Oregonians Address Climate Change In Paris

Two prominent Oregonians were in France Friday for the United Nations conference on climate change.

Portland Mayor Charlie Hales spoke at a panel entitled “Financing City Action.”

Hales said action on climate change happens slowly on the national level, but can be much faster locally. He gave the example of Portland’s recent fossil fuel resolution, which opposed new fossil fuel infrastructure in the city.

“We have taken action to say that there will be no coal terminals, or natural gas terminals, or oil terminals in our city beyond what is there now to serve present needs,” Hales said. 

“If we are to strand most carbon in the ground, we don’t need to expand the infrastructure for its movement.”

Portland is a finalist for a ‘Carbon Measurement and Planning’ award at the summit. Other finalists are Seoul, South Korea, and Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.

Oregon Democratic Sen. Jeff Merkley was also in Paris. He said climate change is a global problem that requires a global solution.

“An international climate accord in Paris would be a tremendous step forward on the path toward averting climate catastrophe,” Merkley said in a press release, “and I look forward to working toward that goal with my counterparts from other nations.”

Staffers for Merkley said he and a delegation of senators from across the country will meet with negotiators, foreign leaders and other lawmakers to discuss climate change.