SOCAN Co-facilitator Alan Journet and HD5 Representative Pam Marsh discuss legislative proposals

Hogan Sherrow representing the Rural Oregon Climate Political Action Committee and Alan Journet, SOCAN co-facilitator were in the Capitol encouraging our legislators to endorse strong climate action in 2020

November 18th was the first day of a week of Legislative Days in Salem where legislators are in the Capitol and when – among other legislative duties legislators are available for constituents to visit and express  concerns.   In the arena of climate legislation, Representative Pam Marsh and Senator Jeff Golden are both genuine champions urging passage of meaningful greenhouse gas emissions reduction policy that would place the state on a trajectory to achieve substantial emissions reductions.  Statewide climate coalition leaders at Renew Oregon orchestrated Monday November 18th as the day when climate activists across the state converged on the Capitol to demonstrate that we are still here and still urging strong legislation.  A contingent from Southern Oregon joined the statewide cooperative effort visit our representatives and demonstrate the commitment of rural Oregonians to action.  During the short visit to the Capitol, we left cards with legislative leaders urging their support for legislation and visited our champions.   SOCAN volunteers (Louise Shawkat, Chuck Rhine, Wolf Geiger, Allen Hallmark – behind the camera – and Alan Journet) representing SOCAN and rural Southern Oregon were joined in this excursion by Hogan Sherrow representing the totally independent Rural Oregon Climate Political Action Committee (http://rocpac.org). Over 150 climate activists from across the state participated in the day of Climate Action.

The SOCAN delegation visits Senator Golden (Chuck Rhine, Wolf Geiger, Louis Shawkat, Senator Jeff Golden, Alan Journet).

Photos by Allen  Hallmark

November 2019 Reminder Notes

1 – Legislative Days at the Capitol in Salem (Monday November 18th, 2019)

We have been absent from the Capitol building for several months.  Meanwhile, Timber Unity, Industry, and our well-oiled opponents and their lobbyists have been inundating legislators in the Capitol with their ongoing campaign of lies and misinformation.  On Monday (18th) we will try to recapture that sense of energy and enthusiasm for climate action that we demonstrated in the 2019 session.

To this end, we will be driving to Salem to (a) be seen in large numbers wandering the Halls in the Capitol, (b) visiting our legislators to indicate that we are still here and urging action, and (c) delivering letters from rural Oregon to those legislators demonstrating rural concern for action It would be helpful if those going to Salem were to carry  letters to their legislators (from themselves and anyone else they can tap to write a letter that:  1) identify why they were inspired by HB2020, 2) explain why they, as rural Oregonians, care, 3) Underline that this is unfinished business, and 4) urge a strong bill in the 2020 session. These can also be mailed / e-mailed: Find your state legislators: https://www.oregonlegislature.gov/FindYourLegislator/leg-districts.html

The plan is to leave the region about 8:00 – 8:30 to be in Salem by around noon.  We are trying to schedule legislator visits between 12:30 and 2:00 so we can head back soon after that – to return by 5:30 – 6:00.  If you plan to make the trip, please contact Alan (541-301-4107, alan@socan.eco) so we can keep you updated on plans and the schedule of meetings.  If you would like to join a car-pool, let Alan know so this can be arranged.  SOCAN will buy carbon offsets for those joining the car-pool to counter GHG emissions resulting from the trip.  A flexible one-on-one orientation to the day’s activity and legislator messaging has been scheduled for whenever we arrive – at the Salem (Marion County) Democratic Party HQ: 245 High St NE, Salem, OR 97301 any time between 8am – 4pm.

Please wear your orange SOCAN, grey MCP,  or the white Clean Energy Jobs T-Shirt since our goal is to be conspicuous by our presence.

2 – Urgent Action Requested – Help us take a stand against corporate polluters!

Would you like to close loopholes in Oregon law that currently allow cancer-causing chemicals like mercury, arsenic and lead to be released into our air, water, and soil? Sign The Toxics Reduction and Right to Know Act (IP 56) right now!

The Toxics Reduction and Right to Know Act will give Oregon voters a voice in the 2020 election to close toxic pollution loopholes and allow total transparency of toxic pollution. Here’s what it does:

Toxic pollution is making people sick and contributing to unnecessary deaths. Toxic pollution causes cancer. Toxic pollution causes asthma. Toxic pollution causes heart disease. Together we can reduce toxic pollution and lift the gag order that prevents local communities from learning which toxics go into their air, water and soil from industrial and commercial facilities.

The Toxics Reduction and Right to Know Act has been endorsed by Oregon League of Conservation Voters, Beyond Toxics, Pineros y Campesinos Unidos del Noroeste (PICUN), Oregon Environmental Council, NAACP Eugene/Springfield, Union of Concerned Scientists, and others in the Oregonians for Clean Air coalition (including SOCAN).

We are seeking signature on the first round petition drive to get the Secretary of State to accept the Ballot Measure.  This requires that statewide we gather 1000 signatures submitted to and reaching Renew Oregon by Wednesday (21st).  We’d like you to  download the form, sign it, and mail it by Monday at the latest to the address on the form: (Renew Oregon, Attention Sonny Mehta, P.O. Box 5999, Portland OR 97228).

NGOs report fourfold increases in investments in carbon-reducing projects in developing countries

Sandra Laville, November 8, 2019, The Guardian

Growing concern about the climate crisis and the “Greta Thunberg effect” are driving huge increases in individuals and businesses choosing to offset their emissions by investing in carbon-reducing projects in developing countries.

NGOs and organisations involved in carbon offsetting have seen as much as a fourfold increase in investment from people who want to try to mitigate their carbon footprints.

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Adam Duvernay, Eugene Register Guard, November 10, 2019 (also in Medford Mail Tribune, November 11, 2019)

Oregon is not on track to meet the emissions goals it set for itself, and as the U.S. plans to leave the world climate stage, environmentalists worry the state is falling behind.

In a dire climate report spearheaded by Oregon State University ecologists, thousands of scientists said the world is dooming itself by inaction.

The World Scientists’ Warning of a Climate Emergency report released Nov. 5 goes further than many before, declaring a “climate emergency” and proposing hard measures governments and individuals should take to reverse a dangerous, impending fate.

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Seth Borenstein, AP, July 4th 2019

WASHINGTON (AP) — The most effective way to fight global warming is to plant lots of trees, a study says. A trillion of them, maybe more.

And there’s enough room, Swiss scientists say. Even with existing cities and farmland, there’s enough space for new trees to cover 3.5 million square miles (9 million square kilometers), they reported in Thursday’s journal Science . That area is roughly the size of the United States.

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If it’s to be truly effective in addressing the climate crisis, the Green New Deal must prioritize a just transition.

James K. Boyce and Manuel Pastor,  The Nation, November 7th 2019

The details of the Green New Deal have yet to be fleshed out, but its central aim is crystal clear: to usher in the clean-energy transition and at the same time deliver solid economic gains for the majority of Americans. Some have counterpoised the Green New Deal’s stress on public investment and regulation to the carbon pricing approach favored by many economists. We think there are ways to bring the two together.

How can a price on carbon be reconciled with economic and environmental justice? After all, critics decry the regressive nature of carbon pricing, pointing out that as a share of income it hits the poor harder than the middle class, and the middle class harder than the rich. And environmental justice advocates note that carbon pricing can perpetuate, maybe even exacerbate, pollution “hot spots” in low-income communities of color.

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Andrew Buncombe, November 2nd, 2019 Independent

The words from California’s former governor could barely have been more stark.

“I said it was the new normal a few years ago,’’ says Jerry Brown. “This is serious, but this is only the beginning. This is only a taste of the horror and the terror that will occur in decades.”

As firefighters in California continue to confront a three-week spate of blazes that has reached across the state, attention has also turned to why this year’s wildfires have been so severe. The reason, according to scientists, is climate change.

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Michael Mann, October 29, 2019, Newsweek

Climate change was long regarded as a distant threat, one happening in far off places and future times. That is unfortunately no longer the case. Climate change is here, and it’s burning through California.

I spent five years in the San Francisco Bay Area getting my undergraduate degrees in applied math and physics from UC-Berkeley. To see my campus threatened by the fires is heartbreaking. I can’t even imagine how bad it is for those who have spent their entire lives, not just a beloved portion of it, in the East Bay. My thoughts are with those struggling to survive this fire, and are choking through the clouds of smoke it casts across the state.

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The 2018 Green New Deal (Early Analysis)

This was developed by, and is being promoted largely by  the Sunrise Movement, a youth organization Representative Alexandria Ocasio Cortez (AOC) is a leading proponent but many others have also endorsed it.  Ocasio Cortez and Senator Ed Markey have developed a Green New Deal Resolution that is being introduced into the federal House and Senate.

The notion of a Green New Deal that combines environmental / climate consciousness with social justice seems very attractive – even exciting.  However, what the initial Select Committee proposal was tremendously naive (a naivete shared by many who should know better) regarding climate science.  That initial proposal focused on carbon, decarbonization, and a carbon-free economy as though carbon (dioxide) is the only problem.  We contacted them through several means to point out that the focus should be on greenhouse gases NOT carbon unless they want to promote natural gas and methane leakage.  The problem with a focus on carbon (see https://socan.eco/the-carbon-mistake) /is that it ignores the non-carbon greenhouse gas Nitrous oxide, and undervalues the impact of other greenhouse gases (methane and the fluorocarbons with much greater global warming potential than carbon dioxide) thus promoting conversion by utilities and vehicles from coal/oil to natural gas.  This would promote the relatively large leakage of methane that results from fracking, processing and transmitting fossil (natural) gas. Then, after a few weeks, we learned that they had revised their proposal exactly as suggested.  We don’t know if it was just us or others commenting also, but I was pleased by the adjustment.  The text of the updated proposal for a Select Committee, though now moot, can be found here.

Since then, references to the GND  by journalists often suggest that its focus is on carbon.  This, however, is a reflection of poor journalism not a badly worded proposal.
The text of their strategy is very promising.

NOVEMBER 2019 UPDATE

Following a recommendation from the SOCAN Government Group, The Board of Directors of Southern Oregon Climate Action Now has endorsed the Green New Deal.  The endorsement statement reads as follows:

The concept behind the Green New Deal (and its presentation in the form of House Resolution 109) is the need to provide an aspirational framework for a decade of Federal action. Its authors recognize the myth contained in the assumption that infinite economic growth is possible, urging, rather, that we focus on economic principles that address the primary crises facing us. These crises include: the urgent need for substantial action to address atmospheric greenhouse gas concentrations; the need to redress the gross wealth inequity that has developed in the United States over the last few decades; the need to solve the long history of environmental and social injustice that has been imposed on frontline communities who suffer greatest and are able to counter least both the assault of climate chaos and hardships potentially imposed by remedies. Given these considerations, Southern Oregon Climate Action Now is pleased to endorse the Green New Deal and encourages other organizations concerned about climate chaos to do likewise.

 

Sam Stites, Oregon Capitol Bureau, October 30th 2019\

SALEM — The next session of the Oregon Legislature is expected to begin the way the last one ended, with a dramatic clash between Democrats and Republicans over carbon emissions.

Sen. Michael Dembrow, D-Portland, is reworking a proposal to create a cap-and-trade program in Oregon for consideration by legislators when they convene next February.

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