Unfortunately, the senate committee wasted time discussing whether a goal should be a ‘target’ or an ‘aspiration.’ Too many of our legislators just don’t understand (or are afraid to acknowledge) the urgency of action!
Alan R.P. Journet Ph.D.
Southern Oregon Climate Action Now
February 5th 2024
Reference Bill Number SB1559
Chair Sollman and Members of the Senate Energy and Environment Committee:
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.
I write today to offer our profound support for SB1559. 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 (e.g., Wilkinson 2023). Over five years ago, the IPCC (2018) indicated that global temperatures had reached 1⁰C above the pre-industrial level 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 indicated we were already above 1.5⁰C above the 1951-1980 average (NASA 2024) with every month from June onwards beating historic records.
Restricting warming to the targeted upper 1.5⁰C limit 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 exist 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.
It is unfortunate that the goals essentially identified in SB1559 were deleted from legislation passed in 2023. Since Oregon’s current official target is the hugely inadequate and purely voluntary target identified in 2007 (HB3543) of 75% below the 1990 level by 2050, we endorse the goal of 95% below the 1990 level identified in SB1559, along with the intermediate targets of 45% below by 2030 and 70% below by 2040. Passing SB1559 therefore comprises completing unfinished 2023 business.
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/
Wilkinson F. 2023 Industrialization, Labor, and Life National Geographic. https://education.nationalgeographic.org/resource/industrialization-labor-and-life/