Economic growth prompts slow shift in Republican attitudes toward climate change


The global economy is thriving without increasing reliance on the burning of fossil fuels.

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BY JACOB PALMER | OB DIGITAL NEWS EDITOR

The global economy is thriving without increasing reliance on the burning of fossil fuels, prompting shift in political attitude toward global warming.

The market grew by 3 percent last year while carbon emissions stagnated, OregonLive.com reports, citing a Forbes magazine article that argued “an important new pivot point has been reached — one that decouples economic vigor and carbon pollution.” 

This is the first time in more than 40 years that greenhouse-gas emissions have fallen or stayed flat when there hasn’t been an economic downturn. The IEA writes that the letup in carbon pollution is due “to changing patterns of energy consumption in China and OECD countries. In China, 2014 saw greater generation of electricity from renewable sources, such as hydropower, solar and wind, and less burning of coal.” The Paris-based agency also notes energy-efficiency and renewable energy efforts in the U.S. and Europe.

To add to this good news, the possibilities of renewable energy may have just received a big boost. Japan’s space agency has reported success in wirelessly transmitting “with pinpoint accuracy” 1.8 kilowatts of power more than 170 feet to an energy receiver, an important early-stage victory in the effort to beam solar power from outer space. Writes tech news site Engadget: “Up next: scaling the technology for use in tomorrow’s orbital solar farms.” Scientists have pondered the possibilities of outer-space power generation for years. But even with this breakthrough, said a Japanese space agency spokesman, “it could still take decades before we see practical application of the technology — maybe in the 2040s or later.”

At the Dorchester Conference of Oregon’s Republicans, leaders acknowledged that moderate leadership on environmental issues is necessary in the state, the Statesman Journal reports.

The majority of voters in all age groups told [pollsters Adam] Davis and [Su] Madrighall [from DHM Research] that it was important for people to consume less, even if it meant making sacrifices, and the majority in every group said it was most important to protect the environment, even at the cost of jobs. Walking the line of moderation is not easy, Gresham Mayor Shane Bemis said in a speech Saturday. He has had to strike a balance during his time in largely liberal Multnomah County, but he said it is possible to find solutions that benefit society but keep government under control.

Former Republican Party Chairman Allen Alley told the crowd that the kind of moderation Bemis described is crucial. Mathematically, the GOP needs to capture 90 percent of the voters in its own party, 60 percent of independents and 15 percent of Democrats just to win a statewide election, he said.

READ MORE: Carbon pricing gains  momentum in Oregon.

 




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