Will Oregon regulate carbon emissions?

By Tracy Loew, The Statesman Journal.

The Oregon Legislature is again considering regulating carbon emissions, possibly in the form of a cap-and-trade system that would link to those already in place in California and Quebec.

The House and Senate environment committees kicked off the first of several joint hearings on the topic Monday with an overview of climate change and of carbon pricing options.

“Climate change is here. It’s going to impact us no matter what happens,” Kathie Dello, associate director of the Oregon Climate Change Research Institute, told lawmakers.

Oregon has been working to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions for a decade. A new report shows the state won’t meet its 2020 goal.

Earlier this month, the state Department of Environmental Quality completed a report on the impacts of a cap-and-trade program in Oregon.

The program would put a collective cap on greenhouse gas emissions statewide, then auction off allowances to emit those gases.

Businesses could sell or trade allowances, but eventually might find it cheaper to invest in carbon reduction technology.

Unlike a carbon tax or fee, a cap-and-trade program would allow Oregon to control how emissions are reduced, Palmer Mason, DEQ senior legislative advisor, told the committees.