Problem #1: The timber industry, which is the second largest source of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in the state is not counted as a source of greenhouse gas emissions to be constrained.1
Solution: The Healthy Climate Bill must fully account for ALL greenhouse gas emissions in Oregon, including the timber industry.
Problem #2: In its latest amended form, carbon offsets could represent up to 50 percent of all emissions “reductions” in the HCB. In California, critics were concerned that “only 8 percent” of emissions reductions from carbon offsets could actually represent 85% of the overall emissions reductions2 . The integrity of carbon offsets are difficult, if not impossible, to verify, according to numerous studies3, and can actually result in emissions increases overall.
Solution: No carbon offsets.
Problem #3: The largest source of GHG emissions, the transportation sector, gets a 10-year delay in addressing its significant emissions, under the rationale that the Clean Fuels program will substitute for action in the transportation sector. However, the Clean Fuels Program uses a methodology for calculating its emissions that is in dispute.4 Until that methodology is fully vetted by the scientific community, it should not be assumed to result in emissions reductions over a business-as-usual scenario
Solution: Provide full, transparent greenhouse gas accounting for all fuels consumed in the state, including “clean fuels” and offer no delay in emissions reductions from the transportation sector.
Problem #4: An undisclosed percentage of the emissions credits will be given away for free to utilities. When this was done in the EU Emissions Trading Scheme, this meant enormous profits for the polluting utilities, and rates going up for consumers.5
Solution: No free permits to pollute.
Problem #5: The bill includes exemptions for “trade-sensitive” industries, although there is no definition of what a “trade- sensitive” industry is. This exemption could be a giant loophole, depending on how it is defined, offering unfair favorable treatment to multinational corporations over corporations based in Oregon.
Solution: No exemptions for any industries.
Problem #6: The funds set up by this bill– the Climate Investment Fund, the Just Transition Fund — will have a critical role in dispensing funds, yet there is no specificity in who will control those funds.
Solution: Ensure the funds set up by the Healthy Climate Bill are managed transparently and with democratically elected oversight and control over their disbursal.
1 See “Clearcutting our Carbon Accounts: How State and private forest practices are subverting Oregon’s climate agenda,” by Dr. John Talberth, Center for Sustainable Economy et al.
2 See New York Times, August 8, 2011, “Offsets Could Make Up 85% of Calif.’s Cap-And-Trade Program,” by Annie Mulkern.
3 See: “Carbon Offsets are a Bridge Too Far in the Tradable Property Rights Revolution,” by Tyler McNish, Harvard Environmental Law Review, August 1, 2012; and “Options for Addressing Challenges to Carbon Offset Quality,” GAO-11-345: Publicly Released: Mar 17, 2011.
4 See “Oregon Takes Big Step on Clean Fuels Program, but Corn Ethanol Concession Needs to be Cut,” by Simon Mui, NRDC, Dec. 9, 2015.
5 See “The Effects and Side Effects of the EU Emissions Trading Scheme,” by Timothy Laing et al, April 15, 2014.
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