Article: Contentious Oregon Climate Plan Takes Lessons From California's Mistakes

Climate Change, Political Science/Policy // 10 mins

Plants like this Darigold dairy processing facility in Portland, Ore., may see higher energy prices under a cap-and-trade plan to limit greenhouse gas emissions. Bradley W. Parks

Oregon is on track to become the second U.S. state to pass an economywide cap-and-trade system to regulate greenhouse gas emissions. But while emulating the first such program (in California), Oregon also hopes to avoid repeating its mistakes.

Oregon's plan, like California's, would set a cap on greenhouse gas emissions that would come down over time. It would also create a market for companies to buy and trade a limited number of pollution permits. Ultimately, it aims to reduce emissions to 80% below 1990 levels by 2050.

But the bill to create the program is so contentious, it is opposed by both industry and some environmental justice advocates, who have broken ranks with environmental supporters to speak out against it.

While industry groups argue that cap-and-trade will drive up energy costs and put their businesses at risk, opponents with environmental justice groups say too many industry-backed loopholes make cap-and-trade ineffective.

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Published on NPR on June 6, 2019