Citizen's View: Pass Clean Energy Jobs bill
Oregon is poised to become a leader in the clean-energy job market. More than 48,000 Oregonians already work in the green economy, producing $7 billion in goods and services. We're home to more than 130 wind and solar companies and suppliers alone, with a strong solar sector and opportunities in power storage, transportation and more.
I currently focus on sustainability projects, but for many years I was an entrepreneur and business executive, so I know what it takes to grow and sustain a business. This February, the Legislature is considering a smart strategy to grow Oregon's economy and make major progress on slowing climate change: the Clean Energy Jobs bill. The bill limits climate pollution and invests in clean-energy solutions, using proceeds to accelerate Oregon's transition to a clean-energy economy while also expanding opportunities for low-income and rural communities, communities of color and workers.
The Clean Energy Jobs bill works economy-wide, making it an important part of the climate solution puzzle. It allows the public to capture the real costs that climate pollution creates for society by requiring polluters to pay for what they put into our air. The price is designed to be stable and can be adjusted over time to ensure the cap is not exceeded, giving polluters the incentive to cut emissions and allowing flexibility to do so efficiently and at the lowest cost.
The bill reflects a proven approach: Similar programs like it are already successfully working in 10 U.S. states and in countries around the world.
With my business background, I also see the business opportunities and job growth that investing in our clean-energy sector creates. These are jobs for people with all kinds of skills all over the state — construction workers and technicians, engineers, salespeople, secretaries and custodians. New investment from the Clean Energy Jobs bill would accelerate this growth, supporting solar and wind power, transit, electric vehicles, energy-efficient homes and businesses, and healthier communities to make Oregon more competitive.
Everyone has a role to play in solving the climate crisis. We need to work on it from multiple angles — business, industry and individuals, and federal, state, regional and local governments. I'm proud that in Lake Oswego, our city is developing a Climate Action Plan with support from community members. It has several action areas, implementation strategies and recommendations for measuring progress, and I'm hopeful that they will become important elements of our local identity.
But cities can't do it alone. We also need state action to create change at a larger scale.
The next few years are critical in determining our climate future. To have a program working by 2021, the Legislature needs to pass the Clean Energy Jobs bill this year. Oregon has so much to gain if we seize the economic opportunities presented by clean energy.
Lisa Adatto is an entrepreneur who co-founded and spent 20 years as an executive at a government contracting company. She is on the board of the Lake Oswego Sustainability Network and lives in Lake Oswego.