Alan Journet, Cofacilitator of Southern Oregon Climate Action Now

Our Children's TrustMany climate activists have been watching the efforts of Julia Olson and Our Children’s Trust (OCT) for many years as they assist our youth in holding governments accountable for failure to act to protect the nation’s natural resources, managed in trust for future generations.

I start with the conclusion:  this is one of the most powerful and persuasive video efforts I have seen to make the case that our institutions are failing us and that we urgently need action to address the climate crisis.

This video offers an entertaining and informative compilation of video depicting the reasons the young people initially engaged in the action combined with coverage of the ups and downs of the last few years of the campaign ending with a Court deciding that the courts have no authority or ability to establish and monitor a program that would address the climate crisis.  Tellingly, we learn the court fully accepted two of the three basic elements required to compel judicial action: that the plaintiffs have been damaged and will be damaged by global warming and that greenhouse gas emissions resulting from human activity are responsible. Despite that, and the courts being the last resort, by a 2:1 vote the three-panel bench declined to act.  Following this defeat, an undeterred OCT has filed a motion that would amend their complaint to focus on obtaining a declaratory judgment that the nation’s fossil fuel-based energy system is unconstitutional.

I was particularly struck by the segment that so very effectively responded to the perceived need of the plaintiffs to demonstrate that the government knew of the problem and its cause but simply failed to act. Rather than responding appropriately to the science presented to them, Administration after Administration has for decades assiduously dug its heels in to promoting fossil fuels rather than clean renewable energy.  This transparently (now, at least) was undertaken despite frequent placating words from both Republican and Democratic Presidents about how they vowed to protect our climate and environment for future generations.

While it is clear that, as Julia Olson argued, none of this would have happened had it not been for the energy and commitment f the plaintiffs, I think I also evident that none of it would have happened absent the dedication, commitment, and abilities of Julia Olson.  Julia’s ongoing energy, enthusiasm, and support for the plaintiffs was conspicuous throughout the film.  Kudos to Julia Olson!

As I reflected on the film, the current failure of legislators and state agencies in Oregon to hold the gas companies accountable for the misinformation and disinformation that they use to promote their product came to mind. The depressing realization that legislators, agencies, the culpable corporation executives themselves, and now the courts will not acknowledge and respond appropriately to the climate crisis led me to what seems the only remedy: if our institutions will not hold the perpetrators accountable, then we must do it ourselves. We know that racial justice, gender equality, and LGBTQ rights, for example, have made huge progress over the years.  We have seen how rapidly, after years of activist pressure, the change in public acceptance occurred once inroads were made into the public perception of the constitutional requirement for basic human justice.  The message, it seems to me, is that those of us who are aware of the urgency of the climate crisis must redouble our effort to develop the public / political will for action on this overarching problem.  The data on communication tell us that most Americans simply do not talk about the crisis.  It is almost inevitable, therefore, that they will not consider it an issue demanding their attention. Our task, then, is to get out there and talk to people about the problem and what we can do to turn this glacier-bound ship around.

The film is available through Netflix.

Summary:

A review of the historic climate trends and projections for Jackson County through the century assuming humanity continues the Business-as-Usual behavior of contributing increasing climate pollution to our atmosphere reveals that conditions by 2100 may approach an annual average nearly 10⁰F above the 1981-2010 baseline. Summers will likely warm more than the other seasons increasing evaporation. Precipitation will likely continue at the same overall annual average as historically with greater variability between wet and dry years. Winters will likely see an increase in precipitation with the summer dropping slightly and spring and fall declining marginally. The number of days annually over 100⁰F will likely rise, possibly reaching over 40 days by the end of the century. This will probably be accompanied by an increasing number of frost and freeze-free days and an expanded growing season though countered by reduced water availability during summer and fall.

Snowfall is expected to decline substantially during the century, dropping to near zero at lower elevations by its end with precipitation falling as rain at lower elevations rather than snow at higher elevations. The reduced snowpack, with its reduced water content will likely reduce stream flow during late summer and fall and reduce water availability downstream for domestic, commercial/industrial, recreation, and agricultural use. With reduced stream flow, waters will likely be warmer and contain less oxygen compromising the habitat for aquatic species. As the climate warms through summer with little or no increase in annual precipitation, evaporative deficit will climb and both soil and vegetation moisture will decrease.

Among an array of problems generated, this combination of future conditions will compromise health, and water supplies, and elevate the risk of both drought and wildfires spreading rapidly once ignited.

The Historic Average. Those discussing climatic conditions frequently relate current conditions and hopes for the future to some normal or historically average condition. If there is one lesson to be learned from a review of the trends and projections for Medford and Jackson County climatic variables it is that hoping that current harsh conditions will return to historic patterns are unreasonably optimistic. Rather than thinking of our future in terms of some historic ‘normal’ or ‘average’ condition we need to think in terms of the trends and what those trends indicate the future is likely to bring.

Medford and Jackson County Climate Trends and Projections

Alan R.P. Journet Ph.D.
Cofacilitator,
Southern Oregon Climate Action Now
7113 Griffin Lane
Jacksonville OR 97530-9342
alan@socan.eco
541-301-4107
February 21st  2022

Chair Smith Warner and members of the House Committee on Rules:

I testify as co-facilitator of Southern Oregon Climate Action Now on behalf of the over 1600 rural Southern Oregonians who are SOCAN. Our mission is to promote awareness and understanding of the science of global warming and its climate change consequences and motivate individual and collective action to address the resulting climate crisis. We do this within the critical framework of promoting social justice.

North Dakota is the only state with a SB. Founded in 1919, the Bank of North Dakota’s mission is to “promote agriculture, commerce, and industry” and “be helpful to and assist in the development of… financial institutions… within the State.”  But several other states have considered the possibility of developing their own such system.  Most of the NDSB’s lending is done in partnership with local banks and credit unions. Student loans are the only part of the bank’s lending in which it works directly with borrowers. Notably, it has among the highest bank credit ratings in the country.

With the Bank of North Dakota, financing is made available to support loans to students, farmers and others, while the bank’s profits go into the state budget to help provide more revenue for government programs.

An important concern for us is that the major banks serve the goal of making a profit while state banks can serve the interests of the people of the state.  One of the main obstacles in our effort to combat climate change is the fossil fuel corporations continue to promote misinformation both about their product and their pretended commitment to adjusting their business model to more sustainable products. A substantial problem in this arena is that our major banks continue to support these corporations with investments and loans, thus – like those corporations – working consistently to make money at the expense of the livability of our planet.

In addition, a State Bank can focus its attention on promoting social justice rather than merely promoting profits for the managers and shareholders.

For these reasons we strongly support HJR205 and urge its passage with a ‘Do Pass’ recommendation.

It’s important to note that HJR205 doesn’t create a state bank; it merely allows the democratic process to unfold by asking the voters f they wish to adjust the rules to allows Oregon to consider such a step.

Respectfully submitted

Alan Journet Ph.D.
Cofacilitator
Southern Oregon Climate Action Now

Alan R.P. Journet Ph.D.
Cofacilitator,
Southern Oregon Climate Action Now
7113 Griffin Lane
Jacksonville OR 97530-9342
alan@socan.eco
541-301-4107
February 16th 2022

Chair Smith Warner and members of the House Committee on Rules:

I write as co-facilitator of Southern Oregon Climate Action Now on behalf of the over 1600 rural Southern Oregonians who are SOCAN. Our mission is to promote awareness and understanding of the science of global warming and its climate change consequences and motivate individual and collective action to address the resulting climate crisis.

For many years, the call from the environmental movement has been one of encouraging us all to: “Reduce, reuse, and recycle.”  In terms of addressing the climate crisis, we are very aware that our consumption contributes substantially to the problem since energy is consumed and greenhouse gas emissions result from the manufacture of the items we buy and their transport to us.

While we can decrease this impact by reducing and reusing what we buy, we can also reduce it somewhat by recycling.  Unfortunately, the ability of Southern Oregonians to recycle electronic items has been compromised by changes to the rules regarding recycling sites.

I write regarding the problem that has surfaced regarding the closure of e-cycling drop-off sites.

It seems evident that the closure of these sites will impose a substantial hardship on many Oregonians with defunct electronic equipment since they are unable to dispose of them any other way than to use the E-Cycles Program.  The result could be a vast mass of electronic waste accumulating needlessly.  Indeed, an estimated 1 million pounds of electronic waste will be displaced statewide with as much as 600,000 lbs of that in Jackson County alone.

For these reasons SOCAN support HB4158 which provides a remedy for this unfortunate outcome.

Respectfully submitted

Alan Journet Ph.D.
Cofacilitator
Southern Oregon Climate Action Now

Alan R.P. Journet Ph.D.
Cofacilitator,
Southern Oregon Climate Action Now
7113 Griffin Lane
Jacksonville OR 97530-9342
alan@socan.eco
541-301-4107
February 15th 2022

Co-Chairs Beyer and McLain and members of the Joint Committee on Transportation:

I write as co-facilitator of Southern Oregon Climate Action Now on behalf of the over 1600 rural Southern Oregonians who are SOCAN. Our mission is to promote awareness and understanding of the science of global warming and its climate change consequences and motivate individual and collective action to address the resulting climate crisis.

Transportation is the sector of our economy responsible for the largest share of regulated greenhouse gas emissions.  While this is mainly a function of the combustion of fossil fuel by vehicles, there is also a contribution from the materials employed in building our roads and bridges.  We know, for example, that cement is an extremely greenhouse gas intensive product as conventionally produced.  However, we also know there are ways to produce cement that could reduce this output.

For this reason, SOCAN endorses the concept of a pilot program to explore the potential for reducing emissions from materials production embodied in HB4139. The likelihood is that should such be found, the process could also become more efficient and less costly.

Respectfully submitted

Alan Journet Ph.D.
Cofacilitator
Southern Oregon Climate Action Now

Alan R.P. Journet Ph.D.
Cofacilitator,
Southern Oregon Climate Action Now
7113 Griffin Lane
Jacksonville OR 97530-9342
alan@socan.eco
541-301-4107
February 9th 2022

Chair Wagner and Members of the Senate Committee on Rules

I write as co-facilitator of Southern Oregon Climate Action Now on behalf of the over 1600 rural Southern Oregonians who are SOCAN. Our mission is to promote awareness and understanding of the science of global warming and its climate change consequences and motivate individual and collective action to address the resulting climate crisis.

While campaign finance reform may seem far out of the sphere of interest of a climate activist organization, it is not! Indeed, for many activists in the climate arena, campaign financing is almost the underlying cause for the abject failure of legislatures across the nation, and the world, to act appropriately on the climate crisis. Although this crisis is evident to anyone who is conscious and has their eyes open, time and again legislative action is thwarted by those who have been elected as a result of campaign contributions from the very industries exhibiting business models that are causing the problem.  We are well aware that the corridors of legislatures teem with lobbyists from the fossil fuel industry. Meanwhile, candidates for office with a hint of sympathy for fossil fuel corporation are rewarded with huge campaign contribution support virtually ensuring their election. The problem is multiplied many-fold when a state has no limits on campaign contributions.  In such a situation, the fossil fuel sources of funding can provide almost unlimited funding to encourage legislator resistance to climate action that encourages a shift away from their product.

Many of us in the climate activist arena place campaign finance reform almost as a parallel priority.  Unless we manage to reduce the impact of the egregious financial impact on our electoral process and democracy overall, we will find addressing serious environmental and social issues such as the climate crisis, difficult to impossible.  The problem, of course, is that those profiting from the abuse of our water and air are the very entities contributing financially to prevent legislation from passing that would reduce their capacity to externalize costs and require internalizing their behavior and costs.

A civilized society functions because, through our elected officials, we mutually agree on a set of rules that harness the irresponsible behavior that some members of society would display absent those rules. The problem with unlimited campaign financing is that the very individuals and entities that seek to undermine our democracy and our civilized society in order to reap profits will support candidates who support their views.

Because our civilized society is under so much threat from those willing to throw money at the campaigns of candidates who will represent their anti-social attitudes and thwart sane legislative proposals, Southern Oregon Climate Action Now supports the efforts embodied in SB1526 and SB1561 to regulate campaign financing in Oregon.  Since the state is one of very few states that still allows unlimited financing of campaigns, passage of a measure to restrict this opportunity would enhance the reputation of the state substantially.  Although there those claiming ‘money is free speech’ as decided by the U.S. Supreme Court in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, 558 U.S. 310 (2010), we reject that assertion as patently absurd. Establishing campaign finance rules in the state of Oregon would not only enhance democracy in the state and our ability to address critical environmental and social issues, it would also enhance our reputation in this arena throughout the nation.

We therefore urge the sponsors of SB1526 and SB1561, along with the Senate Committee on Rules to develop a composite bill that serves the purpose of each and comprises the best elements of both proposals.

Respectfully submitted

Alan Journet Ph.D.
Cofacilitator
Southern Oregon Climate Action Now

Alan R.P. Journet Ph.D.
Cofacilitator,
Southern Oregon Climate Action Now
7113 Griffin Lane
Jacksonville OR 97530-9342
alan@socan.eco
541-301-4107
February 9th 2022

Chair Wagner and Members of the Senate Committee on Rules

I write as co-facilitator of Southern Oregon Climate Action Now on behalf of the over 1600 rural Southern Oregonians who are SOCAN. Our mission is to promote awareness and understanding of the science of global warming and its climate change consequences and motivate individual and collective action to address the resulting climate crisis.

While campaign finance reform may seem far out of the sphere of interest of a climate activist organization, it is not! Indeed, for many activists in the climate arena, campaign financing is almost the underlying cause for the abject failure of legislatures across the nation, and the world, to act appropriately on the climate crisis. Although this crisis is evident to anyone who is conscious and has their eyes open, time and again legislative action is thwarted by those who have been elected as a result of campaign contributions from the very industries exhibiting business models that are causing the problem.  We are well aware that the corridors of legislatures teem with lobbyists from the fossil fuel industry. Meanwhile, candidates for office with a hint of sympathy for fossil fuel corporation are rewarded with huge campaign contribution support virtually ensuring their election. The problem is multiplied many-fold when a state has no limits on campaign contributions.  In such a situation, the fossil fuel sources of funding can provide almost unlimited funding to encourage legislator resistance to climate action that encourages a shift away from their product.

Many of us in the climate activist arena place campaign finance reform almost as a parallel priority.  Unless we manage to reduce the impact of the egregious financial impact on our electoral process and democracy overall, we will find addressing serious environmental and social issues such as the climate crisis, difficult to impossible.  The problem, of course, is that those profiting from the abuse of our water and air are the very entities contributing financially to prevent legislation from passing that would reduce their capacity to externalize costs and require internalizing their behavior and costs.

A civilized society functions because, through our elected officials, we mutually agree on a set of rules that harness the irresponsible behavior that some members of society would display absent those rules. The problem with unlimited campaign financing is that the very individuals and entities that seek to undermine our democracy and our civilized society in order to reap profits will support candidates who support their views.

Because our civilized society is under so much threat from those willing to throw money at the campaigns of candidates who will represent their anti-social attitudes and thwart sane legislative proposals, Southern Oregon Climate Action Now supports the efforts embodied in SB1526 and SB1561 to regulate campaign financing in Oregon.  Since the state is one of very few states that still allows unlimited financing of campaigns, passage of a measure to restrict this opportunity would enhance the reputation of the state substantially.  Although there those claiming ‘money is free speech’ as decided by the U.S. Supreme Court in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, 558 U.S. 310 (2010), we reject that assertion as patently absurd. Establishing campaign finance rules in the state of Oregon would not only enhance democracy in the state and our ability to address critical environmental and social issues, it would also enhance our reputation in this arena throughout the nation.

We therefore urge the sponsors of SB1526 and SB1561, along with the Senate Committee on Rules to develop a composite bill that serves the purpose of each and comprises the best elements of both proposals.

Respectfully submitted

Alan Journet Ph.D.
Cofacilitator
Southern Oregon Climate Action Now

Alan R.P. Journet Ph.D.
Cofacilitator,
Southern Oregon Climate Action Now
7113 Griffin Lane
Jacksonville OR 97530-9342
alan@socan.eco
541-301-4107
February 8th 2022

Chair Lieber and Members of the Senate Committee on Energy and Environment

I write as co-facilitator of Southern Oregon Climate Action Now on behalf of the over 1600 rural Southern Oregonians who are SOCAN. Our mission is to promote awareness and understanding of the science of global warming and its climate change consequences and motivate individual and collective action to address the resulting climate crisis.

While the Critical Energy Infrastructure Hub in Portland is far from Southern Oregon, the fact that 90% of fossil fuels pass through or are stored in that region manes this facility is critical for all of Oregon.  While the main focus of SOCAN is encouraging a switch from fossil fuels to renewable energy, we also do not wish to encourage actions that allow massive fossil fuel explosions or spills. In this context, it is worth recalling that the Cascadia Subduction One earthquake is considered by seismologists to be long overdue.  The location of the CEI Hub on clay, which is likely to undergo liquefaction, means that a disaster is inevitable when that earthquake occurs.  That disaster will result in millions of escaped gallons of fuel and emissions of vast amounts of greenhouse gas.

It is little surprise that the Western States Petroleum Association opposes the imposition of standards that would establish a modicum of defense or protection against this inevitable event.  Of course, it is little surprise that the WSPA opposes standards since this organization represents the same industry that for years has denied the science of climate change and the responsibility of fossil fuels for that process.

It is clearly insane to continue allowing a facility such as the CEI Hub to continue operating without imposing standards.  The fossil fuel industry is the perfect example of an irresponsible industry that demands legislators impose regulations.  Clearly, the bulk of fossil fuel companies will not voluntarily follow best practices.  For these reasons, Southern Oregon Climate Action Now endorses SB1567.

Respectfully submitted

Alan Journet Ph.D.
Cofacilitator
Southern Oregon Climate Action Now

Alan R.P. Journet Ph.D.
Cofacilitator,
Southern Oregon Climate Action Now
7113 Griffin Lane
Jacksonville OR 97530-9342
alan@socan.eco
541-301-4107
February 6th 2022

Chair Jama and Members of the Senate Committee on Housing and Development

I write as co-facilitator of Southern Oregon Climate Action Now on behalf of the over 1600 rural Southern Oregonians who are SOCAN. Our mission is to promote awareness and understanding of the science of global warming and its climate change consequences and motivate individual and collective action to address the resulting climate crisis.

In a civilized society, individual behaviors and social interactions among members are guided by and constrained by rules upon which we mutually agree, or that are developed by our elected representatives. Our lives are governed by rules that balance the rights that confer upon us individual freedoms, and the demand responsibilities that allow us to thrive in a healthy, sustainable, and successful society. Unfortunately, all too often rules are required that impose upon individuals requirements to which they object either because those individuals simply place their freedom above their responsibility to the rest of the population in the community in which they live, or because they are unaware of the cost their behavior imposes on others. It would be ideal if behaviors that benefit individuals always also benefitted the community. Regrettably, this is not the case. It is inevitable that maximizing individual profit is best achieved, for example, by releasing the toxic waste that is a by-product of one’s endeavors into the air or waters of our nation rather than processing and neutralizing it. This maximizes our profits and externalizes our costs of doing business, thus imposing those costs on our neighbors.

Those wishing to impose the cost of their freedom on others all too often try to impose their will on society by developing and enacting laws that delay, compromise, or totally thwart rational and reasonable efforts to establish rules that would benefit society as a whole. These efforts, furthermore, usually arrive without the provision of any alternative mechanism(s) to address the problem that proposed rules address. Indeed, they often arrive with a simple implicit or explicit claim that the free market (even the regulated free market in which we currently live) will address the problems when it is exactly the failure of current unregulated free market behavior that lies at the root of the problem.

It is in this context that SB1537 arrives in the Senate Committee on Housing and Development. According to DEQ data, over 30% of greenhouse gas emissions result from energy use in our residential and commercial buildings. If we are to take seriously the need to rein in global warming to control the climate change consequences that are threatening our natural ecosystems, our agriculture, our forestry and imposing wildfires and drought on Oregon, we need to reduce emissions in every sector of our economy and across the state. Only when we have undertaken the best efforts available to reduce our emissions, will we have any credibility or moral authority to urge others to do likewise. Rather than seeking ways to undermine efforts to reduce emissions, any state legislators who wish to protect the livability of our planet for future generations should be seeking ways to encourage emissions reductions.

Instead of offering any mechanisms to reduce emissions from our buildings, SB1537 simply would impose complex, nebulous, burdensome, and expensive assessment requirements on agencies.  These would make any reasonable proposal that seeks to remedy the problem difficult to apply. This proposal and its ilk, furthermore, would compromise the ability of agencies, legislators, and local communities to promote climate action, energy efficiency, wildfire management, public health, and worker safety.

SB1537, additionally, arrives as a solution in search of a problem since already embedded within the requirement of agency action to address issues is the expectation that cost effectiveness be included. While we support the purported goal of protecting low-income Oregonians, this proposal seemingly flies under the hypocritical premise of protecting low-income communities when, in reality, it was crafed by and simply serves builders; there is no evidence that the development of the proposal incorporated discussions with low-income, racial justice, or land use advocates.

The SB1537 effort seems simply designed to establish an impossible bar that would prevent any of the named agencies from meeting their charge. Proponents of SB1537 seem committed to preventing legislators and agencies from protecting our environment and our population from self-centered and anti-social behaviors.

For these reasons, representing rural Oregonians who care about our collective future, SOCAN opposes SB1537 and urges its rejection by the Senate Committee on Housing and Development.

Respectfully submitted

Alan Journet Ph.D.
Cofacilitator
Southern Oregon Climate Action Now

Alan R.P. Journet Ph.D.
Cofacilitator,
Southern Oregon Climate Action Now
7113 Griffin Lane
Jacksonville OR 97530-9342
alan@socan.eco
541-301-4107
February 4th 2022

 

Chair Marsh and Members of the House Committee on Environment and Natural Resources

I write as co-facilitator of Southern Oregon Climate Action Now on behalf of the over 1600 rural Southern Oregonians who are SOCAN. Our mission is to promote awareness and understanding of the science of global warming and its climate change consequences and motivate individual and collective action to address the resulting climate crisis.

We have been engaged with legislators and climate concerned activists in Oregon for several years in efforts to achieve programs that promise meaningful greenhouse gas emissions in the state. One of the greatest successes in this arena was passage of HB2021 last session.

Unfortunately, as is so often the case with complex proposals, a few minor blemishes came to light subsequent to passage of the bill. HB 4059 offers amendments that correct several such blemishes.

Since HB4059 only enhances the previous bill, Southern Oregon Climate Action Now endorses this proposal.

Respectfully submitted

Alan Journet Ph.D.
Cofacilitator
Southern Oregon Climate Action Now