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Representative David Brock Smith, Co-Vice Chair of the Joint Committee on Carbon Reduction, issued an Op Ed letter on 2/14/2019 ( saying, “HB 2020 will devastate Oregon families, their communities and the businesses that support them.”

In the letter he states, “…the question is, what do Oregonians do to further reduce their carbon emissions and at what cost to them?”, and says, “HB 2020 is not the answer.” He then argues that Oregonians contribute only 0.14% of carbon emissions and quotes the Director of the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality, who described Oregon's portion of emissions as “minuscule”. He also quotes the Director of the Oregon Climate Change Research Institute, who said the impact on the global climate, if Oregon were to reduce their emissions to zero, would be “Imperceptible.”

He goes on to say, “Concerns plague HB 2020, from farm to families to transportation. One example is the estimated $.15 cent a gallon gas tax increase; although the bill does not call it out as a tax, that is estimated to generate over $330 million dollars a year.” He calls this a “massive tax”.

Since I do not remember how much carbon humans emit each year or how much Oregonians emit each year, I did a Google search for the populations of Oregon (4.143 million in 2017) and the world (7.53 billion in 2017). Using these figures I calculated that Oregonians represented 0.055% of the world's population in 2017. Therefore, assuming Representative Brock's statement that Oregonians emit 0.14% of the world's carbon is correct, this number allows us to calculate that Oregonians emit over 2.5 times as much carbon as the rest of the world per capita. Yet Representative Brock said nothing in his Op Ed about Oregonians emitting vastly more carbon per capita than the rest of the world.

Neither did he say anything about the massive cost to Oregonians that scientists have predicted will occur, due to global warming, without drastic and immediate reductions in emissions. A study in Nature published on May 23, 2018 ( reported that if the global temperature rises only 0.5 degrees C above the Paris Accord target of 1.5 degrees C (to 2.0 degrees C), it would cost the world an extra $20 trillion dollars in GDP by the end of this century. Currently the world is on a path that would lead to an increase of 4 degrees C or more.

In 2016 the GDP of Oregon was $158 billion dollars. In 2017 the world's GDP was about $75 trillion dollars. A $20 trillion dollar loss in world GDP by 2100 would be about 27% of the world's 2017 GDP. A 27% loss of the 2016 GDP in Oregon by 2100 would be a loss of about $11.25 billion dollars. That would be the extra loss in Oregon GDP by 2100 as a result of going from a 1.5 degree C temperature rise to a 2.0 degree C temperature rise, not the total. Neither does it say anything about the number of lives that would be lost, etc.

A study by the Climate Impact Lab published August 1, 2018 ( states, “by the year 2099, even with economic growth and adaptation, 1.5 million more people will die each year around the world because of increased heat. By comparison, 1.25 million people died in 2013 in all traffic accidents world-wide.” How much are 1.5 million lives lost per year due to increased heat worth?

Alan Smith

egp_agrees_with_alan_smith.txt · Last modified: 2019/03/18 14:54 by admin