Climate Action Plan
It is an honor to serve on the Select Committee on the Climate Crisis. After more than a year of hearings, meetings, and briefings, we now present our report: “Solving the Climate Crisis: The Congressional Action Plan for a Clean Energy Economy and a Healthy, Resilient, and Just America.”
Our committee was charged with crafting a bold, science-based, comprehensive climate action plan to address the climate crisis and reach net-zero emissions no later than mid-century and net-negative thereafter. We included a focus on the needs of frontline communities, opportunities to accelerate our transition to a 100 percent clean energy economy, and ways to create good-paying jobs. There was an outpouring of input from thousands of community members and leaders from Oregon and around the country. This work is a roadmap, and now is the time for action. I will keep working with my colleagues to enact these policies; the future of our planet depends on it.
Addressing the Scale of the Crisis
As we know too well in Northwest Oregon, climate change is already our reality. The science is clear and alarming, and we must act immediately. According to an independent analysis and modeling, implementing this Climate Action Plan would:
- Reduce net overall U.S. greenhouse gas emissions by 37% below 2010 levels in 2030, and 88% below 2010 levels in 2050;
- Provide nearly $8 trillion in cumulative climate and health benefits through 2050; and
- Avoid 62,000 premature deaths annually by 2050.
Economic, environmental, and racial justice are intertwined, and equity is at the core of our Climate Action Plan. Addressing the climate crisis will create millions of good-paying, high-quality jobs that can help working families and displaced workers recover from the economic collapse caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Low-income communities, communities of color, and Tribal and Indigenous communities have not only been hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic; they have also been disproportionately affected by the climate crisis. Building a resilient, clean economy using this climate action framework will boost our economic recovery and allow us to begin to repair the legacy of environmental racism and pollution that has burdened low-income communities and communities of color for decades.
Climate Action Now
The climate crisis demands immediate action. As we worked to develop the comprehensive Climate Action Plan, I continued to move forward legislation and concrete steps to address the climate crisis. Here are some of my climate actions this Congress:
- Passed my bipartisan COAST Research Act to respond to the effects of climate change on our oceans and estuaries by expanding scientific research and monitoring of ocean and coastal acidification.
- Introduced my bipartisan Blue Carbon for Our Planet Act to strengthen research on the powerful ability of healthy coastal ecosystems, like tidal marshes, seagrasses, and kelp forests, to sequester carbon and support the conservation and restoration of blue carbon ecosystems.
- Championed legislation to support research about and development of marine energy so we can better harness renewable energy from waves, tides, and currents to power our homes, buildings, and communities.
- Introduced the Regional Clean Energy Innovation Act to create regional partnerships of governments, academia, businesses, and clean energy stakeholders to boost clean energy innovation, accelerate our transition to 100 percent clean energy, and create good-paying jobs.
- Led the bipartisan BUILDS Act to make meaningful investments in apprenticeships and paid, on-the-job training programs in the transportation, infrastructure, and energy sectors.
- Helped the House pass a ban on offshore drilling and the repeal of the section of the 2017 tax bill that allowed oil and gas development in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.
- Fought back against the manipulation and suppression of science by introducing the Stop Climate Censorship Act.
- Presided over the House floor during passage of the Climate Action Now Act, which would keep the U.S in the Paris Agreement and develop a plan to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 2025.
- Joined international leaders for the COP25 in Madrid to show the world that the United States is still committed to climate action.
As Co-Chair of the House Oceans Caucus and Congressional Estuary Caucus, I know that the health of our ocean reflects the health of our planet. For far too long the ocean has taken the brunt of our inaction to address the climate crisis. Investing in the restoration and resilience of our ocean and coastal ecosystems will jumpstart the economy and help capture the power of our ocean to mitigate the climate crisis. Check out these articles and videos to learn more about my work to advance ocean-centric climate solutions:
The Climate Action Plan incorporates many of my bills, including:
- H.R. 1237, COAST Research Act
- H.R. 5589, Blue Carbon for Our Planet Act
- H.R. 3548, BLUE GLOBE Act
- H.R. 3969, SOS 2.0 Act
- H.R. 7237, Regional Clean Energy Innovation Act
- H.R. 989, PARTNERS Act
- H.R. 6084, Water Power Research and Development Act
- H.R. 3308, Building STEAM Education Act
- H.R. 4417, the Harmful Algal Bloom and Hypoxia Research and Control Amendments Act (115th Congress)
- H.R. 988, NEAR Act
- H.R. 1921, Ocean Acidification Innovation Act
- H.R. 1716, Coastal Communities Ocean Acidification Act
- H.R. 1314, ICOOS Act
- H.R. 5355, Stop Climate Censorship Act
- H.R. 3203, Marine Energy Research and Development Act
- H.R. 2831, BUILDS Act
- H.R. 5607, School Food Recovery Act
How We Developed the Climate Action Plan
The process to develop our comprehensive climate action plan was robust. The Select Committee held 17 official hearings and six member-level round table discussions on a broad range of topics:
- Solving the Climate Crisis: Drawing Down Carbon and Building Up the American Economy
- Roundtable with Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti
- Creating a Climate Resilient America
- Solving the Climate Crisis: Ramping Up Renewables
- Roundtable on Electricity Transmission Infrastructure
- Roundtable on Electricity Market Design
- Solving the Climate Crisis: Cleaning Up Heavy Duty Vehicles, Protecting Communities
- Creating a Climate Resilient America: Business Views on the Costs of the Climate Crisis
- Solving the Climate Crisis: Manufacturing Jobs for America’s Workers
- Voices Leading the Next Generation on the Global Climate Crisis (Joint Hearing with House Committee on Foreign Affairs)
- Roundtable on Nuclear Power
- Solving the Climate Crisis: Reducing Industrial Emissions Through U.S. Innovation
- Solving the Climate Crisis: Cleaner, Stronger Buildings
- Solving the Climate Crisis: Natural Solutions to Cutting Pollution and Building Resilience
- Solving the Climate Crisis: Opportunities in Agriculture
- Creating a Climate Resilient America: Reducing Risks and Costs
- Creating a Climate Resilient America: Smart Finance for Strong Communities
- Creating a Climate Resilient America: Overcoming the Health Risks of the Climate Crisis
- Discussion with the National Congress of American Indians
- Between February 2020 and the release of this report, the Select Committee met with and heard from experts to discuss the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and economic slowdown on clean energy, climate resilience, and public health.
The Select Committee also requested information from experts and the public, receiving more than 700 substantive responses from stakeholders across the country.
I am deeply grateful to these stakeholders in the Pacific Northwest for sharing your expertise and knowledge with the Select Committee: Affiliated Tribes of Northwest Indians, BlueGreen Alliance, City of Portland, Climate Solutions, Citizens' Climate Lobby, Coastal Universities Coalition, Consortium for Ocean Leadership, Confederated Tribes of Siletz Indians, CREST, CRITFC, Ecotrust, IOOS Association, Lower Columbia Estuary Partnership, Mayor Lucy Vinis of Eugene, Nuscale, NANOOS, NERRA, Oregon Association of Nurseries, Oregon Institute of Technology, Oregon Renewable Energy Center, Oregon Sea Grant, Dr. Jack Barth, Oregon State University, Dr. Timothy Cowles, Oregon State University, Oregon Wild, Oregon Winegrowers Association, Organic Materials Review Institute, Our Children's Trust, The PEW Charitable Trusts, Portland General Electric Company, Public Power Council, REI Co-op, Renewable Northwest, Restore America's Estuaries, Shellfish Growers Climate Coalition, State of Oregon, Strid Energy Report, The Nature Conservancy, Professor Greg Dotson and instructor Deb Mailander at the University of Oregon School of Law and students: Grace Brahler, Mari Galloway, Conor Harrington, Tom Housel, Whit Koch, Jake Miller, Catherine Pratt, Alexandria Roullier, Renee Seacor, and Sierra Waechter, University of Oregon: Sustainable Cities Institute, WildEarth Guardians, XPRIZE Foundation, and Zero Energy Ready Oregon.
This comprehensive Climate Action Plan is a roadmap for Congress. In the coming months I will continue to work with my colleagues to advance the legislation and recommendations. I also look forward to discussing the Climate Action Plan in depth with Oregonians and hearing your feedback. I will be convening roundtable discussions with stakeholders and planning a climate action tour to the places and people in Northwest Oregon who are leading the way on protecting our planet, creating good-paying jobs, supporting a just transition, and building more resilient communities.
You can follow along on social media using #OregonClimateAction.
- On July 8th, I kicked off my Oregon Climate Action tour with a webinar. I was joined by Don Sampson from the Affiliated Tribes of Northwest Indians, Evelyn Shapiro from the Pacific Northwest Regional Council of Carpenters, and George Waldbusser from Oregon State University to discuss the urgent need for climate action. You can find a recording here. You can find the slides for the event here.
- On July 9th, the Ocean Defense Initiative, the National Ocean Protection Coalition, Ocean Conservancy, and the Center for American Progress held a webinar on Ocean Climate Action. I joined Rep. Jared Huffman, Dr. Jane Lubchenco, Dr. Ayana Elizabeth Johnson, and Dr. Sarah Cooley to discuss the ocean recommendations in our Climate Action Plan. You can find a recording of the event here.
- On July 17th, I joined Environment Oregon for their Lunch with Lawmakers webinar to provide an overview of the Climate Action Plan and answer questions.
- On July 22nd, I hosted a Transportation and Climate Roundtable discussion with transportation leaders in Northwest Oregon. I was joined by Tom Mills from TriMet, Vee Paykar from Climate Solutions, Sara Wright from Oregon Environmental Council, Amanda Pietz from the Oregon Department of Transportation, Shanna Brownstein from Portland General Electric, Jeanette Shaw from Forth, Kyle Diesner from the City of Portland Bureau of Planning and Sustainability, Kristen Leonard from the Port of Portland, Marc Schlossberg from the Sustainable Cities Institute at the University of Oregon, Ben Nelson from Oregon and Southern Idaho District Council of Laborers, and Kelly Kupcak from Oregon Tradeswomen Inc. Learn more about our transportation recommendations here.
- On July 29th, I hosted a Labor and Climate Roundtable discussion with labor and workforce leaders in Northwest Oregon. I was joined by Willy Myers from Columbia Pacific Building Trades, Ranfis Villatoro from BlueGreen Alliance Oregon, Reyna Lopez from PCUN, Tomas Bartolo from PCUN, Bobby Hamilton from Constructing Hope, Evelyn Shapiro from Pacific Northwest Regional Council of Carpenters, Aaron Barber-Strong from IBEW Local 48, Twila Jacobson from SEIU Local 503, Ben Nelson from Oregon and Southern Idaho District Council of Laborers, Russ Benton from Sheet Metal Workers Local 16, and Wayne Chow from Oregon State Building Trades. Learn more about our labor recommendations here.
- On August 4th, I hosted a Natural Climate Solutions Roundtable discussion with scientists and experts on ocean, estuary, and forestry issues. I was joined by Jaime Pinkham from the Columbia River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission, Sara LaBorde from the Wild Salmon Center, Francis Chan from Oregon State University College of Science, Caren Braby from the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, Laura Brophy from the Institute for Applied Ecology, Catherine Corbett from the Lower Columbia Estuary Partnership, Bri Goodwin from Surfrider Foundation, Tom DeLuca from Oregon State University College of Forestry, Brent Davies from EcoTrust, and Marlies Wierenga from WildEarth Guardians. Learn more about our natural solutions recommendations here.
- On August 11th, I hosted an Environmental Justice Roundtable discussion with Kathleen George from the Confederated Tribes of the Grand Ronde, Don Sampson from the Affiliated Tribes of Northwest Indians, Jaime Pinkham from the Columbia River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission, Vivek Shandas from Portland State University, Bridget Cooke from Adelante Mujeres, Tony DeFalco from Verde, Taren Evans from the Coalition of Communities of Color, Simeon Jacob from the Asian Pacific American Network of Oregon, Cassie Cohen from the Portland Harbor Community Coalition, and Lyn Jacobs from Virginia Garcia Memorial Health Center. Learn more about our recommendations to support a just transition for frontline communities here.
- On September 1st, I hosted a Climate Science and Resilience Roundtable discussion with scientists and resilience experts in the Pacific Northwest. I was joined by Jan Newton from the Northwest Association of Networked Ocean Observing Systems, Jaime Pinkham from the Columbia River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission, Denise Lofman from the Columbia River Estuary Study Taskforce, Bob Cowen from the Hatfield Marine Science Center, Jack Barth from Oregon State University, Shelby Walker from Oregon Sea Grant, Peter Ruggiero from Oregon State University, Dan Cox from Oregon State University, Elaine Placido from the Lower Columbia Estuary Partnership, Charlie Plybon from Surfrider Foundation, and Christine Shirley from the Oregon Department of Land Conservation and Development. Learn more about our recommendations on resilience, adaptation, and climate science here.
- On September 23rd, I joined Ocean Conservancy and the International Alliance to Combat Ocean Acidification for a virtual event during Climate Week NYC on ocean climate action. You can find a recording of the event here.
- On October 13th, I joined the Affiliated Tribes of Northwest Indians and the National Congress of American Indians for the National Tribal Leadership Climate Change Summit. I’m grateful for their leadership and engagement to conduct a Tribal Review of our Climate Action Plan.
More on Climate Action Plan
When she introduced the bill earlier this year, Rep. Suzanne Bonamici (D-Ore.) said oceans and estuaries have grown more acidic in recent years as they absorb more carbon dioxide, hurting fisheries and threatening coastal communities and ecosystems. "Scientists predict these events will become more severe and more common on the Pacific Coast, but my 'COAST Research Act' will expand the scientific research and monitoring to help communities adapt and mitigate the worst effects," said Bonamici, the co-chair of the House Oceans Caucus and Congressional Estuary Caucus.
"Every person on this planet benefits from a healthy ocean," Rep. Suzanne Bonamici (D-Ore.), the bill's sponsor, said in a speech on the House floor Monday afternoon. Bonamici, the co-chairwoman of the House Oceans Caucus and the Congressional Estuary Caucus, said oceans and estuaries have grown more acidic as they absorb more carbon dioxide, threatening fisheries and coastal communities alike. But she said more federal research is needed because "our understanding of the long-term consequences of ocean acidification is still limited."