Salem Climate Action Plan

Salem recently began the process of developing a Climate Action Plan. The City Council set a goal to become carbon neutral by 2050, with a second goal of being halfway there by 2035.

This was the culmination of nearly four years of effort by 350 Salem OR. It was an uphill fight back then with a conservative City Council, but we persisted. The City Council has changed dramatically since then. A Task Force will lead the effort, which concludes December 2021. Our 350 Salem OR representative Janet Lorenzen will serve on the Task Force.

Under Salem’s new Climate Action Plan (CAP), the city aims to cut our greenhouse gas emissions in half by 2035 and to be carbon neutral by 2050. The CAP Task Force is hoping to hear from you. Share your ideas about how to increase renewable energy, reduce emissions from transportation, increase energy efficiency, reduce food waste, encourage climate justice and more.

Want some ideas? Check out these great suggestions from 350 Salem OR.

The Salem Oregon Community Greenhouse Gas Inventory reported that in 2016, greenhouse gas emissions in Salem totaled over 1.5 million metric tons. More than half (53%) came from transportation (cars and trucks) and a quarter came from electricity generation.

350 Salem OR is asking the task force to look at aggressive strategies of vehicle electrification, encouraging more biking, walking and transit use, and more use of clean energy to power residences and businesses.

Check out the comments 350 Salem OR submitted about how Salem can meet its ‘Net Zero’ goal through effective city planning.

Governor Kate Brown’s recent Executive Order 20-04 committed Oregon to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to 80% below 1990 levels by 2050. In June the City of Portland set a goal to reach net-zero greenhouse gas emissions before 2050. The cities of Eugene, Corvallis, Bend, Ashland and Milwaukie have also set similar goals.

Fifty years from now people will likely look back on this era through the lens of having seen catastrophic climate changes that we cannot even imagine. Our legacy will likely depend on the level of moral courage we display in this difficult challenge.  

— Phil Carver, 350 Salem OR Co-Coordinator

None of these initiatives are perfect. None are sufficient to the scale of the climate crisis. But there is a new willingness to confront the challenge. The colliding crises we face are opening our eyes to the urgent need for transformative change.

— Laurie Dougherty, 350 Salem OR Member