Oregon lawmakers are considering implementing cap and trade system that would limit some emissions and charge businesses for the right to pollute.
The Clean Energy Jobs Bill, as the measure is known, would require permits for any business that emits more than 25,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent. That includes a variety of large manufacturers, paper mills, fuel distributors and utilities.
Over time, the cap on emissions will come down and there will be fewer pollution permits available. So, companies will have to reduce their emissions, spend more on permits or buy credits to offset their emissions, according to fresnobee.com.
Among other things, the bill aims to:
- Enforces state’s existing climate goals and sets interim targets for 2025, 2035 and a final target of 80% reduction below 1990 levels by 2050.
- Caps emissions from transportation, utilities (including imported power) and industrial emissions.
- Capped sectors are only required to meet a proportionate share of emissions reductions.
How Companies Would Have to Conform
Regulated companies can meet their obligation in three ways: 1) reduce their climate emissions on site below the cap; 2) purchase allowances at auction or trade for them for the balance of their emissions; or 3) meet part of their obligation through “offsets,” where a different entity reduces their emissions by an equivalent or greater amount.
Oregon Business & Industry, the state’s largest business organization is against the proposed cap and trade measure.
“Greenhouse gas emissions are decreasing, while Oregon’s fiscal crisis is worsening,” President and CEO Mark Johnson said on bizjournals.com.
Greenhouse gas emissions in the state have been on a generally downward trend, but they rose in the last year for which data is available (2015), from 60 million to 63 million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent.
The state is also off track in meeting goals enshrined in Oregon legislation: It’s supposed to be at 51 million tons of greenhouse-gas emissions by 2020, but the Global Warming Commission says it will miss the mark by around 11 million tons. That gap widens to 22 million tons by 2035 in the commission’s projections, according to bizojournals.com.
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