On Dec. 16 the Environmental Quality Commission made history. It approved climate regulations that push to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from transportation and heating fuels and from large factories. This long overdue program gives me hope that Oregonians will have more job opportunities in our transition off fossil fuels. It will infuse $200 million to $500 million annually into our economy through the Community Climate Investment (CCI) Program, unique to Oregon, in which the fuel suppliers will pay certified nonprofits to implement GHG emissions reduction projects.
CCI projects must help residents, businesses and nonprofits in rural, low income, tribal and coastal communities. The possibilities are bountiful, from electric heat/AC pumps, electric cars, trucks and tractors to small/medium solar and wind power systems, including homes, barns, apartments, restaurants, groceries, gyms, hotels, schools, clinics, hospitals and more, such as low emissions farming practices.
Now is the time for young entrepreneurs, students and graduates to help turn the tide on climate in their hometowns. Tap these funds to launch new nonprofits or transform established ones, and transition Oregon (and the U.S.) off fossil fuels. Oregon is poised for greatness in reducing emissions. Let’s thank the commissioners and staff, and get to work.