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We’ve got 11 years to cut carbon emissions in half and stop human-caused climate change to avoid irreversible global destabilization (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report, 2018). In case that’s too abstract and futuristic to visualize, imagine even more forest fires that hospitalize thousands of residents for respiratory problems; longer, hotter, dryer summers and winters without snow on Marys Peak; a collapse of Oregon’s crab, oyster, and fishing industries in the wake of ocean acidification; an increase in pests and weeds that add more strain to struggling farmers.

But we don’t have to imagine; it’s already happening.

To address this crisis head-on will require action on every political scale. House Bill 2020, the Clean Energy Jobs Bill, would require the largest polluters in the state to pay for their emissions and invest in Oregon’s most impacted communities and public transportation. It’s time to urge your state representatives to pass this landmark bill and put Oregon on the path forward.

However, we cannot stop there; this bill alone is grossly insufficient to deal with the deep ecological and social inequities that climate change perpetuates, so let’s pass it and then get to work on the next bill: maybe one to revitalize electric public transit, incentivize community choice aggregation for renewable energy, or restore land rights to native people and establish co-op forestry practices. It’s time to look beyond.

John Stepanek

Corvallis (May 2)

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