Opinion: Climate Goals Are Key to Economic Recovery

Opinion: Climate Goals Are Key to Economic Recovery

In time of COVID-19, we must create a more resilient economy – Gov. Brown’s bold climate plan will help us build back better.

The twin public health and economic crises wrought by the COVID-19 pandemic are unlike anything we have seen in modern history. With new cases rising, they are not going away any time soon, and come as an even bigger crisis bears down upon us: the climate crisis.

As we navigate the tenuous waters of economic recovery, it is critical that Oregon keeps an eye to building back better through investments in programs that create lasting jobs and a stronger, more sustainable economy. Thanks to the leadership of Gov. Kate Brown and her Executive Order No. 20-04, Oregon is already moving in the right direction.

As leaders of Oregon business groups, we understand the critical need to rebuild our economy with an eye to future prosperity. Our organizations’ combined membership includes hundreds of diverse Oregon companies and business leaders in every sector of the economy, hailing from every corner of the state and includes S&P 500 companies, mom-and-pop business owners and some of the country’s most cutting-edge entrepreneurs.

For years, the companies and business leaders in our networks have sounded the alarm about the negative economic impacts of climate change. They have seen record wildfire seasons disrupt supply chains and drought wreak havoc on crop yields. They have recognized the dire threat that unmitigated climate change poses to our economy. And in response, they have demanded government action.

Actions like Gov. Brown’s order establish market structures and programs that will help Oregon reach its science-based climate goals and create certainty for businesses to continue making long-term investments in clean technologies and practices that create jobs and spur growth.

It also will help attract new companies and job opportunities, as companies increasingly weigh the availability of renewable energy and other climate considerations when deciding where to do business. The governor’s leadership is now even more critical, as we rebuild our economy and address concurrent crises.

Under the executive order, Oregon will implement sweeping directives with the goal of reducing the state’s greenhouse gas emissions 45% by 2035 and 80% by 2050, relative to a 1990 baseline. When implemented, these directives will reshape much of Oregon’s economy to prepare us for a low-carbon future, from industry and buildings, to electric vehicles and transportation fuels, to agriculture and forestry and more.

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Written by Nancy Hamilton, Bob Keefe and Anne Kelly, Published in Opinion.