Fighting Global Warming
Too much of our energy comes from dirty sources that harm our environment. But by tapping the power of the sun and wind, and using less energy in the first place, we can repower our lives with clean energy that doesn’t pollute and never runs out.
We're feeling the impact of global warming
Global warming is real, and we're feeling the consequences now. Snowpack in the Cascade Mountains is down 35%, sea levels are rising on the Oregon Coast, and the incidence of severe wildfires is rising sharply.
The consequences for Oregon are significant. Shrinking snowpack means lower river flow levels. Oregon’s farmers depend on rivers for irrigation, our salmon depend on rivers for migration, and 40% of our electricity depends on rivers for hydropower generation. Fifty Oregon economists have warned that global warming poses a serious threat to at least four economic sectors — agriculture, forestry and forest products, tourism, and hydroelectricity. These sectors make up 25% of Oregon’s economy, and provide $35 billion in annual economic output.
With more wind and solar, we can move to 100% clean energy
The good news is that we are surrounded by clean energy options. And Oregon is a national leader in the green economy, including solar manufacturing, streetcar manufacturing, plug-in car infrastructure and manufacturing, wave power research, energy efficiency installation and wind generation.
Together with our allies, we’ve helped Oregon take some important steps, requiring that 25% of new electricity come from renewable sources by 2025 and providing market incentives through tax credits, feed-in tariffs, and the energy efficiency public purpose charge. To provide more affordable and abundant clean energy so Oregonians can be energy self-reliant, we need to do more.
Oregon currently gets 40% of its electricity from dirty coal. Fortunately, we’ve said “no” to increasing our dependence on fossil fuels by banning the construction of new coal plants or the entering into contracts for out-of-state coal power. Now Oregon needs a plan to take the existing 1,800 megawatts dirty coal power off-line, including shutting down Portland General Electric's coal plant in Boardman.
Efficient buildings will spur energy savings
At the same time, we can do more with the energy we’re using by adopting smart, commonsense efficiency measures. Right now, Oregon’s homes are like cars that only get 10 miles to the gallon. Buildings consume 40% of Oregon’s energy, and much of that energy is literally flying out the window rather than heating or cooling our homes and businesses. What’s worse, energy-wasting buildings are responsible for nearly half of our nation’s greenhouse gas emissions.
Millions of Oregonians are already weather-stripping doors and windows, insulating attics and making their homes more energy efficient and thus healthier, more comfortable and less costly to heat and cool.
If everyone makes these small changes nationwide, they can really add up — to 334 million fewer metric tons of global warming pollution emitted each year, the equivalent of taking 65.5 million cars off the road. The average family could save up to $400 on their utility bills.
Our sister organization, Environment Oregon Research & Policy Center, has created a guide to help you use less fuel and save money. Visit "Plug Into Clean Energy,” for tips on how to give your home an efficiency upgrade.
Stand up for the environmental values we share by donating to Environment Oregon today.
- Oregon is a national leader in the green economy, including solar manufacturing, streetcar manufacturing, plug-in car infrastructure and manufacturing, wave power research, energy efficiency installation and wind generation.
- From 2010 to 2011, jobs in the solar sector grew 10 times faster than the rest of the economy.
- By making our homes, businesses and other buildings just 20% more efficient, we could save enough energy each year to power almost 100 million homes.
- Enough wind blows in just four states—Kansas, Nebraska, North Dakota and South Dakota—to supply all the electricity that America uses in a year.