OPINION ON HB2020 by Lincoln County resident Bill Kutcha – Environmental Activist
Listening to the testimony given by Oregon citizens regarding HB2020, known as the Clean Energy and Jobs Bill, opinions were split pro and con. For those against the Bill I have great compassion and sympathize with their concerns and fears. However, what is sadly ironic about their assumptions is that they are not true and have been fabricated by the the fossil fuel industry with the intention of defeating the Bill. Their false facts don’t hold up to the reality of previous cap and trade efforts employed in other states.
When California’s Cap and Trade came into full effect (in 2012) gasoline prices fell. This demonstrates that fuel prices are under a wide array of price influences and an emissions cap is not the critical factor. Electricity prices in the nine eastern Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) states have fallen 6% since their cap and trade was imposed while prices have raised 6% from other states – so the net price benefit is 12%.
The GDP of California (both overall and per capita) has risen while GHG emissions have fallen. Economic growth in the nine Eastern states (RGGI states) who adopted a cap and trade rose 29.7% from 2008 – 2016 even as CO2 emissions fell 33%.
The special interests who favor the status quo of accelerating fossil fuel use, accelerating greenhouse gas emissions, and accelerating global warming have successfully spread their campaign of disinformation and fear-mongering. This has persuaded concerned Oregonians who have not read the proposal and do not know what has happened in other states with cap and trade to believe that their very livelihoods and lives are in jeopardy. This simply is not true.
As the proponents of HB2020 spoke, I heard heartfelt concerns for future generations if decisive steps to reduce greenhouse emissions are not taken now. The Bill is designed to ease our transition into clean renewable energy justly and generously. The Investment components of HB2020 are designed precisely to stimulate green jobs.
The reality of our perilous situation has been kicked down the road long enough. It is time we Oregonians act swiftly with courage, creativity and compassion in a unified ‘can do’ spirit like we have done in the past as Americans when we decided to go to the moon or fight in World War II. We won both and we will win again, but only if we embrace our mutual concerns and work together to secure a healthy and livable Earth. Please contact your state representatives and encourage them to endorse Bill HB2020
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