Why do we need a climate action plan? Climate action plans are typically developed by city and/or county governments. In this situation, Lincoln County citizens stepped forward to fill the void. Citizens Climate Lobby – Newport group (CCL)and 350 Oregon Central Coast (350 OCC) have been sponsoring public meetings and work sessions throughout the county to educate the public about climate change for the past three years.
1.Climate change survey: In August 2018, the two groupscirculated a 10-question survey. In August 2019, the groups circulated a 31-question survey. Results of the surveys are displayed throughout this plan.
2. Community carbon footprint: The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality generated an EPA computer model for us which projected that mobile and non-mobile emissions total approximately 507,0000 metric tons of CO2. We used this model as our baseline to determine how much CO2 would need to be reduced or sequestered to achieve carbon neutrality by 2035.
5.Climate action plan committee: We formed a voluntary committee composed of Lincoln County citizens who wrote the key sections of this report. This draft plan was made available to the public for comment.
6.Public engagement: The groups sponsored a robust community involvement strategy, including a climate action fair, many community meetings, work groups and online surveys.
7. What we learned from our climate survey 74.5% of our respondents agreed that climate change is reducing the amount of snowpack and summer rains which are drying out the forests and making the forests more prone to wildfires.
What we learned from our survey: 73% of local survey respondents agree that climate change is a serious threat to the current generations while 8% believe that climate change is a mild threat. Only 6% believe that climate change is not a current threat.
•Lincoln County is already experiencing the impacts of climate change—we need to make a change quickly.
•Lincoln County residents want to be a leader in this space, inspiring other communities to follow suit.
•Community members have ideas for translating strategies into meaningful action. They want to be apart of this community-wide effort
•Our survey shows that that people who live and work in Lincoln County need support to make these changes part of their daily routine. This support includes:
•Education and awareness-raising•Accessible, easy to understand implementation resources•Demonstration projects and modeled behavior•Community assistance.
Lincoln County’s carbon footprint – Unfortunately, there has been no county-wide estimate of the amount of annual greenhouse gases generated. We contacted the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality which graciously agreed to run an Environmental Protection Agency mobile and non-mobile computer-generated model. The model projected approximately 489,000 metric tons of CO2 annually from mobile emissions (transportation). An additional 17,000 metric tons of CO2 are generated by non-mobile sources such as construction and other mobile business activities. Further study needs to be completed to better refine the amount of CO2 equivalent emissions throughout the county.
The Georgia-Pacific mill in Toledo is the largest emitter of greenhouse gases of any manufacturing facility in the state of Oregon. According to the Department of Environmental Quality, the facility generated 866,000 metric tons of greenhouse gases in 2018. To put this figure in perspective, the GP facility emits more greenhouse gases than the combined emissions of all car and truck driving in Lincoln County on an annual basis.
Our proposed strategy – Our 15-year initiative to become carbon neutral by 2035.
Lincoln County citizens will have the opportunity to vote on a county wide initiative to become carbon neutral by 2035. Led by a public corporation, Lincoln County governments, large businesses, and Central Lincoln PUD will develop plans to become carbon neutral by 2035.
Developing carbon sequestration projects – Major sequestration projects will have started to ramp up to 250,000 tons of CO2 annually by 2035.
Why there is a need for a carbon neutral by 2035 initiative and a declaration of climate emergency.
Climate change in the decades to come will render the Covid 19 pandemic as a mere asterisk in history books. History will likely record the failure of the human race as a catastrophic failure to take action to reduce gas emissions when the scientific evidence was irrefutable.
Lincoln County citizens should be given the opportunity to vote on whether they want to adopt a goal to become carbon neutral by 2035. The state of Oregon has a goal to achieve an 80% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2045. Our effort is certainly much more ambitious. There is a need for this initiative given the lack of action on the part of Lincoln County and its cities and towns to address climate change. Passage of a carbon neutral goal would send a message to both governments and industry that the citizens of Lincoln County want action taken to address climate change. The initiative process will take time and effort.
According to the Lincoln County clerk’s office, depending upon the language of the initiative, either 1,454 signatures for the 6% threshhold or 1,938 signatures for the 8% threshold, depending upon the language. We will be targeting to get enough signatures on the ballot for the November 2021 election. In the meantime, climate emergencies declarations should be passed by all of the municipal governments in Lincoln County.
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