On Thursday, June 1st, the Portland City Council and Multnomah County Commissioners both unanimously voted "yes" to commit Portland and Multnomah County to powering community-wide energy needs with renewable energy by the year 2050. The votes come as a huge local success, tragically coinciding with President Trump's announcement of pulling the United States out of the Paris Accord for action on climate change. Portland and Multnomah County's resolutions make a bold commitment--including implementation of renewable electricity by 2035, electrification of transit busses, and a focus on investing gains along the way into marginalized communities who are most affected by the adverse health effects of climate change but who bear the least responsibility for its causes.
Regna Merritt, Healthy Climate Director for Oregon Physicians for Social Responsibility, said:
Climate change is already harming our health. It contributes to heat stroke, dangerous extreme weather, the spread of insect-borne and water-borne diseases and sea level rise. Low income and communities of color are most harmed by the changes for which they are least responsible. Elected leaders of Multnomah County and the City of Portland are once again world leaders in facing the greatest public health challenge - and opportunity - of our times.
Pete Danko of the Portland Business Journal covered the votes, which you can read here.
Oregon Physicians for Social Responsibility would like to thank all of the hardworking community members who helped get these resolutions off the ground. Oregon PSR is particularly thrilled with amendments passed that address the use of biomass (energy from burning forests) and the explicit exclusion of nuclear power and incineration of medical and municipal waste from definitions of renewable energy.