My View: Protect our planet
At a time of year when we're reflecting on our lives, spending time with loved ones, and thinking about the days ahead, we remember what's truly important in life — and know how important it is that we protect and care for what and who we love. So when I see upsetting headlines like "12 years to avoid climate catastrophe," I know I must take action now to protect Oregon.
It is vital that our lawmakers continue to move forward on the Clean Energy Jobs bill this session. The bill will require the state's largest emitters of greenhouse gases to pay a fee for what they're putting into our shared atmosphere. It will support projects in our communities such as helping homeowners pay for solar power, helping businesses upgrade to use less energy and save money, helping farmers install better irrigation equipment, and other projects to reduce pollution.
When it comes to acting on climate change, we should be proud of the concrete steps Oregon has already taken. We've passed several innovative laws to reduce climate pollution — the root cause of global warming. We're beginning to clean up the fuels we use for transportation and to generate electricity. But we're not done.
Now is the time to get Clean Energy Jobs in effect. More than 11 years of work by legislators and advocates and bipartisan work by the Joint Committee on Carbon Reduction have led to an exciting momentum for bold action to protect the climate. Clean Energy Jobs will create jobs all over our state in the clean energy economy, give more people access to renewable power, provide money-saving improvements to homes and small businesses, and better transportation options.
All my life I've used science and facts and kept a strong faith in God. I see protecting our environment as necessary by faith and by logic. My faith impels me to care for creation; Pope Francis' encyclical noted that "the climate is a common good, belonging to all and meant for all." Having worked for many years as a chemist, I am appalled by the outright rejection by the federal administration of the facts on climate change, an issue that long ago achieved consensus among the scientific community.
The results of the most recent mid-terms show that Oregon can continue to progress despite any madness in D.C. While some federal appointees are working to dismantle virtually every clean air and clean water protection, while the EPA is being led by an ex-coal lobbyist, while the president is on a futile mission to "bring back coal," Oregon charges forward with strong policies to protect our climate.
The Oregon Legislature has a historic opportunity in 2019. The Clean Energy Jobs bill is the result of years of work finding the right fit for Oregon and represents an opportunity for our state to continue being a leader in protecting creation. Gov. Kate Brown has been a strong proponent of the bill, and is committed to seeing it become law in 2019.
So let's do it; let's follow the guidance of Pope Francis' encyclical to preserve a healthy climate for us, our kids, and theirs. My heart tells me this is the right thing to do; my mind tells me that we must act now — before it's too late.