Gov. Brown marks one year since issuing executive order on climate

Governor Kate Brown signs an executive order with young climate activists on March 10, 2020.

The bitter 2020 legislative session ended without consideration of a major climate bill, so Governor Kate Brown signed an executive order instead. One year later, what has the order accomplished?

Posted: Mar 10, 2021 5:06 PM
Updated: Mar 10, 2021 5:23 PM

SALEM, Ore. — Governor Kate Brown on Wednesday marked a year since she signed an executive order that directed state agencies to tackle the issue of climate change after the legislature adjourned early rather than address it.

Oregon's 2020 legislative session saw the return of a cap-and-trade bill meant to address greenhouse gases by penalizing the biggest polluters. In a repeat of the 2019 session, Republican lawmakers walked out to deny a quorum — but unlike 2019, Democrats did not agree to give in to the minority party's demands, allowing the session to end in acrimony.

With no climate legislation to sign, Governor Brown signed Executive Order 20-04 for state agencies to take what steps they could in the interim.

The order updated Oregon's carbon emissions goals "to reflect current science" through a 30-year plan — setting a standard of 45 percent reduction from 1990 greenhouse gas levels by 2035, and an 80 percent reduction by 2050. The order also outlined ways that agencies could pursue those goals under existing state law.

According to Brown's office, the state has been working toward those goals over the past year, with some developments to report:

  • The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality is working on rules for a Climate Protection Program, using its authority to cap and reduce emissions from large polluters in Oregon.
  • The state released the Climate Adaptation Framework, Climate Equity Blueprint, and the Climate and Health in Oregon Report, intended to inform future actions to protect Oregon’s most vulnerable communities from the impacts of climate change.
  • The Oregon Department of Transportation has created a new Climate Policy Office, providing data on the climate impacts of ODOT’s major investment decisions, and resulting in a historic 60% increase in allocation of federal funding for biking, walking, and public transportation for 2021-2024.
  • A statewide public electric charging plan has been launched to align electrification efforts and incentivize charging infrastructure in rural and historically-underserved communities.
  • The Every Mile Counts statewide transportation plan is making progress to reduce emissions from the transportation sector equitably through improved land use and transportation planning.
  • Wildfire prevention and mitigation work by the Public Utility Commission is ongoing.
  • Agency work is underway to expand the state’s successful Clean Fuels Program, strengthen rules on methane emissions from landfills, and increase energy efficiency standards for buildings and appliances in Oregon to highest national standards.

Governor Brown issued the following statement on Wednesday to mark the occasion:

“One year ago, I stood shoulder-to-shoulder with young Oregonians from across the state to announce I was taking decisive action to address one of the greatest challenges facing this generation and the next: climate change. Since then, so much has happened. In addition to the pandemic, Oregon has been struck by floods, wildfires more intense than any in recent memory, and severe winter weather. It has never been more clear how urgent the need is to take climate action.

“I would like to thank all the state agency leaders and staff, business leaders, environmental advocates, and others who, in the middle of a worldwide pandemic, have remained focused and worked hard to put Oregon on track to hit our climate goals, as we endeavor to protect Oregon’s clean air and water, and to grow our economy for a clean energy future.

“The impacts of climate change disproportionately fall on historically-disadvantaged and vulnerable communities: Black, Indigenous, Tribal, Latino, Latina, and Latinx, Pacific Islander, and communities of color, as well as low-income and rural Oregonians. I am committed to environmental justice and to addressing the disproportionate impact of climate change on these communities.”

Cap-and-trade has yet to re-emerge in 2021 as state lawmakers grapple with the fallout from a pandemic, devastating wildfires, the push for police reform and racial justice, and an ongoing housing crisis.

Oregon Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 362561

Reported Deaths: 4334
CountyCasesDeaths
Multnomah56445713
Washington39207326
Marion37314457
Clackamas30208312
Lane28166308
Jackson23297314
Deschutes20819125
Umatilla14616151
Linn13198132
Douglas12294251
Josephine9476198
Yamhill8868114
Klamath8194122
Polk750281
Malheur570079
Benton562431
Coos512396
Columbia388944
Jefferson382456
Lincoln325540
Union322950
Crook298146
Wasco293341
Clatsop245528
Baker205229
Tillamook198333
Hood River196637
Morrow187123
Curry182925
Harney114927
Grant100813
Lake96112
Wallowa69512
Gilliam1624
Sherman1603
Wheeler1081
Unassigned00

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Cases: 4854041

Reported Deaths: 71417
CountyCasesDeaths
Los Angeles148510526549
Riverside3716705041
San Diego3678574183
San Bernardino3586775720
Orange3251235578
Sacramento1596362313
Kern1472941652
Fresno1463182094
Santa Clara1455431897
Alameda1206921415
San Joaquin1027761721
Ventura1010381167
Contra Costa1000181008
Stanislaus862991335
Tulare80375978
San Francisco54440649
San Mateo54168623
Monterey50911586
Solano46063341
Santa Barbara45223523
Merced42422581
Sonoma40997404
Placer39435429
Imperial36071766
Kings32938325
San Luis Obispo29973333
Madera23955285
Shasta23924352
Butte23818273
Santa Cruz21034221
Yolo20397248
Marin17706244
El Dorado17207149
Sutter13937175
Napa12898100
Yuba1011582
Tehama9534110
Humboldt9269109
Nevada916790
Mendocino766787
Lassen758747
San Benito744972
Tuolumne691790
Lake6631105
Amador547364
Siskiyou451246
Glenn438433
Calaveras391481
Del Norte358742
Colusa307618
Inyo214241
Mono16723
Plumas16607
Mariposa133916
Trinity88011
Modoc6895
Sierra1880
Unassigned1460
Alpine1050
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