Global climate change is a real problem, and a serious problem, but Oregonians can’t solve it alone.
The key word in the phrase is, of course, global.
Oregon is a tiny part of the world, and our contributions to global greenhouse gas emissions, most particularly carbon dioxide, are infinitesimal.
But the potential effects of a bill setting limits on carbon emissions in the state — a bill that Democrats who control Oregon’s Legislature seem hell bent on passing — are rather more significant.
Sen. Cliff Bentz, the Ontario Republican whose district includes Baker County, estimates that House Bill 2020, as drafted, would boost gas and diesel prices by 15 cents as soon as it takes effect. Bentz said the legislation would also result in higher prices for natural gas and for electricity.
Which is to say, the fuels that drive our economy, that keep people employed, will cost more.
Such sacrifices might be justifiable if the law also had the potential to significantly reduce the harmful economic effects of a warming climate — effects, such as worsening droughts, that could be especially problematic for agriculture, which is so vital to the economy in Baker County and the rest of Eastern Oregon.
But given Oregon’s minuscule carbon footprint, that’s just not the case.
Indeed, House Bill 2020 could make things worse, globally speaking, by shifting production of such things as cement from Oregon to China, where emissions controls are less stringent.
Although Bentz told the Capital Press recently that he’s 95-percent sure the Legislature will pass some version of House Bill 2020 this year, citizens still have a chance to try to persuade lawmakers to craft a final version that minimizes the economic harm.
Residents can attend an event Monday evening at 5 o’clock at the Community Event Center, 2600 East St., to give testimony to a legislative committee.
— Jayson Jacoby, Baker City Herald editor