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Businesses Band Together to Support Pricing Carbon Emissions

The Oregon Business Alliance for Climate supports pricing carbon emissions in the state. (greensefa/Flickr)
The Oregon Business Alliance for Climate supports pricing carbon emissions in the state. (greensefa/Flickr)
June 30, 2017

PORTLAND, Ore. – Oregon businesses are partnering to fight climate change with a new organization called the Oregon Business Alliance for Climate. The alliance supports pricing policies for carbon emissions in Oregon.

Its 27 founding members span industries from restaurants and real-estate companies, to software and technology companies such as Uber and Airbnb.

President of the design firm Neil Kelly Company, Tom Kelly, chairs the Alliance. He says fighting climate change is good for business.

"The basic thing about business and being in business is (that) certainty is important, and until we can really effectively address climate change, our economy in the state, our economy as a country and the economy of the whole world is threatened," he explains.

The state has set goals for reducing carbon emissions. However, a report from the Oregon Global Warming Commission in February says the state won't reach its goals of reducing emissions below 75 percent of 1990 levels by 2050 on its current trajectory.

Carbon pricing and cap-and-trade bills failed in the Oregon Legislature this year and were opposed by the state's two largest business organizations. But members of the alliance believe they can help the state commit to reducing emissions going forward.

Steve Clem is a vice president of construction company Skanksa USA, a founding member of the alliance that also works with green building technologies. He's convinced the state can become a leader on environmental issues and innovative solutions to the climate-change challenge.

"The idea that we come up with a mechanism that is a win-win for the environment and for business is something that we could take to other places and demonstrate that it can be done," Clem says.

Efforts to fight climate change fell largely to states and cities after President Donald Trump pulled out of the Paris Accord.

Eric Tegethoff, Public News Service - OR