08-16-2022  2:50 am   •   PDX and SEA Weather
By The Skanner News | The Skanner News
Published: 07 November 2021

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Congressman Earl Blumenauer, D-OR, will be in Glasgow, Scotland this week to attend, COP26, the 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference.

“Our success in Glasgow won’t come from voluntary pledges and vows. We need to unite behind concrete steps to help us avoid the worst of climate change’s consequences,” said Blumenauer.

“I’m going to COP26 to learn about and contribute to some of those key legislative solutions, on everything from deforestation to climate disaster mitigation. This is the decade of decision, and the time is overdue for climate action. We can’t wait.”

A bipartisan U.S. congressional delegation that also includes Oregon Sen. Jeff Merkley, has been attending the climate summit. Lawmakers in the delegation said growing numbers of Republicans in Congress want to work to slow climate change, although the Republican and Democrats often have different ideas on the tactics, including on the role of government regulations.

Since the 2018 mid-term election in which Democrats won seats on climate issues, most Republican lawmakers have stopped publicly challenging the science establishing that the burning of coal and petroleum is the primary cause of global warming.

merkeley cop26

US Senators, Kirsten Gillibrand, Debbie Stabenow, Tammy Baldwin, Jeff Merkley and John Curtis, from left, hold a meeting at the COP26 U.N. Climate Summit in Glasgow, Scotland, Saturday, Nov. 6, 2021. The U.N. climate summit in Glasgow gathers leaders from around the world, in Scotland's biggest city, to lay out their vision for addressing the common challenge of global warming. (AP Photo/Alastair Grant)

Blumenauer leads on climate legislation

As a member of Congress, and as chair of the Ways and Means Subcommittee on Trade, Blumenauer has traveled around the globe promoting greater cooperation and action to solve the climate crisis through international diplomacy and trade.

Blumenauer’s travels follow a year in which he authored several provisions and pieces of climate legislation that are advancingthrough Congress:

  • Ending a decades-long tax holiday, by reinstating the “polluter pays” superfund tax on crude oil and petroleum and certain chemicals
  • Extending renewable energy incentives for wind and solar projects for 10 years to help meet President Biden’s goal of a carbon-free energy sector by 2035
  • Reestablishing a tax benefit for bike commuters and creating a tax incentive toward the purchase of an electric bicycle to decarbonize our transportation system, which contributes the largest share of greenhouse gas emissions of any sector
  • Establishing a Safe Streets and Roads for All grant program to fund vision zero projects; and Implementing historic increases of federal funds for biking and walking, and new provisions allowing federal funds to be spent on bikesharing and shared scooter systems, reversing the decades-long federal preference for automobiles. 

Oregon wildfires spur new agenda

Among the issues being haggled over at the talks that include almost 200 countries are a fresh commitment to the goal of capping global warming at 1.5 degrees Celsius, getting countries to review their efforts more frequently, and financial support for poor nations.

Following the conference, Blumenauer will unveil his report and legislative agenda to address the recent onslaught of climate disasters, including the increasingly intense wildfires and heat waves that have leveled entire towns and killed hundreds of Oregonians in recent years.

Blumenauer is also proposing a law on climate and trade, through his Fostering Overseas Rule of Law and Environmentally Sound Trade (FOREST) Act, that would help the United States tackle deforestation, by ending illegal deforestation related to commodities like palm oil, soy, pulp and paper and cattle. President Biden has pledged to work to end deforestation, which drives global warming because trees remove carbon from the atmosphere.

The legislation is built on the success of the 2008 amendments to the Lacey Act, which Blumenauer authored to ban the trade of illegally harvested timber and wood products into the United States.

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For more information about Blumenauer’s upcoming climate priorities,click here.

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