cutting-edge policies at the state, local, regulatory, and utility levels that increase clean energy solutions like energy efficiency and electric appliances while equitably phasing out the use of gas and other fossil fuels to power them. If every home and building was energy efficient and fossil-free, we would significantly reduce our climate pollution, drastically cut energy costs for owners and renters (decreasing energy burden), and improve air quality where we live and work.
Stop new investments by the coal, oil, and gas industries
The fossil fuel industry wants to keep us hooked on energy sources that are both hazardous to our health and contribute to climate pollution, while using our state, and the backyards of frontline communities to expand their profits. With our urging, Oregon has already taken several momentous steps by stopping Portland General Electric from building a new fracked gas plant and ending Oregon's dependence on coal-fired power. We will continue sending a clear message that expanding fossil fuel infrastructure is not welcome in Oregon.
Read on for the latest updates on Climate Solutions' work in Oregon:
Oregon State Government
by Zach Baker on February 14, 2019
by Gregg Small on January 15, 2019
by Mara Gross on October 16, 2018
by Zach Baker on September 28, 2018
by Meredith Connolly on September 20, 2018
by Mara Gross on September 7, 2018