Our Climate youth leaders were thrilled to join Governor Kate Brown and climate justice organizations from across the state for the signing of an extensive climate Executive Order 20-04 on March 10, 2020. We’re taking historic, bold action in Oregon to reduce climate pollution, protect our air and water, and do our part as a state to respond to the climate emergency. We’re improving our transportation, businesses, and buildings to lower pollution over time with clean, renewable options that will save money, protect health, and create jobs.
The Executive Order directs state agencies to cap carbon pollution in the industrial, transportation, and natural gas sectors, in order to reach new emission reduction goals, which require a 45% reduction below 1990 levels by 2035 and an 80% reduction by 2050. This Executive Order comes after years of targeted statewide advocacy, much of which has been led by young people who are committed to protecting our future.
The Executive Order will achieve its goals primarily through instructing the Environmental Quality Commission to set and enforce sector specific reductions in transportation, natural gas, and fossil-fuel intensive industry. Additionally, the Governor’s Executive Order strengthens requirements for new buildings in Oregon to produce as much clean energy as they use by 2030, adds a climate lens to all new state projects, and extends and strengthens Oregon’s Clean Fuels Program. Finally, the Governor made strong promises to include funding for environmental justice projects, a just transition fund for workers, and wildfire mitigation in her next budget to support the implementation of the Executive Order.
Our Climate’s young leaders have been instrumental in the effort to pass science-based and equitable comprehensive climate policy in Oregon, and this Executive Order is a testament to that effort. Our journey began in 2013, when 1,200 Oregonians came together through a public art installation of a salmon swimming upstream to demand state-level action on climate. Since then, Our Climate’s young leaders have relentlessly mobilized communities statewide–from Medford to Cannon Beach to La Grande–to hold polluters accountable. We have engaged hundreds of volunteers in legislative advocacy efforts; organized 7 Youth Lobby Days; passed eight local government resolutions calling on lawmakers to price carbon; and published dozens of calls to action in local and statewide media outlets. During the last two sessions, Our Climate leaders held more than 120 meetings with lawmakers; testified at 15 committee hearings; gathered hundreds of letters of support from their peers; and published 9 opinion pieces in papers across the state.
Our Climate Fellow and Willamette University first-year Ian Curtis said, “I have been lobbying for the Clean Energy Jobs Bill for three years now, and was very disappointed when Republican lawmakers decided to walk out on generations of Oregonians again this legislative session. I applaud the actions of Governor Kate Brown to take bold and decisive action to ensure that Oregon is a leader in the movement to fight the climate crisis. Her executive order will benefit Oregon’s most vulnerable communities, including the tribes, rural Oregonians, and low-income communities.”
Moving forward, Our Climate will continue to build youth support for policies that ensure the state of Oregon achieves the science-based emission reductions we need to mitigate the climate crisis while centering justice. We will especially prioritize strong youth engagement throughout the rule making process to ensure the resulting policies benefit communities that are disproportionately affected by the climate crisis, including young Oregonians.
Photo 1: Our first Fellowship training in Spring of 2015
Photo 2: The Salmon Mosaic that sparked it all in Spring of 2013
Photo 3: Madison Daisy, an Our Climate Fellowship 2017 Alumni, leading youth as a staff member of Renew Oregon in 2019
Page Atcheson, Executive Director, firstname.lastname@example.org, 206-669-4955
Laura Krouse, Oregon Field Organizer email@example.com, 360-672-1652
Youth leaders from across Oregon are available for interviews.
Our Climate empowers the generations most affected by climate change to advocate for science-based and equitable climate policy. Our young leaders work closely with state-based coalitions to hold polluters accountable and win state-level policy to protect our future. Our young leaders were also instrumental in the recent passage of Climate Pollution Limits bill in Washington State (2020) and the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act in New York State (2019).