After yet another year in which many parts of the country were hit by scorching heat, devastating wildfires, crippling drought, record floods and severe storms like Hurricane Sandy, a new Environment Oregon Research & Policy Center report finds that weather-related disasters are affecting hundreds of millions of Americans, and documents how global warming could lead to certain extreme weather events becoming even more common or more severe in the future.
America has more than doubled its use of wind power since the beginning of 2008 and we are starting to reap the environmental rewards. In Oregon, wind energy now displaces as much global warming pollution each year as much as is produced by 550,000 cars. To protect the environment, federal and state governments should continue and expand policies that support wind energy.
Oregon has vast untapped potential for solar energy. Taking advantage of the state's solar energy potential would reduce Oregon's contribution to global warming and protect its environment. More solar power would also create jobs and boost manufacturing in Oreogn. Putting policies in place to accelerate the growth of the solar energy market will allow Oregon to start reaping these benefits immediately.
To reduce ocean pollution and protect the environment, more than 80 national and local governments across the planet have taken official action to ban throw-away plastic bags or to establish fees or taxes on such bags. State, county, and city governments in Oregon should follow their lead and ban the use of plastic grocery bags.
With oil companies taking greater and greater risks to satisfy the world’s demand for oil, the environmental toll of America’s oil dependence continues to rise. There are many technologies and policy tools, however, that can curb America’s dependence on oil. By taking strong action to cut down on energy waste and shift to cleaner sources of energy, America could reduce its consumption of oil for energy by 1.9 billion barrels of oil per year by 2030 – 31 percent of today’s oil use – while achieving President Obama’s goal of reducing oil imports by one-third by 2025 and putting the nation on track to ending its dependence on oil.
Environment Oregon Research and Policy Center is part of The Public Interest Network, which operates and supports organizations committed to a shared vision of a better world and a strategic approach to social change.