Taking action on climate change doesn’t cost––it pays! Not taking action on climate change is economic suicide for Oregon. The undeniable fact is that climate change already exacts a far more brutal stealth tax from Oregonians than any proposed mitigation efforts ever could.
We as a state led the nation in the past with environmental innovations like the renowned Bottle Bill, the Willamette Greenway Act, which turned a life-less stinking sewer choking with pulp mill scum into attractive salmon and sturgeon habitat. Staying at the forefront of innovation can again position Oregon to take the lead in new clean industries of the 21st century, which will help heal our fevered planet and beleaguered wildlife.
However as we roll up our sleeves, we can’t afford to ignore the dire and pressing realities. The day is short and the hour is late. We must act swiftly to protect our grandchildren and all future generations from a now looming catastrophe. Here’s what the hard science says:
High temperatures, drought and severe weather wreak havoc on farms and ranches.
Vanishing snowpack and dwindling stream flows sap our outdoor recreation, agriculture, fisheries, public utilities, and other industries.
Ocean acidification is destroying our shellfish industry. Our salmon and steelhead are sick from it! It takes a LONG time to mess up an ocean, we can’t let this get any worse.
A blistering 105-day increase in Oregon’s fire season since the 1970s has unleashed unprecedented firestorms, destroying valuable timber and exhausting wild lands firefighting resources.
Should current temperature trends continue to the end of the century, Oregon’s high value Douglas fir and Ponderosa pine stands will be chased up the mountains––a vanishing remnant of the beauty that once was.
What’s to be done? Must we submit to some predestinate slide into ecological destruction and commercial collapse? I say NO. Oregon and Oregonians are here to stay. Let’s act like it!
My opponent Kim Wallan suggests that more logging alone will magically stop these firestorms.
She also recently fled the capital to kill a climate bill and is taking money from Chevron, the Jordan Cove pipeline, and the Koch brothers. Our campaign is not taking money from Big Oil.
As your Representative, I will support:
The cap-and-trade program
Cap and trade works just like the three-point line in the NBA. When first introduced that line looked like a long shot. But when you change the expectation, reward the result, leave it to the players to innovate and decide what shots to take, it’s a win for the players and spectators. Cap-and-trade harnesses market economics to drive investment to the easiest solutions first.
Biochar introduction into soil can permanently remove carbon from the atmosphere, while greatly improving soil fertility, retains soil moisture, encourages beneficial soil microbes, reducing fertilizer run-off, and improving stream and river water quality, and reducing dangerous marine algal blooms. Mobile and stationary bio-char units could expand this production into an export industry for Southern Oregon. Instead of completely burning up our slash, we could be making garden products. And just west of Medford, we have an agricultural research station that could be researching them!
Rural and home solar installations
These installations can provide additional income streams for farms and ranches struggling with climate change and market shifts. Solar is now the cheapest energy in the world. And solar panels and battery storage only continue to improve and drop in price. So why should solar subsidies be available only to those luckier homeowners who can front the rest of the cost? (About the cost of a good used car.) Cities have bonding authority for sidewalks that allows homeowners to spread payments over 20 years. I propose that similar bonding authority be offered to homeowners and landlords for solar installations. It would super-charge our local solar installation businesses.
Electrification of our economy
Electrification is coming and will be surprisingly swift. Judging by auto-makers model development, almost all new cars and trucks will be electric within 10 years. Just as in the current coronavirus crisis, the air will be sweet! And with solar driving those cars and trucks we’ll all be saving enormously on repairs and fuel. What’s that mean for Medford? It’s good. Lithia Motors, headquartered “right here in River City” is our nation’s largest auto chain by far. It will be selling a lot of those electrics. Ca-ching! But what about the jobs lost in gas stations and repair shops? Let’s get cracking and surf the wave, rather than go for the wipeout. Rogue Community College could jump on training that next generation of electrification industry workers. Let’s think about what and how!
We can capture methane that would normally vent from landfills and turn it into power. This is being done everywhere, including Rogue Disposal’s landfills. It generates enough power to light up White City. The methane burned produces CO2 and water. That’s actually a pretty good trick because it's estimated that methane is at least 80 times (some estimates go far higher) as heat-trapping a greenhouse gas as carbon dioxide. But that’s old news. Can we do even better? Yes! More recently, researchers have been working on developing novel industrial materials from methane. This avoids burning it up. Think methane not as a planet-killer, but a valuable manufacturing feedstock.