On the scene: New climate association discusses challenges, opportunities

Climate alliance recommends Oregon team up with other jurisdictions on clean energy regulations.

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The Oregon Business Alliance for Climate was founded in June, just before President Trump pulled the U.S. out of the Paris Climate Accord. One month later, the group has grown to more than 50 members — including founding members Tom Kelly, owner of Neil Kelly Inc., and Steve Baczko, vice president for Offsetters, a carbon markets firm.

Baczko was one of three panelists discussing market-driven climate change mitigation strategies at the PNWER conference Tuesday. 


“Oregon right now is very much at the forefront, and a lot of countries, states and industries are looking toward Oregon to see what they’re going to do,” Baczko said.

Portland and Multnomah County have committed to 100% renewable energy by 2035. In June, Oregon joined the U.S. Climate Alliance, a coalition of states committed to meeting the emissions reductions established by the Paris Accord.

RELATED STORY: Oregon companies, civic leaders weigh in on U.S. climate withdrawal

Baczko said although many businesses are looking at how to meet regulations to reduce carbon emissions, many more “want a seat at a table to understand the impact to their business.”

Boeing, for example, has met the industry standard for reducing carbon emissions but is now struggling to make further reductions.

The airplane manufacturer continues to grow, and “we’re trying to do that without increasing the amount of greenhouse gases,” said David Akiyama, Boeing’s environmental health and safety manager.

The airline industry can optimize machinery to reduce emissions, Akiyama said. But until an alternative fuel source is developed, there’s a cap on how much more progress can be made.

Baczko said Oregon is in a position to learn from other states as it develops state climate change regulations. But rather than create its own standards, the state should coordinate policy with other jurisdictions.

For example, California recently partnered with Quebec and Ontatio on a joint cap-and-trade program.

“There’s way too many standards,” Baczko said.