- Atmospheric Greenhouse Gases: SOCAN supports reduction of the atmospheric concentration of greenhouse gases through emissions reductions – recognizing that to do so requires a complete life cycle assessment of emissions from extraction to final combustion – and carbon capture and sequestration through regenerative agricultural and sustainable forestry practices that promote the storage of carbon in vegetation and soils.
- 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. and 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 emissions from human activity and, especially, fossil fuel use based on their potential life cycle emissions of these gases. Given current political and constitutional realities in the State of Oregon, SOCAN endorses the cap, trade, and invest approach modeled on California’s AB 32 as was represented by the 2019 bill, HB 2020.
- All of the Above: SOCAN rejects ‘All of the Above’ as a national energy policy since coal and oil are the source of the problem and should not be considered a solution.
- Fossil (Natural) Gas: Burning 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 Fossil (Natural) Gas: A Bridge to Nowhere.
- 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.
- Nuclear Energy: SOCAN acknowledges the potential role that nuclear energy might contribute to the U.S. energy mix on condition that only low risk and low toxic waste technology is promoted and the 1957 Federal Price Anderson Nuclear Industries Indemnity Act that results in taxpayers indemnifying (carrying the cost of insurance for) major nuclear losses, is repealed.
- 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.
- 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.
- Biofuels: SOCAN supports biofuels 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 demonstrates that these fuels exhibit an improvement over fossil fuels they replace in terms of their carbon dioxide equivalent of greenhouse gas emissions. See, for example: http://www.onearth.org/articles/2013/08/are-cellulosic-biofuels-the-holy-grail-of-green-fuels. See also Biomass Burning is not Carbon Neutral.
- Energy Generation: SOCAN supports the development and deployment of domestic low/no greenhouse gas emitting energy generation technologies.
- 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.
12. 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.
- Restoration: SOCAN supports restoration of natural systems (forests, wetlands, rivers, lakes, oceans, etc.) to enhance their health and their capacity to sequester greenhouse gases.
- 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.
- 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 adapted, fire prone, 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.
16. Population and Consumption: SOCAN acknowledges that the current global population exceeds 7 billion and is expected to reach over 9.5 billion before 2050. Our planet has a finite supply of non-renewable resources, and has a finite ability to neutralize the waste products of a heavily polluting industrialized global population. Furthermore, SOCAN recognizes that the control of human population growth is a critical component in achieving a stable, sustainable global environment and acknowledges the need to address the problem of excessive consumption and waste production as we promote the development of energy efficient technologies
17. Adaptation / Preparedness: SOCAN encourages human communities and natural resource managers to prepare for the inevitable consequences of climate change.
18. 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.
19. Green New Deal: The concept behind the Green New Deal (and its presentation in the form of House Resolution 109) is the need to provide an aspirational framework for a decade of Federal action. Its authors recognize the myth contained in the assumption that infinite economic growth is possible, urging, rather, that we focus on economic principles that address the primary crises facing us. These crises include: the urgent need for substantial action to address atmospheric greenhouse gas concentrations; the need to redress the gross wealth inequity that has developed in the United States over the last few decades; the need to solve the long history of environmental and social injustice that has been imposed on frontline communities who suffer greatest and are able to counter least both the assault of climate chaos and hardships potentially imposed by remedies. Given these considerations, Southern Oregon Climate Action Now is pleased to endorse the Green New Deal and encourages other organizations concerned about climate chaos to do likewise.
20. International Cooperation: SOCAN endorses international agreements that promote reduction in greenhouse gas emissions and the development of renewable energy.
Genetically Modified / Genetically Engineered Organisms (GMOs/
21. 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:
22. 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.