About the Environmental Caucus

The Oregon Legislature’s Environmental Caucus is composed of members who believe that our state requires bold environmental action in the Legislature. We know that climate change is impacting Oregon’s natural resources, wildlife, and people. Members are committed to moving quickly, thoughtfully, and boldly to address this issue.  More

Environmental Caucus Staff:

Kathryn Duvall, Environmental Caucus Chief of Staff

 

Photo by Alan Journet

Curiously, no mention of the SOCAN Grants Pass Climate Action Team, especially Tom Bradbeer and Dorothy Swain. Journalists sometimes miss the essence of the story. 

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Among rural communities, Grants Pass, Oregon, has notched an unlikely win: a sustainability plan. But lack of dedicated staff and resources to secure federal grant funds threaten its success.

Claire Carlson, Daily Yonder, February 14th 2024

One of the most iconic landmarks in downtown Grants Pass, Oregon, is a 100-year-old sign that arcs over the main street with the phrase “It’s the Climate” scrawled across it.

To an outsider, it’s an odd slogan in this rural region, where comments about the climate – or rather, climate change – can be met with apprehension. But for locals, it’s a nod to an era when the “climate” only referred to Grants Pass’ warm, dry summers and mild winters when snow coats the surrounding mountains but rarely touches down in the city streets.

Now, the slogan takes on a different meaning.

In May 2023, the Grants Pass City Council passed a one-of-a-kind sustainability plan that, if implemented, would transition publicly owned buildings and vehicles to renewable energy, diversifying their power sources in case of natural disaster.

While passing the sustainability plan in this largely Republican county was an enormous feat on its own, actually paying for the energy projects proves to be Grants Pass’ biggest challenge yet.

More

Beaver at Three Forks, Owyhee Canyon – Alan Journet

SALEM — Two years ago, Clover Leonard was surprised to discover limbs missing from her trees before any U-pick customers had visited her apple orchard near Medford.

Though it didn’t take the apple grower long to deduce that beavers were to blame, finding a solution was more troublesome.

“There was no shortage of trees to nibble,” Leonard said.

She didn’t want to kill the animals, which are known for environmental benefits as well as property damage, but got the run-around from government agencies regarding her other options.

“I was achieving little success and a lot of frustration,” she said.

More

 

Alan R.P. Journet Ph.D.
Cofacilitator
Southern Oregon Climate Action Now
alan@socan.eco
541-500-2331
February 14th 2024

 

Reference Bill Number SB1530-3

Chair Jayma and Members of the Senate Committee On Housing and Development

I write as cofacilitator of Southern Oregon Climate Action Now, an organization of some 2,000 Southern Oregonians who are concerned about the climate crisis and encourage state action to address it.  As rural and coastal Southern Oregonians, we live on the frontlines of the warming, reducing snowpack, heatwaves, drought and the increasing wildfire risk that these trends conspire to produce.  Because of this, we pay close attention to what is happening in Salem in terms of legislative proposals.

In addition to our concern about the climate crisis, we are also aware of the housing crisis and its effect on low-income Oregonians. As demonstrated in Figure 1, greenhouse gas emissions from the Residential Sector constituted a substantial proportion of the total of 61.4 million metric tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent emissions in 2021 (DEQ 2022).  This pattern has been consistent since 1990 when data were first gathered and reported.

The bottom line is that healthy, well-constructed energy-efficient homes serve to enhance the well-being of residents and reduce their monthly costs while also reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Although building healthy and energy efficient homes may cost a little more than conventional cheap and poorly constructed dwellings, their long term operations and life cycle costs for homeowners are considerably lower. This comprises a perfect example that dispels the myth that addressing climate change conflicts with economics.

Given the commitment of the state to addressing the housing crisis by promoting construction of affordable homes and address the climate crisis through programs that reduce greenhouse gas emissions and promote carbon sequestration, SOCAN strongly supports SB1530-03 since this can have the dual benefit of addressing both the affordable housing crisis in Oregon and Oregon’s contribution to national and global greenhouse gas emissions.

Respectfully Submitted

Alan Journet

DEQ 2022 Oregon Greenhouse Gas Sector-Based Inventory Data.  Oregon Department of Environmental Quality.  https://www.oregon.gov/deq/ghgp/Pages/GHG-Inventory.aspx

Alan R.P. Journet Ph.D.
Cofacilitator
Southern Oregon Climate Action Now
alan@socan.eco
541-500-2331
February 18th 2024

 

Reference Bill Number HB4106

Chair Helm and members of the House Committee on Agriculture, Land Use, Natural Resources and Water:

I write as cofacilitator of Southern Oregon Climate Action Now, an organization of some 2,000 Southern Oregonians who are concerned about the climate crisis and encourage state action to address it.  As rural and coastal Southern Oregonians, we live on the frontlines of the warming, reducing snowpack, heatwaves, drought and the increasing wildfire risk that these trends conspire to produce.  Because of this, we pay close attention to what is happening in Salem in terms of legislative proposals.

I write today to offer profound opposition to HB4106.

In its preamble of Whereas clauses, the authors of HB4106 indicate very clearly that their target is to undermine the Habitat Conservation Plan that was developed by a collaborative team of conservationists and timber representatives. ODF (undated) itself identifies the Habitat Conservation Plan thus: “Habitat Conservation Plans (HCPs) can serve as a holistic, proactive landscape-scale approach to achieving economic, environmental and social benefits while protecting federally listed threatened and endangered species” This statement seems quite parallel to that offered by the authors of HB4106 as they clearly try to justify undermining the HCP: “Whereas ecologically sustainable forest management is intended to provide a balance of social services, economic services and environmental ecosystem services.” Essentially, the goals of HB4106 and the HCP are quite compatible. Thus, there is absolutely no reason to establish a costly and time-consuming program that would undermine the HCP.

We are also well aware that the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (2018, 2023) has acknowledged that without a substantial investment in carbon sequestration in our natural and working lands, we will be unable to meet the climate goals established as essential if we are to avoid crossing thresholds that will lead to the destruction of life on our previous planet as we know it. Yet, the focus on timber harvest rather than sustainable forest management embodied in HB4106 would severely undermine efforts to promote carbon sequestration in our Oregon forestland.  It is abundantly clear, one would hope, that Oregon’s public forests are maintained and managed by ODF in trust for all Oregonians not just those who would generate short-term profit from harvesting the timber. Given that a large proportion of our forests are currently owned and managed by out-of-state Timber Investment Management Organizations and Real Estate Investment Trusts the goal of which is to maximize profits for shareholders rather than maintain healthy sustainable forests, we argue that focusing on timber harvest in the management of our forests is not in the best interests of the Oregonians that own our public forested land.

For these reasons, Southern Oregon Climate Action Now opposes HB4106 and encourages its rejection.

Respectfully Submitted

Alan Journet

IPCC 2018 Global Warming of 1.5⁰C Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. https://www.ipcc.ch/sr15/

IPCC 2023 CLIMATE CHANGE 2023 Synthesis Report Summary for Policymakers. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. https://www.ipcc.ch/report/ar6/syr/downloads/report/IPCC_AR6_SYR_SPM.pdf

ODF undated. Habitat Conservation Plan – Frequently Asked Questions. Oregon Department of Forestry. https://www.oregon.gov/odf/aboutodf/pages/hcp-faq.aspx

 

 

Alan R.P. Journet Ph.D.
Cofacilitator
Southern Oregon Climate Action Now
7113 Griffin Lane
Jacksonville OR 97530-9342

Co-Chair
Climate, Energy and Environment Team
Consolidated Oregon Indivisible Network
541-301-4107
alan@socan.eco
February 16th, 2024

 

 

Chair Decker and Members of the Public Utilities Commission:

I write as cofacilitator of Southern Oregon Climate Action Now (SOCAN), an organization of over 2,000 rural Southern Oregonians who are concerned about the climate crisis and urge statewide action to address it. The mission of SOCAN is to promote awareness and understanding of the science of global warming and its climate chaos consequences and stimulate individual and collective action to address it, doing so within the framework of addressing social justice. Since rural Oregonians occupy the frontlines in experiencing the impact of the drought, shrinking snowpack, wildfires and extreme weather that the climate crisis imposes, we are strongly committed to statewide action.

I also write as a co-chair of the Climate, Energy and Environment Team of the Consolidated Oregon Indivisible Network.

In both capacities, I write regarding the IRP submitted by Avista.

I engaged with the Department of Environmental Quality from the initial round of technical information hearings as it began considering its response to Governor Brown’s Executive Order 20-04, through the meetings of the Rulemaking Advisory Committee (RAC) and the final consideration and approval of the Climate Protection Plan by the Environmental Quality Commission in December 2022.  During the many months of this process, I submitted a plethora of comments and suggestions to DEQ on the meetings and their outcomes.

During the RAC sequence, the Natural Gas utilities were well represented as members of that body.  Throughout those discussions, these representatives claimed that they were committed to addressing the climate crisis by reducing their greenhouse gas emissions. Yet, time and again, they resisted reasonable efforts on the part of DEQ or other RAC members to develop a strong program. And then, of course, once the Climate Protection Program was developed and approved by the Environmental Quality Commission, the gas utilities joined the effort of polluters statewide to undermine and negate the CPP.  Now that they have succeeded in this effort, it is unsurprising that Avista mentions this success in the second paragraph of their response to PUC Staff comments: “Much of Staff’s comments pertaining to their recommendation of non-acknowledgment relate to the Climate Protection Program (CPP) which on December 20, 2023, the Oregon Court of Appeals has ruled the CPP rules as invalid.” The impression this creates is of confirmation of Avista’s resistance to developing a business model that will lead to the kind of emissions reductions we know we need. Since we know that DEQ plans to re-establish the thwarted program, this reference seems irrelevant. Rather, it confirms the longstanding pattern of resistance to climate science acknowledgment and action described below.

For over a decade research demonstrating the fallacy that methane (natural gas) is clean has been growing. Yet, Avista (2021) has continued to reiterate this false claim. For example, in these promotional materials, we find: “Even though natural gas is a clean fuel, we believe we can make it greener, and we felt it was time to be clear about our path forward.” Continuing to repeat this false claim even though the contrary research is abundant seriously undermines Avista’s credibility in any claims they make. When the negative health effects of domestic exposure to methane (e.g., Gottlieb & Dyrszka 2017, Seals & Krasner 2020, O’Rourke et al. 2022) are added to the climate equation, it becomes more obvious that Avista’s effort to maintain and even expand its marketing of methane should be challenged.

Since the PUC has long been considering methane gas utility documents and requests, I will assume that PUC members are fully aware of the evidence regarding the substantial global warming potential of methane and the greenhouse gas emissions that result from the extraction, processing, transmission and combustion of methane. In short, full lifecycle assessments of these emissions, considering the far greater short-term global warming potential imposed by methane compared to carbon dioxide, reveal that, in terms of its global warming impact, fracked and conventionally extracted methane gas can easily be as bad as – if not worse than – coal as an energy source. Indeed, a recent peer-reviewed paper by Gordon et al. (2023) offers the following four important conclusions:

1- “gas with a 0.2% leakage rate is on par with coal at all analyzed levels of CMM [Coal Mine Methane] leakage.”

2- “Based on existing studies, coal has a median life-cycle GHG [emissions rate] of 980 kg CO2e per kWh (with an absolute minimum of 675 and maximum of 1689) and gas has a median life-cycle GHG of 501 CO2e/kWh (with a minimum of 290 and maximum of 988).”

3- “…global gas systems that leak over 4.7% of their methane (when considering a 20-year timeframe) or 7.6% (when considering a 100-year timeframe) are on par with life-cycle coal emissions from methane leaking coal mines.”

4- “methane leakage from gas production systems [ranges] from <1% to >66%.

 

Note that while the median value (# 2) for global warming emissions from gas usage is half that of coal, the range for gas emissions overlaps that for coal. This implies that gas is, in some situations, worse than coal. Since leakage rates increase with pipeline age (e.g., Weller et al. 2020), it seems inevitable that emissions will increase as infrastructure ages.

Given the serious climate damage that the gas utilities impose and the ongoing pressure to electrify everything, Avista seems reluctant in its IRP to recognize this and adequately account for it.  Avista seems intent on taking the minimum steps possible to reduce its contribution to the problem while maintaining a commitment to the basic business model that has been contributing to the climate crisis for decades.

Avista’ resource strategy for Oregon is presented in Figure 1 where the emphasis on so-called Renewable Natural gas (RNG) and Synthetic Methane is evident. There is abundant evidence that accurate full lifecycle assessment of RNG indicates that it is not superior to fracked natural gas (e.g., Feinstein and de Place 2021). Meanwhile, in a study of the potential for RNG incorporation in the state’s natural gas supply, the Oregon Department of Energy (ODOE 2018) inventoried supplies and concluded: “The gross potential for RNG production when using anaerobic digestion technology is around 10 billion cubic feet of methane per year, which is about 4.6 percent of Oregon’s total yearly use of natural gas.”  As Figure 1 illustrates, Avista anticipates RNG comprising much more than 4.6% of its total supply. Even employing [energy – fossil fuel intensive] thermal gasification technology, the ODOE study concluded the maximum would be 17.5%.  One wonders if Avista imagines a massive increase in landfill and agricultural animal feedlot operations that produce methane. Although Avista rejected the PUC concern about the quantity of RNG available to meet the desired capacity, it should be noted that using national supplies of RNG in Oregon would require transmitting the gas from the distant corners of the nation.  The result would inevitably be substantial leakage of methane from the pipelines through which this gas is pumped, an outcome substantially negating any RNG benefits. While the CPP as approved was clearly targeting emissions in Oregon, this should not be achieved by exporting those emissions across the country.

Avista (Figure 1 again) also clearly relies heavily on a future with synthetic methane. Even if synthetic gas from hydrogen derived from the energy intensive electrolysis of water using renewable energy and combing this with Carbon dioxide captured using the economically questionable process of carbon capture from industrial process were possible, NRDC (2020) indicated that synthetic gas “…is still projected to be very expensive in 2040 and 2050.” Relying on carbon capture to provide the carbon dioxide also seem optimistic. While reporting on the EPA proposing rules that challenge industry to fulfill its promise to establish carbon capture technology to reduce emissions, Hennessy (2023) concludes “CCS doesn’t have a strong track record of actually sequestering carbon — especially for the power sector, where 90 percent of proposed carbon capture capacity has failed or never gotten off the ground.” Synthetic methane seems unlikely to provide Avista with an economically feasible option. The PUC should be skeptical about claims from Avista that involve emissions reductions relying on synthetic methane and the questionable CCS technology.

Additionally, abundant problems exist with the concept of incorporating Green Hydrogen into the gas mix (e.g., St. John 2022; MITClimate 2023). The latter source, quoting Raju et al. (2022) pointed out: “In a study released last summer, the California Public Utility Commission found that up to 5 percent hydrogen blended with natural gas appears safe, but higher percentages could lead to embrittlement or a greater chance of pipeline leaks.” Erdener et al. (2023) concur, pointing out that “existing gas-fired power plants or industrial processes, may not be designed to tolerate hydrogen blending beyond a given limit; for many existing gas-fired power plants, this limit is 5% volume.” In short, Hydrogen whether green, blue, gray, brown or pink, cannot contribute much to solving vista’s greenhouse gas problem.

In developing its IRP, Avista seems to have lost sight of the fact that it is an energy company not merely a gas company.  Avista’s best future seems to be to transition out of the gas arena and into renewable energy. It also seems to have abdicated the claims that it has often made that it accepts climate science and is willing to become part of the solution rather than continues as part of the problem. Avista’s track record encourages confidence in neither its IRP nor its commitment to reducing emissions rather than expanding it gas network.  The task of the PUC is to ensure Avista fulfills its commitment with a reasonable IRP.

Respectfully submitted,

Alan Journet Ph.D.
Cofacilitator of Southern Oregon Climate Action Now
Co-Chair Consolidated Oregon Indivisible Network Climate, Energy and Environment Team

Reference Cited

Avista 2021 Announces Natural Gas Emissions Reduction Goal FAQ. Avista https://www.myavista.com/-/media/myavista/content-documents/about-us/natural-gas-emission-reduction-goal-faq.pdf

Avista 2023 Natural Gas Integrated Resource Plan. Avista https://edocs.puc.state.or.us/efdocs/HAA/lc81haa114738.pdf

Erdener B, Sergi B, Guerra O, Chueca A, Pambour K, Brancucci C, Hodge B. 2023 A review of technical and regulatory limits for hydrogen blending in natural gas pipelines. International Journal of Hydrogen Energy 48 (14) 5595 – 5617. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0360319922050923#:~:text=End%2Duse%20applications%2C%20such%20as,5%25%20volume%20%5B14%5D.

Feinstein L and De Place E. 2021 THE FOUR FATAL FLAWS OF RENEWABLE NATURAL GAS: Gas utilities are telling tall tales about RNG. Sightline https://www.sightline.org/2021/03/09/the-four-fatal-flaws-of-renewable-natural-gas/

Gordon D, Reuland F, Jacob D, Worden J, Shindell D and Dysn M 2023. Evaluating net life-cycle greenhouse gas emissions intensities from gas and coal at varying methane leakage rates. Environmental Research Letters. Environ. Res. Lett. 18 084008 https://iopscience.iop.org/article/10.1088/1748-9326/ace3db

Gottlieb B, Dyrszka L. 2017 Too Dirty, Too Dangerous: Why Health Professionals Reject Natural Gas. Physicians for Social Responsibility https://psr.org/resources/too-dirty-too-dangerous/

Hennessy P. 2023 Is carbon capture viable? In a new rule, the EPA is asking power plants to prove it. Grist https://grist.org/energy/is-carbon-capture-viable-in-a-new-rule-the-epa-is-asking-power-plants-to-prove-it/

MITClimate 2023 Can we use the pipelines and power plants we have now to transport and burn hydrogen, or do we need new infrastructure?  Ask MIT Climate. https://climate.mit.edu/ask-mit/can-we-use-pipelines-and-power-plants-we-have-now-transport-and-burn-hydrogen-or-do-we-need#:~:text=In%20a%20study%20released%20last,greater%20chance%20of%20pipeline%20leaks.

ODOE 2018 Biogas and Renewable Natural Gas Inventory SB 334 (2017). Oregon Department of Energy. https://www.oregon.gov/energy/Data-and-Reports/Documents/2018-RNG-Inventory-Report.pdf

O’Rourke D, Caleb N, Muller K, Pernick A, Plaut M, Plummer D, Serres D, Stewart B, Studer-Spevack N, Rsongas T, Turner A 2022 METHANE GAS: HEALTH, SAFETY, ECONOMIC, AND CLIMATE IMPACTS: A case for equitable electrification. Families for Climate. https://www.familiesforclimate.org/blog/methane-gas-health-safety-economic-and-climate-impacts

 

Raju A, Martinez Morales A, Lever O, Asiedu-Akrofi L. 2022 Hydrogen Blending

Impacts Study. The California Public Utilities Commission. https://docs.cpuc.ca.gov/PublishedDocs/Efile/G000/M493/K760/493760600.PDF

 

Seals B and Krasner A. 2020 Health Effects from Gas Stove Pollution. Physicians for Social Responsibility. https://psr.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/health-effects-from-gas-stove-pollution.pdf

St. John J 2022 Experts say blending hydrogen into gas pipelines won’t work. Canary Media. https://www.canarymedia.com/articles/hydrogen/experts-say-blending-hydrogen-into-gas-pipelines-wont-work

Weller Z, Hamburg S, van Fischer J 2020 A National Estimate of Methane Leakage from Pipeline Mains in Natural Gas Local Distribution Systems. Environmental Science and Technology 54: 8958-8967. https://pubs.acs.org/doi/epdf/10.1021/acs.est.0c00437

 

Rising temperatures bring an increased risk of wildfire.

 

Alan R.P. Journet Ph.D.
Cofacilitator
Southern Oregon Climate Action Now
alan@socan.eco
541-500-2331
February 15th 2024

 

Reference Bill Number HB4133

Chair Nathanson and Members of the House Committee on Revenue:

I write as cofacilitator of Southern Oregon Climate Action Now, an organization of some 2,000 Southern Oregonians who are concerned about the climate crisis and encourage state action to address it.  As rural Oregonians, we live on the frontlines of the warming, reducing snowpack, heatwaves, drought and the increasing wildfire risk that these trends conspire to produce.  Because of this, we pay close attention to what is happening in Salem in terms of legislative proposals. Living in rural Oregon, we are naturally quite aware of and concerned about the problem of wildfire since it poses a direct risk to us on an annual basis.

I write today to offer our perspective on HB4133. Before commenting on the proposal itself I offer a little fire ecology background.

Oregonians live in a Mediterranean-type climate (MTC) where summers are very dry, and winters are wet. This is a very unusual climate, occurring in just a few locations around the globe (e.g., Geodiode undated): around the Mediterranean ocean (of course), western North America (from Washinton down to California), western S. America (especially Chile), western South Africa (around Cape Town), southwestern Australia (around Perth) and South Australia (north of Adelaide). Discussing fire and plant diversification in this climate Rundel et al. (2018) argue: “The onset of MTCs in the middle Miocene brought summer drought, a novel climatic condition, but also a regime of recurrent fire.” They also report the conclusions of Keeley et al. (2012) that: “Mediterranean-type climates with summer drought conditions are conducive to regular fire. The mild wet winter-spring seasons lead to moderate productivity generating broad landscapes of contiguous fuels, and the annual summer drought converts this biomass into available fuels.” I stress this history to underline that fire has been a constant factor influencing the forest ecosystems of Oregon for millennia and certainly throughout the period that our current associations of tree species have occupied the region.  As a result, our forests, particularly our dry forests, are fire prone, fire adapted and fire dependent.  Ongoing forest health requires recurrent fire.  In addition to the impact of climate on fire frequency, Native Americans, who have existed alongside our western forests essentially for thousands of years, have successfully incorporated into their forest management regimes frequent burning (e.g. Philips 2023).

The recent history of climatic conditions has displayed considerable variability.  During the last century, for example, we have experienced fluctuations in the Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO).  The PDO cycles every several decades between a warm and dry climate inland and a cool moist climate.  Not surprisingly, the former phase is likely to stimulate dry vegetation and the spread of wildfires once they are ignited, while the latter tends to suppress that risk. For example, over a decade ago, Keeton et al. (2007) concluded from 20th century data: “Forest fires showed significant correlations with warm/dry phases of the PDO at regional and state scales…” The Oregon Department of Forestry has been reporting data since 1911 on the area under its fire management burned by wildfire. In recent years, this has been related to the PDO transitions (Figure 1 – modified from ODF 2022).

Many Oregonians are surprised to discover that, with the exception of the remarkable year of 2020, the area annually burned during the early decades of the last century exceeded that burning recently.  Note the graph indicates that fire initiations, though variable year-to-year, show no overall trend.  Meanwhile, on the other hand, the area burned was clearly greater in the early years of the 20th century than now – with the singular exception of 2020.  Note also how the decline in area burned in the early 1940s coincided both with the transition in the PDO from a warm to a cool phase, and with the launch of the Smokey Bear campaign of fire suppression (added to depict its potential relevance). Then the recent increase in area burned from the late 1980s coincides first with the return of the PDO warm phase but also with the statewide increase in temperature consequent upon global warming (Figure 2) where we can see that the recent warming phase started its upward climb in the mid-1980s and has continued essentially unabated.

One consequence of the successful fire suppression campaign has been an extension in the historic Fire Return Interval (FRI), particularly in our dry forests.  The FRI in the Southwest historically ranged from single digits to the low teens (e.g., Metlen et al. 2018). With successful fire suppression, the FRI has lengthened substantially. This has resulted in the invasion into the forests of fire intolerant species (Zouhar et al. 2008) and an increased density of vegetation serving as fuel for fires once ignited (e.g., Philips 2023). Thus, we can reasonably infer that the data on the area burned display a correlation with both climatic shifts and human fire suppression efforts.  While correlations don’t necessarily imply cause and effect, it seems reasonable to infer that climate and fire suppression have been implicated in the increase in area burned over the last few decades.  Interestingly, these trends, notably climate and fire suppression influencing fire risk, are not restricted to the Mediterranean climate of the western United States but are described elsewhere, for example in the Appalachian forests (Reilly et al. 2022).

The patterns described above are compounded by current climate projections available from the USGS (Alder and Hostettler 2013). These projections rely on the latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change scenarios (IPCC 2023) involving an array of Shared Socioeconomic Pathways (SSPs) that depict different future human behaviors and their atmospheric and climate consequences.  In the following graphs, the blue lines and shading represent the SSP 4.5 scenario, the orange line and shading represent the SSP7.0 scenario and the red line and scenario represent the SSP 8.5 scenario. These are discussed by Haaufather (2019). Schaumann (2022), meanwhile, states “RCP-8.5 is not only the arguably most popular climate change scenario, it is also often framed in a very specific manner: as the business-as-usual trajectory that humanity is on if no climate change policies are adopted.” Since managing climate change comprises risk management, it seems rational to focus on what may be the most serious outcome which is reflected in the 8.5 future.

If Oregon follows the temperature trend consistent with the recent past (Figure 3), by the end of the century, annual temperatures will likely climb over 10⁰F (about 6⁰C) above the 1981-2010 average. The same source indicates that the projected trend of increasing temperature is greater during summer months than winter months.

The same USGS source (Alder and Hostettler 2013) provides projections that suggest average annual precipitation will change little (Figure 4) although seasonal patterns are different: winters will likely exhibit a slight increase in precipitation while summers will likely exhibit a slight decrease. As a result, we can expect the very conditions (increasing temperature and decreasing water availability during summer and fall) stimulating wildfire spread will become more severe.  A decade ago, Marlon et al. (2012) reported on the historical relationship between climate and areas burned by wildfire over several thousand years. They concluded that the western U.S. is already currently experiencing a substantial fire deficit, meaning that according to climatic patterns, the area burned should currently be much greater than it is.  Presumably, the projected climate trends will only exacerbate this problem, creating conditions where even greater risk of megafires can be expected.

This leads to the critical question of what we should do to address and manage this wildfire problem. There is no magic bullet. However, history and evidence tell us that management that simply suppresses and extinguishes all fires, rather than management that recognizes the need for fires in our forests, are doomed to failure. Rather than develop management plans that simply increase our susceptibility to fires spreading once initiated, we need to develop plans that both manage fires once initiated and include prescribed fires that simulate the historic pattern and thus promote healthy forests. This illustrates the problem of unintended consequences.  While there is no doubt that Oregonians have recently suffered much from the smoke and disastrous loss that have resulted from fire, it is critical that those making decisions on policy and funding acknowledge the fire ecology of our forests and respond appropriately.

It is also worth recognizing that, a commonly voiced opinion (e.g., VBC 2022) that many Oregonians maintain is that more destructive wildfires start on public than private land. However, in the western United States, fires that cross ownership boundaries (so-called cross boundary fires) more frequently originate on privately owned land and cross onto USFS lands than the reverse (Downing et al. 2022). Lunderberg (2022) summarized these findings with the conclusion: “Of all ignitions that crossed jurisdictional boundaries, a little more than 60% originated on private property, and 28% ignited on national forests. Most of the fires started due to human activity.” Lundquist (2022) summarized the Downing et al. (2022) study by stating: “The data showed that ignitions on Forest Service land resulted in fewer than 25% of the most destructive wildfires – those causing the loss of more than 50 structures.”

Given this context, we offer the following comments on HB4133:

We understand and applaud the basic premise that addressing the confusing system for funding wildfire management is timely. However, we note that the adjusted taxation system involving Privilege and Harvest taxes seems remarkably complex. We do, however, support the inclusion of a Consumer Price Index adjustment to these rates. We are concerned also that, if the comments from the witnesses is accurate (e.g., Weyerhaeuser will pay half a million dollars less than currently) the system of taxation seems likely to raise fewer funds than the current system. Additionally, since the evidence suggests that more fires are initiated on and cross boundaries from private to public lands than the reverse, it seems entirely inappropriate to adopt a fee scale (Section 9) that charges a per acre fee to public landowners twice that charged to private landowners whether the land supports grazing or timber.

We are concerned that a major (maybe unintended) consequence of this proposal is that (a) through the higher per acre charge levied on public lands, taxpayers (especially those in Oregon) will pay more for fire protection than the private timberland owners, where more serious and cross-boundary fire initiations start, who profit most from the timber harvest and fire protection, and (b) the Oregon general fund will continue to subsidize the shortfall in fees collected to address wildfire in Oregon. These two elements in the proposal constitute examples of a public policy that allows private industry to externalize or socialize the costs of their business upon the general taxpaying public. We suggest that a better system would be one that charges the private landowners who are responsible for more cross-boundary and serious fires at least an equal (if not greater) amount to that charged to the less offending publicly owned landowners.

We are also disturbed by the fact that the underlying premise behind this proposal seems to be that the only value in our natural forestland is in the timber that can be harvested from it.  Finally, we note that the entire focus in this proposal is on suppressing and extinguishing fire in our forests when forest fire ecology tells us clearly that we need to manage our forest in such a way that fire is maintained in those systems. In short, the proposal accords no recognition to the need to maintain and manage fire and impose prescribed fire.

Respectfully Submitted

Alan Journet

 

References Cited

Alder J and Hostetler S, 2013. USGS National Climate Change Viewer. US Geological Survey https://doi.org/10.5066/F7W9575T

Downing W, Dunn C, Thompson M, Caggiono M , Short K. 2022. Human ignitions on private lands drive USFS cross-boundary wildfire transmission and community impacts in the western US Nature Scientific Reports  12:2634. https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-022-06002-3

Geodiode. undated. Secrets of World Climate, Chapter 6 Mediterranean. Secrets of World Climate Series. Geodiode, The Ultimate Educational Resource for Climate and Biomes. https://geodiode.com/climate/mediterranean

Hausfather 2019 Explainer: The high-emissions ‘RCP8.5’ global warming scenario. Carbon Brief https://www.carbonbrief.org/explainer-the-high-emissions-rcp8-5-global-warming-scenario/

IPCC 2023 AR6 Synthesis Report: Climate Change 2023. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. https://www.ipcc.ch/report/ar6/syr/

Keeley J, Bond W, Bradstock R, Pausas J and, Rundel P. (2012). Fire in Mediterranean Ecosystems: Ecology, Evolution and Management. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. https://scholar.google.com/scholar_lookup?&title=Fire+in+Mediterranean+Ecosystems%3A+Ecology%2C+Evolution+and+Management%2E&author=Keeley+J.+E.&author=Bradstock+R.+J.&author=Bond+W.+A.&author=Pausas+J.+G.&author=and+Rundel+P.++W.&publication_year=2012

Keeton W, Mote P, Franklin J 2007 Chapter 13.  Climate Variability, Climate Change, and Western Wildfires with Implications for the Urban-Wildland Interface. [In] Living on the Edge: Economic, Institutional and Management Perspectives on Wildfire Hazard in the Urban Interface. Editors Troy A and Kennedy R. https://www.uvm.edu/giee/pubpdfs/Keeton_2007_Advances_in_Econ_of_Env_Resources.pdf

Lunderberg S. 2022. OSU research suggests Forest Service lands not the main source of wildfires affecting communities. Oregon State University. https://today.oregonstate.edu/news/osu-research-suggests-forest-service-lands-not-main-source-wildfires-affecting-communities#:~:text=Of%20all%20ignitions%20that%20crossed,started%20due%20to%20human%20activity.

Lunquist L 2022. Study: Most Destructive Wildfires Have Started on Private Land. Missoulacurrent. https://missoulacurrent.com/study-wildfires-land/#:~:text=A%20recent%20study%20shows%20that,focuses%20on%20people%2C%20not%20forests.

Marlon J, Bartlein P, Gavin D, Walsh M. 2012 Long-term perspective on wildfires in the western USA. Proceedings f the National Academy of Sciences. 109 (9) E535-E543 https://www.pnas.org/doi/abs/10.1073/pnas.1112839109

Metlen K, Skinner C, Olson D, Nichols C, Borgias D 2018 Regional and local controls on historical fire regimes of dry forests and woodlands in the Rogue River Basin, Oregon, USA. Forest Ecology and Management 430: 43 – 58. https://www.ashland.or.us/SIB/files/AFR/Monitoring%20Documents/Metlen_et_al_18_historical_Rogue_Basin_Oregon.pdf

NOAA 2024 Climate at a Glance Statewide Series.  National Centers for Environmental Information, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. https://www.ncei.noaa.gov/access/monitoring/climate-at-a-glance/statewide/time-series/35/tavg/12/12/1895-2023?base_prd=true&begbaseyear=1901&endbaseyear=2000&trend=true&trend_base=10&begtrendyear=1895&endtrendyear=2019

ODF 2022 ODF Fire History 1911-2022. Oregon Department of Forestry. https://www.oregon.gov/odf/fire/documents/odf-century-fire-history-chart.pdf

Philips C. 2023. How Forest Management Can Build Healthy Wildfire Cycles in Western North America. The Equation; Union of Concerned Scientists. https://blog.ucsusa.org/carly-phillips/forest-management-and-wildfire-in-western-north-america/#:~:text=Suppressing%20all%20fires%20and%20excluding,dead%2C%20accumulated%20in%20the%20understory.

Reilly M, Norman S, O’Brien J, Loudermilk E. 2022 Drivers and ecological impacts of a wildfire outbreak in the southern Appalachian Mountains after decades of fire exclusion. Forest Ecology and Management 524.120500. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0378112722004947

Rundel P, Arroyo M, Cowling R, Keeley J, Lamont B, Pausas J, Vargas P. 2018 Fire and Plant Diversification in Mediterranean-Climate Regions. Frontiers in Plant Science Volume 9. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpls.2018.00851

Schaumann F 2022 RCP-8.5: Business-As-Usual or Unrealistic Worst-Case? The contested interpretation of climate change scenarios. Climate Matters https://climatematters.blogs.uni-hamburg.de/2022/07/rcp-8-5-business-as-usual-or-an-unrealistic-worst-case/#:~:text=RCP%2D8.5%20is%20not%20only,climate%20change%20policies%20are%20adopted.

Schick T, Davis R, Younes L 2020 Big money bought the forests. Small timber communities are paying the price. The Oregonian https://projects.oregonlive.com/timber/  https://missoulacurrent.com/study-wildfires-land/#:~:text=A%20recent%20study%20shows%20that,focuses%20on%20people%2C%20not%20forests.

VBC 2022 Wildfire and Forest Management. Oregon Values and Beliefs Center. https://oregonvbc.org/wildfire-and-forest-management/

Zouhar K, Smith J, Sutherland S, Brooks M. 2008. Wildland fire in ecosystems: fire and nonnative invasive plants. Gen. Tech. Rep. RMRS-GTR-42-vol. 6. Ogden, UT: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station. 355 pp. https://bugwoodcloud.org/mura/mipn/assets/File/Wildland%20Fire_USFS.pdf

Applegate Lake, Photo – Alan Journet

Alan R.P. Journet Ph.D.
Cofacilitator
Southern Oregon Climate Action Now
alan@socan.eco
541-500-2331
February 12th 2024

 

Reference Bill Number HB4128

Chair Helm and Members of the House Committee on Agriculture, Land Use, Natural Resources and Water:

I write as cofacilitator of Southern Oregon Climate Action Now, an organization of some 2,000 Southern Oregonians who are concerned about the climate crisis and encourage state action to address it.  As rural and coastal Southern Oregonians, we live on the frontlines of the warming, reducing snowpack, heatwaves, drought and the increasing wildfire risk that these trends conspire to produce.  Because of this, we pay close attention to what is happening in Salem in terms of legislative proposals.

I write today to offer our support for HB4128. Those of us following the reports of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change are very much aware that this body  argued several years ago (IPCC 2018) that it is necessary to limit global warming to 1.5⁰C above pre-industrial levels.  This has become sufficiently well accepted that it has become generally assumed as the target (e.g., IPCC 2023). The industrial revolution is identified as having occurred in the mid – late 1700s through the early 1800s (Wilkinson 2023). By 2018, IPCC indicated that global temperatures had reached 1⁰C above pre-industrial temperature while IPCC (2023) identified warming as then reaching 1.1⁰C above the 1850-1900 immediate post-industrial revolution average. In fact, according to NASA (2024) last year the temperature anomaly over land was already above that critical 1.1⁰C value (NASA 2024) with every month from June onwards beating historic records.

Restricting warming that upper 1.5⁰C target was argued by the IPCC (2018) to require our collectively achieving net zero emissions of greenhouse gases by 2050 where net zero is defined to exists when “…the amount of CO2 entering the atmosphere must equal the amount that is removed.”  The simplest way to achieve this globally is for every jurisdiction to identify at least net zero as its individual goal and identify intermediate targets consistent with achieving that 2050 target.

Projections by the United States Geological Survey (USGS) for Oregon regarding temperature, Precipitation, Snow Water Equivalent based on the latest scenarios and models incorporating Shared Sociopolitical Pathways (Alder and Hostettler 2013) are presented in Figure 1-3.  In these figures, the red line represents the SSP 8.5 scenario, with pink shading the 10% to 90%  percentile range,  the orange line and shading represent the SSP7.0 scenario line and range. Finally, the blue line and blue shading represent the same for the SSP 4.5 scenario. In discussing the Shared Socioeconomic Pathways (SSPs) and their immediate predecessor scenarios, the Representative Concentration Pathways (RCPs), Hausfather (2019) indicated that those developing this scenario identified it as: “a high-emission business as usual scenario”. Meanwhile the IPCC (204)stated: “Scenarios without  additional efforts to constrain emissions (‘baseline scenarios’) lead to pathways ranging between RCP6.0 and RCP8.5.” Unfortunately, recent observed data suggest that our current and possible future trajectory closely resemble the SSP8.5 scenario. In the following comments, I therefore focus on the SSP8.5 scenario. Caution in developing adaptive responses would argue that we anticipate the more extreme future among the ranges offered.

Employing the SSP8.5 scenario the trends reveal temperatures across the state will likely climb some 10⁰F (over 6⁰C) compared to the 1981-2010 baseline (Figure 1) with summers warming substantially more than winters.  The general trend is for precipitation to show little change statewide (Figure 2) but generally a slight possible winter increase and slight summer decrease. Meanwhile, snowfall, measured as the ecologically critical value of Snow Water Equivalent (SWE) is likely to exhibit an annual decrease (Figure 3). Water availability for human use is also dependent on the SWE value. This is especially critical since western states have historically used high elevation snowpack as the reservoir (e.g., USDA undated) supplying snowmelt irrigation and drinking water through summer and into fall.

Although there are slight differences in these projections among regions of the state related to altitude and topography, the overall outcome of the combined trends depicted above is that water availability will probably become an increasing problem for Oregonians across the state, but maybe most especially for rural Oregonians dependent on agriculture or natural resources (forest and fish) for their livelihood.

Given this threat, it seems entirely reasonable for the Oregon Legislature to initiate a study of water infrastructure needs. No doubt this will also result in consideration being given to the underlying problem of water availability.

For these reasons, Southern Oregon Climate Action Now supports HB4128. Assessing, and potentially suggesting remedies to our water infrastructure needs comprises a sound step moving the state towards critical adaptation to climate change. While it is essential that we invest in adaptation to the climate crisis, we must not allow that effort to undermine our statewide efforts also to mitigate the underlying climate problem by reducing greenhouse gas emissions and promoting carbon sequestration in our natural and working lands.

 

 

 

Respectfully Submitted

Alan Journet Ph.D.

References Cited

Alder J and Hostettler S .2013 USGS National Climate Change Viewer. US Geological Survey https://doi.org/10.5066/F7W9575T

Hausfather Z. 2019. Explainer: The high-emissions ‘RCP8.5’ global warming scenario. Carbon Brief. https://www.carbonbrief.org/explainer-the-high-emissions-rcp8-5-global-warming-scenario/

IPCC 2014 Climate Change 2014 Synthesis Report Fifth Assessment Report. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. https://ar5-syr.ipcc.ch/topic_futurechanges.php

IPCC 2018 Global Warming of 1.5⁰C Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. https://www.ipcc.ch/sr15/

IPCC 2023 CLIMATE CHANGE 2023 Synthesis Report Summary for Policymakers. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. https://www.ipcc.ch/report/ar6/syr/downloads/report/IPCC_AR6_SYR_SPM.pdf

NASA 2024 GISS Surface Temperature Analysis (v4) Analysis Graphs and Plots. National Aeronautics and Space Administration. https://data.giss.nasa.gov/gistemp/graphs_v4/

USDA undated. Snow Water Equivalent (SWE) — Its Importance in the Northwest. USDA -Climate Hubs United States Department of Agriculture. https://www.climatehubs.usda.gov/hubs/northwest/topic/snow-water-equivalent-swe-its-importance-northwest#:~:text=In%20the%20West%2C%20mountains%20act,high%20end%20of%20that%20range.

Wilkinson F. 2023 Industrialization, Labor, and Life National Geographic. https://education.nationalgeographic.org/resource/industrialization-labor-and-life/

Alan R.P. Journet Ph.D.
Cofacilitator
Southern Oregon Climate Action Now
alan@socan.eco
541-500-2331

Bill Gorham Ph.D.
Facilitator, Coastal SOCAN
14834 Oceanview Dr
Brookings, OR 97415
gorham.bill@gmail.com
(805) 377-9336
February 11th 2024

Reference Bill Number HB4080

Chair Holvey and Members of the House Committee on Business and Labor:

First, please allow me to apologize for missing the deadline for testimony submission for the Public Record. Although the Southern Oregon Climate Action Now Federal and State Project Team identified HB4080 as a high priority bill for our support, I regrettably missed the scheduled meeting and testimony submission deadline.  I therefore find myself with but one option to fulfill the charge of the committee to provide SOCAN’s support for the bill. That option, unfortunately, is to contact committee members directly.

I write as cofacilitator of Southern Oregon Climate Action Now, an organization of some 2,000 Southern Oregonians who are concerned about the climate crisis and encourage state action to address it.  As rural and coastal Southern Oregonians, we live on the frontlines of the warming, reducing snowpack, heatwaves, drought and the increasing wildfire risk that these trends conspire to produce.  Because of this, we pay close attention to what is happening in Salem in terms of legislative proposals.

I write today to offer our support for HB4080. Those of us following the reports of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change are very much aware that the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change argued several years ago (IPCC 2018) that it is necessary to limit global warming to 1.5⁰C above pre-industrial levels.  This has become sufficiently well accepted that it has become generally assumed as the target (e.g., IPCC 2023). The industrial revolution is identified as having occurred in the mid – late 1700s through the early 1800s (Wilkinson 2023). By 2018, IPCC (2018) indicated that global temperatures had reached 1⁰C above pre-industrial temperature while IPCC (2023) identified warming as then reaching 1.1⁰C above the 1850-1900 immediate post-industrial revolution average. In fact, according to NASA (2024) last year the temperature anomaly over land was already above that critical value (NASA 2024) with every month from June onwards beating historic records.

Restricting warming the 1.5⁰C target was argued by the IPCC (2018) to require our collectively achieving net zero emissions of greenhouse gases by 2050 where net zero is defined to exists when “…the amount of CO2 entering the atmosphere must equal the amount that is removed.  The simplest way to achieve this globally is for every jurisdiction to identify at least this as its individual goal and identify intermediate targets consistent with achieving that 2050 target.

The next task for jurisdictions, such as the state of Oregon, is to develop plans for reducing emissions.  This means reducing fossil fuel combustion and replacing that fossil fuel with renewable energy sources.  While there is skepticism in some circles about our collective ability to achieve the replacement of fossil fuels with renewable sources, in evaluating whether renewables can replace fossil fuels Prysmian (2024) offer the conclusion: “According to renewable energy policy think tank REN21, most barriers to moving out of the fossil fuel age are political rather than practical.”  This view is echoed by Inspire (2024) with the statement: “The best alternative to fossil fuels is to use all clean energy and alternative energy sources in tandem and then increase our dependence on clean energy sources as they become more efficient.” Stanford Environmental Engineer Mark Z. Jacobson (Carrington 2023) confirms these opinions by concluding: “Not only is a 100% renewables-powered world possible, it also promises much lower energy bills.” The Solutions Project, an organization spawned by Jacobson, has developed schemes whereby the United States as a whole (Solutions 2024a) and Oregon specifically (Solutions 2024b). For the nation as a whole, 100% Renewable Energy can be achieved with a contribution of 16.4% from offshore wind while for Oregon, this value is 15%. Clearly, offshore wind has a critical role to play in the state and the nation if we are to achieve net zero emissions.

In relation to the South Coast project, Basofin (2023) argued that: “Offshore wind from the Oregon Coast could provide up to 3 gigawatts of renewable electricity to the grid. That’s enough to power at least one million homes…” It’s worth noting that based on 2021 US. census data (Point2, 2022) reported Oregon contained 1,658,091 housing units so this offshore generation potential could serve over half the homes in the state.  Indeed, according to Ernst (2022), “Mark Thompson, an Oregon PUC commissioner, described southern Oregon and Northern California waters as being “the Saudi Arabia of offshore wind,” during a panel discussion at a Law Seminars International conference in April.”  Of course, a web search reveals that almost anywhere on the planet where the wind blows has been designated ‘the Saudi Aranbia of wind’ by someone.  Nevertheless, considering the potential for contributing to Oregon’s share of addressing the global climate crisis by transitioning from fossil fuels while simultaneously contributing to the economy of Southern Oregon coastal communities, offshore wind should not be ignored.

This, of course, is not to suggest there is no resistance to the development of floating offshore wind projects along coastal Curry and Coos County (e.g., Samayoa 2023; Morgan 2023) including those of the tribes, local fisherfolk and residents concerned about the view.

Rather than decreeing that the offshore wind projects should move forward, HB4080 acknowledges that area residents have concerns and essentially maps a procedure by which these concerns should be addressed.

Given the important role that offshore wind can play in serving the state’s goals in reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and the need to engage with area residents to resolve legitimate concerns, SOCAN supports HB4080.

Respectfully Submitted

Alan Journet                                       Bill Gorham

References Cited

Basofin J 2023 Is Offshore Wind in Oregon’s Future? Climate Solutions. https://www.climatesolutions.org/article/2023-12/offshore-wind-oregons-future#:~:text=There%20is%20a%20possibility%20of,renewable%20electricity%20to%20the%20grid.

Carrington D 2023 ‘No miracles needed’: Prof Mark Jacobson on how wind, sun and water can power the world. The Guardian. https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2023/jan/23/no-miracles-needed-prof-mark-jacobson-on-how-wind-sun-and-water-can-power-the-world#:~:text=Add%20in%20better%2Dinsulated%20buildings,fall%2063%25%2C%20he%20says.

Ernst S 2022 Studies See Wide Range of Transmission Costs for Offshore Oregon Wind. Clearing Up. https://www.newsdata.com/clearing_up/supply_and_demand/studies-see-wide-range-of-transmission-costs-for-offshore-oregon-wind/article_c99444e4-09f3-11ed-98f7-2f9198be3d53.html#:~:text=Mark%20Thompson%2C%20an%20Oregon%20PUC,Seminars%20International%20conference%20in%20April.

Inspire 2024 What Is the Best Alternative Energy Source To Replace Fossil Fuels? Inspire Clean Energy. https://www.inspirecleanenergy.com/blog/clean-energy-101/can-alternative-energy-replace-fossil-fuels

IPCC 2018 Global Warming of 1.5⁰C Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. https://www.ipcc.ch/sr15/

IPCC 2023 CLIMATE CHANGE 2023 Synthesis Report Summary for Policymakers. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. https://www.ipcc.ch/report/ar6/syr/downloads/report/IPCC_AR6_SYR_SPM.pdf

Morgan K 2023 Concerns Arise Over Offshore Wind Energy. . Midwater Trawlers Cooperative.  https://www.oregoncoastbreakingnews.com/post/concerns-arise-over-offshore-wind-energy

NASA 2024 GISS Surface Temperature Analysis (v4) Analysis Graphs and Plots. National Aeronautics and Space Administration. https://data.giss.nasa.gov/gistemp/graphs_v4/

Point2. 2022 How many households are there in Oregon? Oregon Demographics Point2. https://www.point2homes.com/US/Neighborhood/OR-Demographics.html#:~:text=There%20are%201%2C798%2C864%20housing%20units,have%20renters%20living%20in%20them.

Pyrsmian 2024 CAN RENEWABLE ENERGY SOURCES REPLACE FOSSIL FUELS? Insight; Pyrsmian Group Magazine https://www.prysmiangroup.com/en/insight/sustainability/can-renewable-energy-sources-replace-fossil-fuels

Samoya M 2023 Oregon agencies support floating offshore wind project, but ask for more federal engagement. Oregon Public Broadcasting https://www.opb.org/article/2023/11/03/oregon-governor-agencies-support-floating-offshore-wind-project/

Solutions 2024a see what 100% renewable energy could look like where you live in the year 2050. The Solutions Project https://thesolutionsproject.org/what-we-do/inspiring-action/why-clean-energy/#/map/countries/location/USA

Solutions 2024b see what 100% renewable energy could look like where you live in the year 2050. The Solutions Project. https://thesolutionsproject.org/what-we-do/inspiring-action/why-clean-energy/#/map/states/location/OR

Wilkinson F. 2023 Industrialization, Labor, and Life National Geographic. https://education.nationalgeographic.org/resource/industrialization-labor-and-life/

 

Alan R.P. Journet Ph.D.
Cofacilitator
Southern Oregon Climate Action Now
alan@socan.eco
541-500-2331
February 11th 2024

 

Reference Bill Number HB4112

Chair Marsh and Members of the House Committee on Climate, Energy and Environment:

I write as cofacilitator of Southern Oregon Climate Action Now, an organization of some 2,000 Southern Oregonians who are concerned about the climate crisis and encourage state action to address it.  As rural and coastal Southern Oregonians, we live on the frontlines of the warming, reducing snowpack, heatwaves, drought and the increasing wildfire risk that these trends conspire to produce.  Because of this, we pay close attention to what is happening in Salem in terms of legislative proposals.

I write today to offer our support for HB4112. Those of us following the reports of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change are very much aware that the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change argued several years ago (IPCC 2018) that it is necessary to limit global warming to 1.5⁰C above pre-industrial levels.  This has become sufficiently well accepted that it has become generally assumed as the target (e.g., IPCC 2023). The industrial revolution is identified as having occurred in the mid – late 1700s through the early 1800s (Wilkinson 2023). By 2018, IPCC indicated that global temperatures had reached 1⁰C above pre-industrial temperature while IPCC (2023) identified warming as then reaching 1.1⁰C above the 1850-1900 immediate post-industrial revolution average. In fact, according to NASA (2024) last year the temperature anomaly over land was already above that critical value (NASA 2024) with every month from June onwards beating historic records.

Restricting warming to the 1.5⁰C target was argued by the IPCC (2018) to require our collectively achieving net zero emissions of greenhouse gases by 2050 where net zero is defined to exists when “…the amount of CO2 entering the atmosphere must equal the amount that is removed.  The simplest way to achieve this globally is for every jurisdiction to identify at least this as its individual goal and identify intermediate targets consistent with achieving that 2050 target.

The next task for jurisdictions, such as the state of Oregon, is to develop plans for reducing emissions.  This means reducing fossil fuel combustion and replacing that fossil fuel with renewable energy sources.  While there is skepticism in some circles about our collective ability to achieve the replacement of fossil fuels with renewable sources, in evaluating whether renewables can replace fossil fuels Prysmian (2024) offered the conclusion: “According to renewable energy policy think tank REN21, most barriers to moving out of the fossil fuel age are political rather than practical.”  This view is echoed by Inspire (2024) with the statement: “The best alternative to fossil fuels is to use all clean energy and alternative energy sources in tandem and then increase our dependence on clean energy sources as they become more efficient.” Stanford Environmental Engineer Mark Z. Jacobson (Carrington 2023) confirms these opinions by concluding: “Not only is a 100% renewables-powered world possible, but it also promises much lower energy bills.”

One way the state of Oregon can move forward on the state goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions is to promote renewable energy development within the state.  By providing a financial basis to leverage some $768 million of federal Inflation Reduction Act funds, HB4112 kickstarts the effort to promote renewable energy and clean technology in Oregon.

For these reasons, Southern Oregon Climate Action Now strongly endorses HB4112 and urges the House Committee on Climate, Energy and Environment to accord it swift passage.

Respectfully Submitted

Alan Journet

Carrington D 2023 ‘No miracles needed’: Prof Mark Jacobson on how wind, sun and water can power the world. The Guardian. https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2023/jan/23/no-miracles-needed-prof-mark-jacobson-on-how-wind-sun-and-water-can-power-the-world#:~:text=Add%20in%20better%2Dinsulated%20buildings,fall%2063%25%2C%20he%20says.

Inspire 2024 What Is the Best Alternative Energy Source To Replace Fossil Fuels? Inspire Clean Energy. https://www.inspirecleanenergy.com/blog/clean-energy-101/can-alternative-energy-replace-fossil-fuels

IPCC 2018 Global Warming of 1.5⁰C Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. https://www.ipcc.ch/sr15/

IPCC 2023 CLIMATE CHANGE 2023 Synthesis Report Summary for Policymakers. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. https://www.ipcc.ch/report/ar6/syr/downloads/report/IPCC_AR6_SYR_SPM.pdf

NASA 2024 GISS Surface Temperature Analysis (v4) Analysis Graphs and Plots. National Aeronautics and Space Administration. https://data.giss.nasa.gov/gistemp/graphs_v4/

Pyrsmian 2024 CAN RENEWABLE ENERGY SOURCES REPLACE FOSSIL FUELS? Insight; Pyrsmian Group Magazine https://www.prysmiangroup.com/en/insight/sustainability/can-renewable-energy-sources-replace-fossil-fuels

Wilkinson F. 2023 Industrialization, Labor, and Life National Geographic. https://education.nationalgeographic.org/resource/industrialization-labor-and-life/