Position Statements

Greenhouse Gases:

  1. Atmospheric Greenhouse Gases: SOCAN supports reduction of the atmospheric concentration of greenhouse gases through emissions reductions. SOCAN  recognizes that to do so requires a complete life cycle assessment of emissions from extraction to final combustion. SOCAN also endorses  carbon sequestration through climate smart regenerative agricultural and sustainable forestry practices that promote the storage of carbon in vegetation and soils. Board approved 10/30/2021
  2. Controlling Greenhouse Gas Emissions: SOCAN recognizes that greenhouse gas pollution, measured in carbon dioxide equivalents, imposes a social cost through the consequences of heat waves, droughts, floods, severe weather, etc. SOCAN supports eliminating subsidies for greenhouse gas intensive energy producers and limiting the emissions of these gases either through a tax/fee on the Greenhouse Gas emissions potential of fossil fuels or capping and reducing emissions from human activity and, especially, fossil fuel use based on the potential life cycle emissions of these gases. Board approved 10/30/2021

Energy Resources:

  1. ‘All of the Above’: SOCAN rejects the phrase ‘All of the Above’ energy options as a national energy policy since coal, oil, and methane (natural) gas are the source of the problem and should not be considered as contributing to the solution. Board approved 10/30/2021
  2. Methane (Natural) Gas: Burning methane (natural gas) produces less carbon dioxide per BTU than burning other fossil fuels. However, fugitive emissions from extraction, processing, and transmission of methane, which has a 20-year global warming potential 86 times worse than carbon dioxide, mean the complete life cycle of natural gas use can result in as much global warming as burning coal and oil. For this reason, the use of natural gas should be discouraged along with the use of all fossil fuels. For more information, visit Methane (Natural Gas): A Bridge to Nowhere. Board approved 12/04/2021
  3. Fracking: Because the hydraulic fracturing (fracking) process incorporates the injection of highly  toxic, carcinogenic chemicals into the environment, requires significant amounts of often scarce water, and has been associated with human-induced seismic events, SOCAN supports banning fracking or, at minimum, closing the ‘Halliburton Loophole’ in the 2005 Energy Policy Act that exempts fracking industries from regulations controlling the use of toxic chemicals. Board approved 2/21/2021
  4. Nuclear Energy: SOCAN acknowledges the role that nuclear energy now contributes to the U.S. energy mix, but rejects claims by the nuclear industry and nuclear proponents that genuinely clean renewable energy cannot supply our global current and future energy demand. SOCAN recognizes the benefit of retaining existing nuclear plants, including aging and unprofitable ones that meet stringent safety and transparency conditions, until such time that safer, more economical and sustainable alternative renewables and efficiencies are available. Meanwhile, SOCAN recognizes that nuclear energy is inferior to solar and wind in: taking up to four times longer and costing much more to bring online than wind; producing much more carbon dioxide equivalent per unit of energy generated than solar or wind; and risking promotion of weapons proliferation, meltdown, waste, mining hazards, and further radioactive contamination of humans and the environment. SOCAN also urges (demands) that before any consideration be given to expanding nuclear generation, the 1957 Federal Price Anderson Nuclear Industries Indemnity Act, extended in 2005 through 2025, is repealed. This Act results in taxpayers indemnifying (bearing the cost of covering nuclear accidents for) damages from an incident at a nuclear facility that exceed about $15 billion. Board approved 12/04/2021
  5. Leave it in the Ground: Given the need to leave at least 60% of fossil fuels in the ground in order to limit the global temperature increase to 2⁰C above pre-industrial levels, SOCAN opposes federal support for tar sands / oil shale extraction since these exhibit the greatest greenhouse gas emissions among all fuel sources and the lowest Energy Returned On Energy Invested (EROEI) in their extraction and processing. Board approved 12/15/2021
  6. Fossil Fuel Exports: SOCAN opposes the construction of infrastructure to support fossil fuel exports because fugitive emissions of methane and combustion emissions of carbon dioxide and nitrous oxides from fossil fuel extraction, transmission, and combustion are the primary cause of the global warming problem, and because exported fossil fuels will contribute at least as much, and potentially more, to the problem as domestically used fuels. See Keystone Concerns 2014-02-01.  SOCAN especially opposes the export of fossil fuels that will be burned in nations that do not have emissions standards and environmental controls equivalent to or better than U.S. standards. Board approved 12/15/2021
  7. Biofuels: Too often, biofuels are only judged in terms of the emissions resulting from their combustion. This argument is based on the principle that  these emissions were trapped from this atmosphere, not an atmosphere 300 million or more years ago. This creates the impression they add zero emissions to our atmosphere. However, full life cycle assessment of the greenhouse gas emissions from biofuels production and combustion suggests that these replacement fuels can be as damaging, or more damaging than the fossil fuels they replace.  For these reasons, SOCAN supports biofuels only so long as (1) their production does not compromise food supplies, (2) the energy returned on energy invested in their production is positive, and (3) full life cycle assessment of greenhouse gas emissions from their production, transmission, and use measured in terms of their carbon dioxide equivalent of greenhouse gas emissions demonstrates that these fuels exhibit an improvement over the fossil fuels they replace. Board approved 1/5/2022
  8. Energy Generation: SOCAN supports the development and deployment of domestic low/no greenhouse gas emitting energy generation technologies. Board approved 1/5/2022
  9. International Transfer of Energy Efficient Technologies: SOCAN supports the transmission and promotion of energy efficient technologies to developing nations in order to allow them to avoid the carbon intensive phase of economic development. Board approved 1/5/2022

Climate Justice:

  1.  Social / Environmental / Economic Justice: SOCAN holds that, on a global and national level, there are segments of society and communities who suffer disproportionately from the effects of climate change. Notable among these are indigenous peoples, farm workers, communities of color, the young, elderly and those with pertinent health conditions. SOCAN also acknowledges the need to address the economic hardships potentially faced by dislocated workers. In recognition of this inequity, SOCAN is committed to supporting climate change proposals that address and minimize these social / environmental /economic injustices. Board approved 3/24/2022

Natural Resources:

  1. Sustainable Management: SOCAN supports human systems management (agricultural, fisheries, and forestry) that promotes long term health and productivity of these systems without compromising the regional and global greenhouse gas balance, and also that increases their greenhouse gas sequestration capacity. Board approved 3/5/2022
  2. Ecosystem Restoration: SOCAN supports restoration of natural systems (forests, wetlands, rivers, lakes, oceans, etc.) recognizing that, in a climate changing world, restoration will likely not restore the same species composition and abundance but should seek, through the application of climate smart principles, a balanced, sustainable ecosystem, which provides the equivalent functions as the original system. The goal should be to promote ecosystem health and capacity to sequester greenhouse gases. Board approved 3/5/2022
  3. Biodiversity: SOCAN understands that the impacts of human activity on the natural world are of such a dimension that this Anthropocene era (age of human impact) is in danger of imposing on global biodiversity the Sixth Great Extinction of species. SOCAN therefore supports efforts to minimize the negative impact of climate change on global, national, and regional biodiversity. Board approved 3/5/2022
  4. Forests & Fire: SOCAN recognizes that maintenance of healthy forests in Southern Oregon is critical to promoting their ability to sequester carbon. SOCAN further recognizes that southern Oregon forests, particularly our dry forests, are fire prone, fire adapted, and dependent on fire for maintaining ongoing health and resilience. SOCAN therefore encourages consideration of fire management plans that would re-impose fire in the so-called shoulder seasons when the risks of escaped fire and consequent heavy smoke are less. SOCAN also supports the judicious application of thinning protocols, especially in the vicinity of human dwelling and infrastructure (in terms of defensible space), to reduce the density of fuel, particularly ladder fuel that allows ground fires to climb easily into the canopy and become crown fires.  SOCAN also encourages construction and fire recovery following the 2020 fires that acknowledges the inevitability of future fires and promotes fire resistance in landscape planning and construction. Board approved 3/5/2022

Population:

  1. Population and Consumption: SOCAN acknowledges that the current global population exceeds 7 billion and is expected to reach over 9.5 billion before 2050. We note that our planet has a finite supply of non-renewable resources, and has a finite ability to process and neutralize the waste products of a heavily polluting industrialized global population.  Furthermore, SOCAN recognizes that nations from the Global North are disproportionately responsible for greenhouse gas emissions compared to nations from the Global South. Achieving a stable, sustainable global environment requires addressing unchecked population growth, excessive consumption, and waste production, while recognizing and addressing the inequality in emissions worldwide. Board approved 3/24/2022

Adaptation/Preparedness:

  1. Adaptation / Preparedness: SOCAN recognizes that, as the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change argues, in addition to reducing greenhouse gas emissions and promoting carbon sequestration (mitigation), we must also acknowledge that some global warming and climate change are an inevitable consequence of the greenhouse gases already emitted. We therefore need to encourage human communities and natural resource managers to prepare for the inevitable consequences of climate change by preparing for those changes (Adaptation). We also pledge to assist such planning to the extent possible. Board approved 3/24/2022

Federal Action:

  1. Green New Deal: The concept behind the Green New Deal (and its presentation in the form of House Resolution 332 in the 117th Congress (2021-2022) 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. Board approved 3/24/2022

International Agreements:

  1. International Cooperation: SOCAN endorses international agreements that promote reduction in greenhouse gas emissions and the development of renewable energy.
  2. SOCAN supports the internationally-adopted Paris Agreement, calling for limiting global warming to 1.5 (degrees) C by 2050. Rapid and fundamental change is required across all greenhouse gas emitting sectors of the global economy. SOCAN embraces the multiple studies showing existing renewable energy technologies, including storage and efficiencies, are capable of generating a secure global energy supply for power, heat, transport and desalination, without the use of riskier fossil or nuclear sources. Finite resources should be used to prioritize these technologies as rapidly as possible. Board approved 12/04/2021

Genetically Modified / Genetically Engineered Organisms (GMO/GEOs):

  1. GMO/GEOs : SOCAN has grave reservations about the role of GMOs/GEOs in terms of their potential negative impacts on our ability to address climate change. In particular, SOCAN favors a moratorium on GMO/GEO crops until independent research is conducted demonstrating an absence of negative impact on yield, drought tolerance, water use efficiency, genetic diversity among crops, fertilizer and pesticide use, carbon storage, and long term health effects.

More Information: SOCAN on GEOs

Positions on Current Issues:

23. EPA Clean Power Plan: The EPA 2015 Clean Power Plan and Methane Rule:

Since we recognize:

1)         the current Congress is not addressing climate change, and,
2)         our global and national need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions requires reduction of fossil fuel use to zero by 2050,

SOCAN endorses the Obama era Clean Power Plan and Methane Rule as worthwhile steps towards reducing greenhouse gas emissions, but also stresses the need for much stronger action in the near future.