The Capping Carbon Campaign is well underway. Our initial goal set back in the summer of 2016 was to ensure that all Portland area legislators are climate champions. We organized meetings between constituents and their Representatives and Senators and have met with most of our legislators. These meetings have been very positive. All the legislators we met with support strong climate legislation. We are especially fortunate to have as a champion Senator Michael Dembrow, who is the Chair of the Committee on Environment and Natural Resources, where Senate Bill 557, the Clean Energy and Jobs bill, was introduced.
Senate Bill 557, the Clean Energy and Jobs bill, will accomplish the following:
- Impose a cap on all greenhouse gas emissions, GHGs, and achieve at least a 75% reduction in GHGs compared to 1990 emissions by 2050,
- Price all qualified GHGs under the cap so that polluters pay,
- Invest proceeds into clean energy like wind and solar, public transit, and increased energy efficiency as well as projects that reduce pollution and climate impacts experienced by disadvantaged communities.
As a key element of the campaign we created several working groups:
- Maximize writing of personal letters, phone calls and emails,
- Promote mass mobilization,
- Seek rural support,
- Seek small business support, and
- Frame effective messages.
On March 1st a public hearing was held by both the relevant House and Senate Committees. Around 200 activists filled both the main hearing room and an overflow room. Over the two hours during which testimony was given only one person, a representative of Oregon Associated Industries, spoke against putting a price on climate pollution. We heard from fire-fighters, health associations, concerned scientists, high school students, solar installers, and many, many concerned citizens. My favorite piece of testimony came from a middle school student who after listing many of the harms that result from climate pollution then stated, “and I am not a pessimist.” He also stated to the some dozen legislators arrayed in front of him, “when you were my age you did not have to worry about all these harms resulting from climate pollution, but I do.”
Our next big action occurs on March 23rd in Salem at the Capitol Building. We rally at noon on the steps of the Capitol and then meet with our legislators throughout the afternoon. We hope to see you there. If you are not now involved in the Campaign then please sign up – follow the link or go to the 350PDX home page, click on Campaigns and then click on team sign-up.
Rand Schenck and Rick Brown
Written by: Rand Schenck