Although Oregon’s 2007 legislation session has been packed with environmental issues — expanding the bottle bill, implementing an electronics waste recycling program and encouraging renewable energy — the state still can still offer more, legislators and environment advocates said this week.
Those who can help? Everyone.
Multiple groups have outlined specific ways to cut Oregon’s global warming contributions, and each Oregonian must do their part by driving less and making their homes more energy efficient. Although the equation sounds simple enough, city streets and state highways remain tattooed with gas-guzzling automobiles and lined with homes obsessed with detachment from the natural world.
“We need to do more work … reaching out to both members of the Legislature, as well as industry and agriculture and forestry, to get everyone on the same page in terms of how to be part of the solution,” said Rep. Ben Cannon, D-Portland, according to the Statesman Journal. “In general, industry understands that it can be and needs to be part of the answer. We can work hard in 2009 with real consensus around cap-and-trade and performance plant standards.”
In 2003, Oregonians emitted 11 metric tons of carbon dioxide per person, the Journal reported. These numbers are plagued by folk who insist on driving two blocks to rent a movie or leave their engines running during a cold winter’s morn simply to drive down the road to go to work.
The good news from Salem this year include a cap-and-trade bill that would have established an emissions cap for all significant carbon emitters and allowed emitters to trade “credits” for carbon reductions, the Journal reported. Then there’s House Bill 3543, which sets targets for reducing greenhouse gases to 10 percent below 1990 levels by 2020 and 75 percent below 1990 levels by 2050. It also would create a global warming commission and a research institute.
Other renewable-energy and energy-efficiency measures, the Journal reported, which have an effect on greenhouse gas emissions include:
House Bill 2876 requires the state by 2015 to reduce energy use in all structures used by the state by 20 percent from 2000 levels. It means an annual reduction of 83.5 million kilowatts of electricity, 3.5 million therms of natural gas and 110 gallons of fuel oil.
Senate Bill 576 requires state agencies and other large public entities to construct or renovate buildings to be 20 percent more energy efficient than state building code.
Senate Bill 375 establishes minimum energy-efficiency standards for commercial appliances such as walk-in freezers, exit signs and clothes washers, and residential products such as DVD players, audio products and electric spas. The bill would reduce total carbon emissions by about 70 tons. By 2020, the more energy-efficient appliances save enough electricity to power 20,000 Oregon households and enough natural gas to power 28,000 households. By 2030 those figures rise to 27,000 and 59,000, respectively.
There are 3.5 million people in Oregon. Each of us need to step it up when it comes to taking care of our state, and the planet.