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There has been a fair amount of negativity surrounding the international climate change discussion, but the prevailing attitude appears to be shifting toward hope. Our state also has something to be hopeful for in the fight against climate change. For about a decade, Oregon has been working on and fine-tuning a cap-and-invest bill called Clean Energy Jobs, and this session, for the first time, it looks like it might finally be passed.

The Clean Energy Jobs bill puts a cap on statewide greenhouse gas emissions and requires the major polluters to pay for every ton they emit. This innovative solution guarantees that Oregon will not only meet whatever climate goal it sets as the cap, but also earn revenue that will then be reinvested in the local, clean energy economy with a particular focus on economically distressed communities in Oregon. Barring the last-minute amendments introduced by Sen. Betsy Johnson to weaken it, the Clean Energy Jobs bill as written is a rare example of climate policy that really does go far enough to address our contribution to the greatest challenge of our time.

Passing the Clean Energy Jobs bill is the single biggest thing Oregonians can do to combat climate change. Oregon has the opportunity to lead a cap-and-invest movement for bigger, higher-emitting states to follow. We'll know before this session is out if it takes it.

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Zac Pinard

Corvallis (June 11)

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