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An Earth Day Challenge from “Oregon’s Al Gore”

April 21, 2008

Portland, OR – Tuesday is Earth Day, and perhaps no one in Oregon has kept up more closely with environmental issues in the state and around the globe than Oregon Secretary of State Bill Bradbury. Today at a Portland rally, Bradbury will help Gov. Ted Kulongoski and the Sierra Club of Oregon kick off Earth Day events.

Over the past two years, Bradbury estimates he has given his Oregon version of Al Gore's "Inconvenient Truth" presentation more than a hundred times, across the state. He says he rarely encounters anyone who doesn't believe global warming is real, and he gets plenty of questions about what the state can do to help solve the problem.

Recently, Bradbury updated his presentation to include information about how climate change has affected Mount Hood.

"Warmer temperatures, rain at higher elevations, glacial debris coming down and devastating highways and railroads – it's the full picture on Mount Hood. That's a great example – and that's just one mountain in the Cascades."

Bradbury believes Oregon is poised to be a leader in fighting climate change pollution. The state already has some of the most aggressive standards for renewable energy, with a goal of generating 25 percent of its power from renewable sources by the year 2025.

However, he adds, it won't be possible without tougher clean energy laws, both state and federal. So it's not enough to take individual steps to decrease pollution. Oregonians also must demand more from their elected officials, he says.

"You and I can regulate how much carbon comes from our car by not driving it as much, or by driving a higher-mileage car. But you and I can't affect how much carbon comes from a Boardman coal-fired power plant. Only the government – and only government action – can affect that."

The "Earth Day Challenge" rally takes place today at noon in Pioneer Courthouse Square, downtown Portland.

Chris Thomas, Public News Service - OR