With Republicans determined to block any movement on climate change in the Legislature, Governor Kate Brown, as promised last year, decided to outflank them with a far-reaching use of her executive powers to achieve the same goals on a different path.
In March 2020, Brown signed an executive order that establishes the same aggressive greenhouse gas emission reduction goals that were contemplated under Democrats’ Senate Bill 1530. Namely, the state will seek to reduce emissions 45% below 1990 levels by 2035 and 80% below 1990 levels by 2050.
Governor Brown’s executive order is considered to be the most sweeping executive order on climate in the nation.
“I’ve heard it loud and clear from our young people in Oregon: climate action is crucial and urgent,” said Governor Brown. “If we adults don’t take action right away, it is the next generation that will pay the price. We owe it to them to do our part to ensure that the globe they inherit is on a better trajectory than the one it’s on today.”
What will Governor Brown’s executive order do?
The short answer: a lot. Here are a few highlights:
- Clean fuels. The order will extend and strengthen Oregon’s successful Clean Fuels Program, which has been creating jobs and working for four years to lower pollution from fuels by making cleaner options available. It will add to the Clean Fuels target of 10% by 2025, now aiming to reduce climate pollution from cars and trucks 25% by 2035.
- Clean buildings. The Governor’s order strengthens requirements for new buildings in Oregon, so that by 2030 they’ll produce as much clean energy as they use and will maximize energy efficiency. There will be significant savings on energy bills as homes and buildings use energy more efficiently and waste less.
- Clean economy. Under this order, large polluters will be required to lower climate pollution levels 45% below 1990 levels by 2035, and at least 80% below 1990 levels by 2050. While Oregon has targets for reducing climate pollution already on the books, they’re not being enforced. This new change updates the targets and makes lowering pollution mandatory for large polluters under penalty of law.
Here’s what you can do.
Become informed—and stay informed—about clean energy in Oregon! Register to vote in the next election and cast your vote for political leaders with the courage to work for a sustainable future.
The Keeling Curve is a daily record of the global atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration. This month carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere surpassed 417 parts per million. Governor Brown’s initiative will reduce emissions.