City Club of Central Oregon – May 2018

May Forum: A Solution for Pollution?

Considered by some to be a fruitful “pollution solution” and others a “job-killing energy tax,” it is no wonder carbon pricing was a hot-button issue in Oregon’s recent legislative short session. While the proposed Clean Energy Jobs bill did not pass, legislative leaders are clear it will be back on their 2019 agenda. Statewide efforts to reduce climate pollution in Oregon have been a decade in the making. In 2007, the Legislature set ambitious goals for carbon pollution to reduce Oregon’s contribution to drought, severe weather and rising sea levels, which are among the hallmarks of climate change. Many argue that the next step is to set a price on carbon, cap emissions from Oregon’s largest carbon polluters, auction permits to continue polluting, and reinvest permit proceeds into efforts that fuel a clean energy future.

How would the proposed “cap and invest” program work? What has been the experience of other states that have implemented similar efforts? Are we ready to set a price on carbon? And how might a cap and invest program effect Oregon businesses and residents? At this month’s City Club, special guest Greg Dotson, a ‘twenty-year veteran of energy policy-making in Washington, D.C.,’ will explain the market-based approaches to reducing carbon pollution and talk about the cap and invest bill that was proposed for Oregon this year. We will then hear from two representatives from the business community about the positives and negatives of this proposal, followed by a panel discussion and audience Q&A. Join us as we explore whether carbon pricing is the right next step for our state.