Portland, Multnomah Co. want to overhaul Climate Action Plan

Local governments plan to  oppose coal and oil exports and consider divesting fossil fuel stocks.

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The Portland and Multnomah County governments plan to oppose coal and oil exports and consider divesting fossil fuel stocks.

The moves will come as a part of an update to the joint Climate Action Plan between the jurisdictions. As a part of that plan, carbon emissions must be decreased locally by 40 percent below 1990 levels by the year 2030 and by 80 percent in 2050.

Reaching the city’s and county’s ultimate goals likely will require more mandatory changes with bigger impacts. An example would be attaching a price to carbon — a policy that most experts say is essential if the world’s nations are going to adequately address climate change. By putting the city and county on record opposed to coal and oil exports, that could thwart efforts by coal and oil companies to ship products through the area.

The 2015 version of the 161-page Climate Action Plan is chock full of goals and projects involving public policies, government investments and efforts to change human and business behavior. Each goal is assigned to different city bureaus and county departments to take the lead. The most imminent new goals in the plan must be achieved over the next five years. Those include:

  • Establish a fossil fuels export policy, which could determine how the city and county respond to future propane export proposals and Liquefied Natural Gas pipeline projects.
  • Develop a “sustainable consumption policy,” which tries to get people to consider the lifetime carbon impact of all the “stuff” they purchase.
  • Promote the purchase of 8,000 new electric vehicles per year.
  • Require all homes to have an Energy Performance Standard label, which functions much like a miles-per-gallon sticker on cars. The stickers would state the home’s monthly utility cost for heating and other energy usage.
  • Play a more direct role in limiting “black carbon” from diesel engines and wood stove emissions.
  • Work with residents, businesses and local utilities to reduce the carbon content in local electricity sold here by 3 percent a year. That means getting Portland General Electric and Pacific Power to move away from coal power in their local energy mix.

(SOURCE: Portland Tribune)

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