Salem Climate Action Plan

September 28, 2020      

Contact: Phil Carver, Co-Coordinator, 350 Salem OR 
(503) 562-9878, philiphcarver@gmail.com

350 Salem OR Calls on City Council to Set Climate Action Goals

Salem, Oregon – 350 Salem OR is calling upon the Salem City Council to set a Climate Action goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the city to reach carbon neutrality by 2050, and to get half-way to the goal by 2035. This comes as the City is about to begin a long-awaited process to develop a Climate Action Plan, beginning in November.

“Setting a goal to reduce our carbon emissions is the first step in any Climate Action planning process, and it needs to be formally done by our elected City Council,” said 350 Salem OR Co-Coordinator Phil Carver.

The City has already engaged the Verdis Group, a Nebraska-based consulting firm, to assist the City with the Climate Action Plan, and Mayor Chuck Bennett is in the process of appointing a Climate Action Plan Task Force to lead the effort beginning in November and concluding in December, 2021.

According to the United Nations, 60 countries around the world including Germany, France and Britain have committed to reaching carbon neutrality by 2050. China just announced their commitment to reaching this goal by 2060.

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.

Once the Salem City Council has formally adopted Climate Action goals, 350 Salem OR believes it should be the job of the Climate Action Plan Task Force to develop reasonable and achievable strategies to meet the goals, focusing on the near-term 2035 goal to cut our carbon emissions in half compared to 2016 levels.

The Salem Oregon Community Greenhouse Gas Inventory prepared for the City in May of last year reported that in the baseline year of 2016, greenhouse gas emissions in Salem totaled over 1.5 million metric tons. Of these emissions 53% came from transportation (cars and trucks) and 26% from electricity generation. That being the case, 350 Salem OR will be 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.

“Protecting the stability of our climate and adapting to climate change impacts are the most urgent tasks our city faces,” said 350 Salem OR Co-Coordinator Phil Carver. “The goals we are proposing are reasonable and achievable and are consistent with what other countries and other Oregon cities have already committed to.”

350 Salem OR is the local affiliate of international climate action organization 350.org. The mission of 350 Salem OR is to build an inclusive grassroots movement that targets keeping fossil fuels in the ground, advocates for a just transition to a renewable energy economy, and supports community-based resilience in response to the climate crisis.

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Here’s how you can help.

City planners recently unveiled the draft “Our Salem” strategic plan. Unfortunately, their Preferred Scenario does not call for a more than a minimal reduction in greenhouse gas emissions. In fact, it locks us into business as usual.

Take the City Survey and urge planners to take action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.