Portland has been a climate action leader since the publication of the Global Warming Reduction Strategy in 1993. That was followed by a joint City/County Local Action Plan on Global Warming in 2001. Then came the 2009 Climate Action Plan and an update with the 2015 Climate Action Plan.
Meanwhile cities and countries all over the world took up the clarion call for policies, programs, initiatives, and funds to address the existential threat of our time: climate change.
That threat is so great and climate action so urgent, that the City of Portland declared a Climate Emergency in June of 2020:
The following year, the City reported on our progress implementing the Climate Emergency Declaration, which included:
- Launching the Climate Justice by Design community process.
- Adopting an internal cost of carbon for City operations.
- Supporting a youth-led summit on climate justice.
- Improving transit accessibility and affordability.
But the Climate Emergency Declaration makes clear that more actions and resources are necessary for the City to fully implement this work, and the next several years are critical if we are to meet Portland’s climate goals.
The City must make some big moves, including eliminating carbon from existing buildings, updating the renewable fuels standard, supporting electrification in the transportation sector, and exploring policies to reduce embodied carbon in new buildings. These are some of the biggest and highest impact moves cities can make to contribute to carbon reduction.
In July of 2022, the Bureau of Planning and Sustainability and its partners released a new Climate Emergency Workplan to get us to net zero by 2050. The workplan describes the actions the City of Portland and its partners can and must take to eliminate carbon emissions by 2050 to make Portland more resilient. It is based on a legacy of climate leadership, fueled by a rapidly warming planet, and centered on our most vulnerable and at-risk community members.