Conference Climate Leaders Favor Actions to Help the Community

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The Bend Climate Resolution has passed. Now it’s time to get down to business. Speakers at the Conference, Climate Change: Solutions and Opportunities will help the community learn and discuss options for participation on October 3-4 at Mt Bachelor Village Conference Center, $25 registration at 350Deschutes.org.

Keynote speakers, Roger Worthington, owner of Worthy Brewery, and Kitty Piercy, mayor of Eugene, will share their experiences. Piercy and Worthington are two of 16 expert speakers who will address how Central Oregon can reduce greenhouse gas emissions. They say the benefits are many, both financially, and otherwise.

Worthy Brewery, whose business follows a sustainable model, has a solar roof, equipment upgrades and a wide range of resource-saving measures. Worthington will describe in detail how he’s managed to reduce costs at his session: Going Green, good for the Planet and the Bottom Line.

Worthington encourages other businesses to get onboard because he believes the investments are worthwhile on many levels:

“Renewable energy prices have come down. They’re pleasing, They save money. They spare the already over-burdened atmosphere more avoidable greenhouse gases. By investing in green tech you’re showing leadership because you’re part of the solution”

Piercy, winner of an award for Climate Protection, will be the lunch keynote, speaking on the Successful Urban Action Experience. Eugene has taken aggressive actions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions while growing their economy. Eugene significantly reduced GHG emissions in their transportation, a huge contributor.

Eugene’s leadership resulted in a trade group naming Lane Transit District as the “best midsize transit agency in North America.” The American Public Transportation Association selected LTD as the 2014 Outstanding Public Transportation System for transit systems. This achievement included the purchase of five electric buses, funded through a federal grant. These buses don’t emit harmful diesel pollution and they significantly reduce operating costs.

But Eugene has had its challenges too, as it seeks to achieve aggressive greenhouse gas reduction goals. Some individuals and businesses are reluctant to adopt these changes or behaviors. Piercy will describe what they’ve learned in trying to rally the community around the many options that are available to reduce harmful greenhouse gases.

Climate scientists of the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change state that at least 80 percent of fossil fuels must stay in the ground if the world is to avoid climate catastrophe, the destruction of our entire ecosystem. Fossil fuel use, including coal, oil and natural gas, must decrease by a minimum of 80 percent, by the year 2050. They say, the sooner the better.

Bend’s Resolution calls for the city operations to be carbon neutral by the year 2030 and to reduce fossil fuels by 70 percent by 2050. Carbon neutral means that there will be no net release of CO2 to the atmosphere. A community goal, which is aspirational, has the goal of 40 percent reduction by 2030 and 70 percent by 2050.

One thing the scientists make clear, although the options are many, to address climate change, they will need to be implemented at a faster rate than originally anticipated.

For now, the speakers at the Climate Change Conference will be helping you decide how you’d like to be a part of a huge movement that seems to have benefits for you, your business and the world.

Diane Hodiak
350Deschutes
206-498-5887

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