Did you know:
- In Oregon, transportation is the largest in-state sector of emissions?
- In fact, emissions from passenger vehicle use and freight transportation continue to increase?
- And interestingly, Oregon’s residential sector uses more electricity than any other sector?
According to a report compiled by the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality in 2018 that reviewed Oregon’s greenhouse gas emissions from 1990-2016, the State was on a trajectory to miss the mark in meeting goals to reduce in-state emissions to below 10% of 1990 levels by 2020 and to 75% below 1990 levels by 2050.
In fact, the report concluded that although Oregon benefits greatly from the use of hydropower as well as the wide adoption of renewable electricity, our population is increasing at a rate that prevents us from lowering our emission numbers overall. Residential sources account for the greatest demand for electricity to power appliances, electronics, and lighting. Emissions from passenger vehicles and light-duty trucks are the largest sub-group within the transportation sector, accounting for 17% of statewide emissions.
So what do we do?
Currently, our federal government has drifted away from nationwide regulations impacting greenhouse gas emissions, leaving legislation up to individual states.
In March 2020, Governor Kate Brown signed Executive Order No. 20-04 directing State agencies to take action to reduce and regulate greenhouse gas emissions. In her order, Brown articulates many of the dangers of greenhouse gas emissions such as:
- Its detrimental effects on public health and Oregon’s economic vitality, natural resources, and environment; and
- The fact that emissions have a disproportionate effect on the physical, mental, financial, and cultural wellbeing of impacted communities—many of whom are underrepresented in public processes; and
- High levels of emissions are increasing the frequency and severity of wildfires in Oregon.
Executive Order No. 20-04 accomplishes a number of objectives:
- It resets our goals to achieve a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions to at least 45% below 1990 emissions by 2035 and to at least 80% below 1990 emissions by 2050.
- It directs agencies outlined in the order to prioritize and expedite processes to accomplish these goals and to report their plans to the Governor.
- The order creates an interagency workgroup on climate impacts to impacted communities to develop collaborative strategies to meet the goals.
- It redefined and created standards and regulations to create a strong foundation of achieving the new goals.
- It provides directives to a number of state agencies including the Consumer and Business Services Building Codes Division, the Oregon Department of Energy, the Oregon Department of Transportation, the Oregon Health Authority, and others with specific expectations of how each agency will contribute to the achievement of Oregon’s goals.
According to Brown in an interview with Biodiesel Magazine, “This is the most ambitious Clean Fuels goal in the country,” Brown said. “It will substantially reduce carbon emissions in the transportation sector using a model proven to reduce pollution at a very minimal cost. At the same time, it will fuel new jobs in the biofuels sector and expand investment in transportation electrification.”
Want to learn more about how we can all contribute to cleaner air in our communities for future generations?
The Rogue Valley Clean Cities Coalition’s mission is enhancing the livability of the Rogue Valley. We promote and educate on alternate fuels, seek to decrease dependency on petroleum, and promote clean air and water in the Rogue Valley via alternate fuels. Contact us today for more information!