The Carbon Calculus

By Kim Moore, Oregon Business.

A year and a half ago, Steve Clem, a vice president at global construction company Skanska, testified at the Oregon legislature in support of a bill to fund a study analyzing a state carbon tax. That study, “Carbon Tax and Shift,” written by the Northwest Economic Research Center at Portland State University and released in March 2013, set in motion a debate about whether the state should institute a mechanism for putting a price on carbon emissions.

Last year the legislature passed SB306, setting aside money for the research institute to redo the study with more geographic and industry specificity. The new research, released on December 8, 2014, lays the groundwork for lawmakers to consider a bill to create a carbon tax. If enacted, Oregon would be the first jurisdiction in the United States to have a statewide tax on carbon emissions.