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Notes on the Joint Interim Committee On Carbon Reduction** meeting of 1:00 PM

Note: Square brackets [eda mean the note taker’s opinion is being exerted.]

Note: This is a lot of audio to decipher, and I did not try to be literal. Just to capture how I interpreted it. Anyone who is sure I got it wrong is welcome to tell me.

In Q&A sessions, someone with better hearing might pick up who was questioner.

Notes by Ed Averill notated eda.

Questions and Follow-Up Discussion of Carbon Reduction Policy Options for Oregon
Dallas Burtraw, Darius Gaskins Senior Fellow, Resources for the Future (via telephone from Sweden)(No Slides)

  • What are economic costs or benefits of Cap and Trade?
    Long meandering that basically says lots of studies come up with different answers.
  • Cap and Trade attempts to find “sweet spot” by allowing market tradeoffs between different methods of achieving carbon reduction.
  • Cap and Trade does establish a “Cost of Carbon” because the allowance trading is done in units of CO2e and dollars.
  • Reminder that choice of free allowances are used to encourage industries to stay in state where they might choose to leave to avoid the cost of carbon assessment. This departure of industries is referred to as “leakage” (of states gross domestic product (GDP)).
  • It is not clear that the process actually makes a global carbon difference of consequence.
  • Trading has significant costs for managing the market. Is marginal efficiency and clear “Cost of Carbon” worth the price? [eda Having a way of causing climate justice funds to be obtained has value. Need separately to address ability to manage Decarbonation Cap. ]
  • What are benefits? Coordination between group of states. Mutual encouragement / leadership. Expectation that the states in the “market” will increase because we show confidence in it.
  • Allows funding of drawdown/sequestration. [eda: Note that the scale of such projects are probably only large enough to be treated as experiments. The big needed drawdown would need to be separately planned as a big project. [ Link to info from Dr. James Hanson proposals.]
  • Note that since it WOULD allow funding of these trials, it might actually allow farmers that WANT to experiment with carbon farming to afford to make the effort.
  • He notes that trading can go wild, and someone should be watching for that so as to suspend trading if the market goes wild. That HAS HAPPENED in current markets. But, seemingly was able to recover through management intervention.
  • Gives an example of a company that felt that the Cap and Trade premise caused the analysis of tradeoffs that allowed the company to figure out how to be so much more energy efficient that it “saved the company”.
  • Q: Is there possibility of manipulation of the market?
    A: Reasonable question. Hacking like voting machines was believed to have happened once, but quickly repaired. Can the market be “cornered”? Not clear.

Status Report from the Carbon Policy Office (About 33:00 in) (No Slides)
Kristen Sheeran, Energy and Climate Change Policy Advisor to Governor Kate Brown; Director, Carbon Policy Office

  • Governor requested legislation that allowed her to establish Carbon Policy Advisory Committee.
  • Has been formed, is made up of following. Duncan Agnes of Global Warming Commission attends. Long list of stakeholders have attended – isn’t clear to me if they all attend all meetings, or are invited to meetings where they have an interest. Kristen Sheeran listed many of those at Global Warming Commission meeting.

Kristen Sheeran, Energy and Climate Change Policy Advisor to Governor Kate Brown; Director Carbon Policy Office


Greg Alderson, Deputy Direcor of Carbon Policy


Colin McConnaha, Carbon Policy Manager


Emily Roemeling , Executive Assistant to Kristen Sheeran


  • Purpose: To gather stakeholder input and try to produce input on legislative policy such as CEJ.
  • Look at where allowances should fit in the lifecycle of each industry/product type.
  • Worry about dealing with “Leakages” i.e. scaring industry out of the state.
  • What is role of our “landscape” in addressing drawdown?
  • Seems to have brought up what the heck it would mean to use biofuel methane.
  • When lots of pieces understood go back and look at macro-economics.
  • How might this “market” grow to maybe even as large as multinational? (even beyond US and Canada)
  • Water Board
  • Dept of Forestry…
  • Wants Department of Forestry to do “comprehensive carbon analysis” (Note controversy on this topic.)
  • Lots of other bullets I am missing.

  • Q: is intent to avoid leakage? A: Yes
  • Q: what is role of forest?
    A: critical role, but not yet understood. [eda See forestry controversy TBD link]
  • Q: happy to know intent to work on sequestration and are already partnering with federal forests…..
    Q: can’t offsets be poorly defined? And what rules will apply to sequestration to deal with that?
    A: Still unsure where there should be offsets vs. separately managed programs. Offsets have risks: may not really be verifiable – how to detect and manage? Need good certification / compliance process. Q:What about offsets in same smokestack as other pollutants?
    A: Not clear how to manage such tradeoffs. Need rules.

    California’s big refineries present the example of opportunity for carbon management in the presence of failure to manage other pollutants.
  • Q: The goals established in 2007 – has anyone revalidated those goals?
    A: Not hit 2 degrees rise before 2100. But, conditions are changed! So, need to hit “safe emission rate” by 2050. She believes that to be best available science.
    [I think there’s significant disagreement on that.
    And, in our testimony to 5/22/18 meeting addressed 2 degree budgets.]
  • [Note that nobody is recognizing the power of being early to the new green energy world in which there are near-zero “fuel” costs. No speculation of advantage of having over-capacity to handle new and shifting processes that can take advantage of “near-free” energy. Remember when (years ago) our “near-free” (hydro) energy brought us aluminum smelters? ]
  • Q: The real issue is [he doesn’t say Decarbonization, but that’s what he means]. So, isn’t Cap and Trade a distraction? Shouldn’t we concentrate on getting Decarbonization done quickly and efficiently?
    A: The problem statement is to meet adjusted 2007 goals that we have been missing and are adjusting to be stiffer.
  • Q: How do we meet those targets at “least cost”?
    [eda I disagree that it is just a matter of tuning Cap and Invest. Real caps on emissions will need enforcement. Bring them in after 2 years, if not before.]
  • Q: Isn’t there a broader question of how we participate in saving the planet, and therefore isn’t a definition of adjustments within an already-assumed Cap-And-Trade model pretty narrow?
    A: ….
  • Q: Have you been aware of anyone questioning the basic premise of these targets and getting there with Cap-And-Trade?
    A: I am not aware of any such questioning at any level other than wondering about details.
    [ Suggest this link.]
  • Q: Not clear in audio
    A: Literature exists on costs and benefits of Cap-And-Trade is seen as mildly beneficial to economy, at least not damaging. Studies mentioned at 1:11:00 of tape. She doesn’t really address things like cost of no effort vs. various targets.
  • Q: What level of confidence do you have we can find the right sweet spot to do best tradeoff.
    A: Confident we are headed in direction that has wide consensus, though you could always argue about each locality’s sweet spots.
  • Q: could not hear
  • Q: Since you are going to be the chief author of “this bill”, will the minority party get an opportunity to contribute to the bill’s definition?
    A: My role is to gather information to support this committee to write the bill, not me.
    <Peter Courtney> A: This committee as a whole will write the bill, and attempt to do it by consensus.
    <Tina Kotek> A: I concur with Peter’s position. I want to make sure we hear all points of view and use them to craft best result.
    <Peter Courtney> A: We want to use best input from committee and the Governor’s team.
  • Q: Want people to worry about/be warned about the fact that it is possible that most of the income from this bill is likely to be transportation money, so opportunity to subsidize other things may not be there. [eda That is a real tradeoff, but would be a shame.]
  • Q: How do we prevent this program from having unbearable costs to typical citizens. Since they are expected to make technology and efficiency improvements to achieve results? A: There is some info, but we need more.
    [eda Note that with the cost of electricity headed to near zero, and electricity being the new gasoline, there is much opportunity for the average citizen to see huge benefits. There are issues of cost of switching and investing in efficiency improvements. That can be considered more of a financing problem to solve cash flow, since over time there will be great payoff. And that payoff isn’t even including the idea that if we get there fast enough tremendous ecological damage avoided.]
  • Q: But we’re only 0.1% of global emissions – do we count?
    [ A: It will take over 100 countries to each do their job, and that includes the USA. We are one piece of the USA team and need to be a team player – maybe even a team leader!]
  • Q: Since cap-and-trade has failed to have much climate benefit for others, how do we make sure we actually enforce result?
    [A: Really good question. Answerable, but not yet answered.]
  • Q: If Oregon isn’t going to have terrible climate change, isn’t it frustrating for us to have to buy the EVs and upgrade our houses, etc. to save THEM? [A: If the oceans fail, if the forests fail, we are toast. Even if the temperature isn’t so far off. Oceans are on tender hooks. Major forests are predicted to fail if we hit 2.5 degree rise.
    (See slide12 of submission to 6/26/18 meeting) 2.5 degree rise might be enough to kick off methane release in Arctic. That should scare the heck out of us.]
  • <Peter Courtney> Good statement about tiny Oregon could be written off by us or others, but that would not be an attitude to take pride in. He sees that the green economy can be great, and it’s getting there that is the issue. The target is wonderful.
  • Discussion about actually considering alternatives such as being more aggressive about decarbonization, and exploring the cost/benefit tradeoffs…
  • There was talk about how that should translate into homework.
  • End topic at 1:43:20

Forest Carbon Sequestration
Peter Daugherty, State Forester, Oregon Department of Forestry

  • Missing microphone for some seconds. Starts at 1:44:30 or so.

Audio File for whole meeting:

esf_comments_on_2nd_meeting_of_joint_interim_committee_on_carbon_reduction.txt · Last modified: 2018/06/30 20:45 (external edit)