Climate Pledges Roll in to Boost Economies, Despite U.S. Congress

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In an unprecedented move, six of Europe’s biggest oil and gas companies, including BP and Royal Dutch Shell, have signed a letter to world leaders formally requesting a price on carbon. EldarSætre, the president and CEO of Norway’s, StatOil, calls carbon pricing an “efficient and effective way to stimulate investments in technology and to cut emissions that cause global warming.”

Many American businesses agree: 13 of the largest companies are standing with the Obama Administration to launch the American Business Act on Climate Pledge: Alcoa, Apple, Bank of America, Berkshire Hathaway Energy, Cargill, Coca-Cola, General Motors, Goldman Sachs, Google.

On a local level in Bend, Oregon 350 Deschutes is organizing our local community to combat the climate crisis and build a better future for Oregonians. To support the effort go to. http://350deschutes.org/

This backdrop is good fodder for the upcoming 2015 United Nations COP21 Climate Summit in Paris, November 30, as it begins to coordinate carbon reduction pledges from many nations, including China and India. Yet, despite this positivism, US Big Petrol Companies remain resistant to legislating carbon pricing. Many Congressional lawmakers have signed a “no climate pledge” saying that they will not act on Climate legislation. As a result, this idea is fraught with misinformation from many special interests that tell doomsday scenarios that really haven’t held up in reality.

Carbon pricing is an essential item in the toolkit to combat climate change. California is reaping benefits from its Cap and Trade Program which has thus far generated $2 billion in revenues that will be applied in communities to further reduce carbon emissions. Investments from their GGEF (Greenhouse Gas Emission Fund) will support rapid rail, clean transportation, new business investment, and electric vehicles. All in communities that would otherwise not have access to these funds. Experts estimate that 500,000 jobs in new clean tech industries are about to be created.

All of this with a compliance cost that has thus far been 10 cents per gallon of gasoline.

In 2016, Oregon is likely to revisit HB3470, a cap and trade bill modeled after California’s AB32 Cap and Trade bill. Oregon could also benefit from making polluters pay for the carbon they are putting into the atmosphere, and using that money to create jobs that stay in Oregon.

And if new jobs and clean air is not enough, one has only to look at the risk avoidance perspective: climate policy still produces a win. Oregon businesses are already suffering losses to agriculture, and winter and summer tourism, from lack of snowpack and reduced water flows. Climate policy that results in climate stability is the insurance policy that will protect businesses from present and future losses.

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