Oregonians should know and hold accountable those who have joined the campaign to undermine the viability of our planet for future generations.
If global warming and its consequences on climate change continue unchecked, they risk destroying our natural ecosystem (forests, woodlands, grasslands, deserts, etc.) by the end of the century, as well as our agriculture, our forests and our fisheries. It’s hard to imagine how the economic impact of this could be overstated or ignored.
Meanwhile, among those worried about the economic impact of the climate crisis, none is more engaged than the insurance industry. Swiss Re, perhaps the world’s largest reinsurance company, has assessed the potential economic cost of climate change. He estimated that a warming of just 3.2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial conditions would globally cost more than 18% – or $15 trillion – of gross domestic product. Oregon’s share would be about $48 billion. Meanwhile, the overall cost of keeping warming to 1.5°C would be around $1.8 trillion, or less than 12% of the cost of inaction that would allow warming to continue unabated. Unfortunately, the usual global temperature is expected to warm by more than 4 degrees, much worse than Swiss Re’s modeling.
For years, climate activists have supported Oregon’s legislative efforts to establish programs that would reduce greenhouse gas emissions in Oregon and help solve the climate crisis. These efforts were always thwarted by Republican resistance, including their coming out of the Houses and the state to prevent bills from being enacted. They justified this action by distorting the economic consequences of the proposals. These distortions have been echoed by others who irrationally believe that the outcome of an ongoing climate crisis is less damaging and less costly than fixing it.
After the 2020 Republican walkout, Governor Kate Brown signed Executive Order 20-04 instruct state agencies to develop programs to establish reasonable trajectories for reducing emissions and sequestering carbon dioxide. Among the agency’s efforts is that of the Department of Environmental Quality. To ensure those potentially affected by a climate plan would have a say, DEQ established a Regulatory Advisory Committee made up of representatives from key stakeholders, including many from affected industries. For several months, DEQ sought the advice of this committee when developing its Climate protection plan. Throughout the discussions, industry representatives said they were concerned about the climate crisis and helped shape the plan that would address it.
The program developed by DEQ was approved by the Environmental Quality Commission. While the targets and trajectory were not as stringent as many of us would like, at least the CPP puts the state on a path of meaningful emissions reductions.
Now, many participating companies have filed lawsuits to nullify the CPP. They generated our need for tough action by refusing to reduce their emissions when the Voluntary Emissions Reduction Program of 2007 was enacted and served the RAC.
Leading, of course, the professional association, Oregon Business and Industry.Join this perpetual opponent of the climate and the protection of the environment: Oregon Farm Bureau, Oregon Manufacturers & Commerce, Alliance of Western Energy Consumers, Associated Oregon Loggers, Northwest Pulp & Paper Association, Oregon Association of Nurseries, Oregon Forest & Industries Council, Oregon Trucking Associations and Western Wood Preservers Institute. They are joined by two private companies,Otley Land & Cattle and Space Age Fuel.
It is absolutely not surprising thatlegal action includesNW Natural, Avista and Cascade Gas since the gas companies have consistently promoted the lie that theirs is “the clean fossil fuel”. We’re also not surprised that misleading Big Oil is joining the campaign through the Western States Petroleum Association – representing the world’s biggest polluters including Shell, Exxon, Chevron and ConocoPhillips among other outside oil companies. .
While these industry representatives are collaborating to undermine climate action, some professional organizations recognize the problem and have not joined the lawsuit: Oregon Businesses for Climate, the Main Street Alliance of Oregon and Oregon Physicians for Social Responsibility are notable among these.
Oregon consumers deserve to know which companies are committed to ending life on the planet as we know it.
Alan Journet is the co-host of Southern Oregon Climate Action Now. He lives in Jacksonville.