Oregon legislators are poised to pass a pollution-busting bill and put Oregon on track to meet its climate goals. Some lawmakers and constituents wonder: is investing in clean energy really worth it? Couldn’t we just make polluters pay and leave it at that, instead of also re-investing the revenue in Oregon’s clean energy economy?
We ran the numbers to find out how many new jobs, less pollution, and other benefits Oregon’s investments could generate. Check it out, and feel free to share under our free use policy.
For more details and sources, see our tables here.
Michael Peñuelas is a researcher and community organizer for food and energy systems that are secure, sovereign, and resilient. He has degrees in Earth System Science and in Environmental Policy and Management from Stanford University.
I just love how any and all opponents are painted as “polluters” because there have never been any proposed legislation that has been stupid for one reason or another… Some time ago Oregon state lawmakers wanted to pass a bill that would make it law that only the most fuel efficient tires on the market were legally allowed on cars. Thing is, the most fuel efficient tire is one with the tiniest road contact as possible. So forget traction, or any other features that go into making an everyday usable tire, you would get a steel tire that is razor thin, mandated by law.
If the bill provides the economic benefit they purport with very minimal impact then that’s wonderful, we should support it. But lawmakers sometimes come up with ideas that have unintended consequences and people in opposition shouldn’t all be painted as “evil bad polluters who oppose our good noble efforts”.
Will Sightline do a similar analysis for Washington’s Clean Energy Bill?
I think it’s absolutely critical we bring Oregon’s share of emissions in-line with what’s needed to limit temperature rise to 2 degrees Celsius. In order to be successful in our goal it’s critical we’re able to bring along folks in the middle who have relevant concerns about the economic impact of legislation. While I’m encouraged with the numbers you’ve put forth, I’m interested in the broader picture on the economy? With the exception of a direct pass through of funds from a carbon price, every comprehensive analysis I’ve seen shows a carbon price will slow near term growth. In my mind, paying a small cost now to avoid a much larger cost later is well worth it. Based on what I’ve seen, the CEJ bill will do just this. If so, I think it’s critical we’re able to be transparent with voters and focus on the long term benefit of the legislation versus the modest near terms costs.