By Rachel Dawson
Oregon’s Governor Kate Brown responded to the Republican walk-out and end of the 2020 legislative short session by saying that she “will be taking executive action to lower our greenhouse gas emissions.” Brown is also “open to calling a special session if we can ensure it will benefit Oregonians.”
Despite what Brown may believe, executive action is not necessary to lower our state’s greenhouse gas emissions. Oregon residents and businesses are way ahead of the governor and are already cutting emissions in their daily lives. And they’re doing it without heightened government regulation or a burdensome tax.
According to the Oregon Global Warming Commission, per capita emissions have decreased by 22.8% since 1990, and emissions per unit of GDP have dropped by 50.7%.
Source: Oregon Global Warming Commission, 2018 Biennial Report
Additionally, Oregon’s energy use per capita is the lowest it’s been since 1960; and Oregonians have decreased energy consumption per capita by 37% since it peaked in 1972.
Source: Oregon Department of Energy, 2018 Biennial Report
If these trends continue, aggregate GHG emissions will decrease in the future without placing an undue financial burden on rural and low-income residents.
Oregonians, and not Kate Brown, are doing what needs to be done to benefit Oregonians.
Rachel Dawson is a Policy Analyst at Cascade Policy Institute, Oregon’s free-market public policy research organization.