Two Green Leaves

Climate Change from the Affected Generation

The "Clean Energy Jobs" Bill 3 March 2018 | Posted in News

Oregon's Solution to Climate Change

With carbon dioxide concentrations on the rise and time running out, states across America are scrambling for a solution. Most people agree that climate change is an issue, so an increasingly popular subject for debate is the solutions. In Oregon, we finally have the solution: the Clean Energy Jobs bill.


So how does it work? Essentially, Clean Energy Jobs places an emissions cap on companies that emit over 25,000 tons of carbon dioxide annually. There are only a certain amount of licenses, and the state sells the licenses to the companies eligible for the program. A company cannot exceed the carbon that they’re licensed to emit, or they will be penalized. If a company does not exceed the cap, they can sell their remaining licence to other companies through a state auction.

The number of licences Oregon sells will steadily decline annually until we reach a desired amount of carbon. The steady decline will allow companies to slowly adjust. Experts predict Clean Energy Jobs to take in about 700 million dollars in revenue annually, which the government can use to cut Oregon’s carbon footprint and grow our economy simultaneously.

The revenue will be used to train citizens in renewable energy work, especially citizens whose jobs are directly affected by the passage of Clean Energy Jobs. We will invest in renewable energy like wind and solar, and improve home efficiency.

Clean Energy Jobs also invests in “disadvantaged communities”: the communities that will be hardest hit by the effects of climate change. Most of the time, these communities are economically disadvantaged, so financial aid could help them get back on their feet.

Farmers across Oregon will receive grants to update their irrigation systems, which will save water and money, cut greenhouse gas emissions, and help save my generation’s future.

Clean Energy Jobs provides resources to expand or improve carbon sinks (areas that naturally absorb carbon such as forests, wetlands, and oceans) across Oregon. By improving carbon sinks, we offset carbon emissions and improve local ecosystems like streams.

None of the funds collected by the sale of licenses will be used for “unrelated purposes” like infrastructure or military. Each and every penny will be invested in a brighter future for my generation and the generations that follow, which is what makes Clean Energy Jobs such an effective piece of legislation.


Will Clean Energy Jobs increase gas/electricity prices?

Opposers of Clean Energy Jobs say the bill will cripple Oregon businesses by increasing gas prices by 16 cents per gallon. Because cap and trade is more adaptable than taxation, there is no way to know for sure how businesses would react to the legislation. 16 cents is simply an estimate; it has no real factual basis. In fact, some of the the states and provinces that have implemented a cap and trade program or similar legislation, gas prices have actually fallen.

As for electricity,every state in America that has implemented cap and trade, electricity prices have fallen. That’s because 35 percent of the revenue generated (about 245 million dollars) will be given to utilities to reduce the electricity prices of “economically disadvantaged communities”.

Even if gas prices do increase by 16 cents, isn’t 16 cents per gallon a reasonable price to pay for the sustainability of my generation’s future? Inaction will only lead to trillions of dollars in damage, millions of lives lost, and a future unfit for life.


Can companies split themselves in two in order to avoid eligibility for the program?

If a company splits themselves in half, their carbon emissions will still remain the same, but each company will not be producing over 25,000 tons of carbon dioxide annually. Logically, this is a loophole that would allow Oregon companies to avoid the extra fees. Luckily, lawmakers took this into consideration when writing the bill. They’ve lowered the maximum annual carbon emissions required for eligibility to zero for gas and utilities, meaning they cannot avoid paying their fair share.


What about farmers?

Numerous farms in Oregon would be eligible for the program, but most would actually benefit from Clean Energy Jobs. Clean Energy Jobs sets aside 20% of its funds for rural communities, which will be some of the hardest hit by climate change. Rural communities are most often the ones with the most farmers. Even for the short term, Clean Energy Jobs benefits farmers. If Oregon and other states do their part, farmers won’t suffer from severe droughts devastating their crops and destroying their businesses. Consequently, citizens of Oregon won’t have to worry about skyrocketing grocery prices. It’s really a win-win for everyone.


Will jobs leave Oregon?

Along with the “16 cents” estimate, the opposers of Clean Energy Jobs argue that extra fees will allow give businesses from other states like Idaho an unfair price advantage, which will prompt them to import cheaper goods into Oregon, thus destroying our economy. Lawmakers took these legitimate concerns into consideration while making amendments, and created a 90% license discount for industries concerned about Clean Energy Jobs like cement and paper manufacturers. Ontario, Canada proves that the local economy can still prosper with a cap and trade policy. Businesses are actually investing in Ontario’s economy, which has resulted in growth since the policy was implemented. The manufacturing industry in California has also grown since their cap and trade policy was implemented, proving that — if done right — cap and trade doesn’t have to damage the economy.


This session, Oregon is closer than ever to passing Clean Energy Jobs. After four years of a statewide movement demanding cap and trade, the results are encouraging. Due to the short session, some legislators are reluctant to support Clean Energy Jobs because of the time constraints. Even still, most supporters of the bill are confident that Clean Energy Jobs will pass this session or the next.


“Let’s be the 11th state to put this bill into action and reduce pollution, supercharge Oregon’s economy, and create thousands of jobs while doing it.” ~ Charlie Abrams, February 12th, 2018 Joint Committee Testimony


By Jeremy Clark


Call your legislators:

Works Cited:

“Clean Energy Jobs.” Oregon Environmental Council,

“Uncovering the truth: The facts about Clean Energy Jobs and cap-and-Invest in Oregon.”,

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