Global solutions from Oregon

CONNECTING THE pARIS aGREEMENT (and COP26!) TO sOUTHERN oREGON

Addressing Climate Change is a global effort, and you can get involved in the process from right where you are in Oregon. And as of today, February 21, 2021, the United States is back in the Paris Agreement with American scientists, policy makers, businesses and diplomats once again contributing to the work of the United Nations on climate. UNFCCC stands for United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.

This video is a recording of Paris Agreement 101 presented by Oregon State University and the Southwestern Oregon Chapter of The Climate Reality project with presenters (scroll down for bios) Zac Pinard, Grace Doleshel and Frank Granshaw, with thanks to Gregg Walker. As you watch, you will hear an alphabet soup of terms. UNFCCC? COP26? YOUNGO? RINGO? Don’t let it throw you off. Scroll down for links and terms.

Some terms

  • UNFCCC = United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, pronounced ‘U-N-F-triple C,’ the UN effort on Climate Change.
  • COP = Conference of the Parties (Everyone gets together, this year in Glasgow for COP26, meets, greets, and makes decisions.)
  • NGO = Non-governmental Organization (An organization often focused on an issue that is independent from government, like The Climate Reality Project or OXFAM.)
  • NDC = Nationally Determined Contribution or INDC, Intended Nationally Determined Contribution (What individual nations have said they will do or intend to do.)
  • SBI = Subsidiary Body for Implementation (A group within the UNFCCC that keeps an eye on Greenhouse Gas Emissions, mitigations and other things climate with the goal of supporting national efforts to meet climate goals.)
  • SBSTA = Also SBs, Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technical Advice. (When you need an expert to help you with implementation and policy, these guys are also within the UNFCCC.)
  • ACE = Action for Climate Empowerment. (A group designed to encourage people from all walks of life and all nations to learn about climate change and efforts to address it.)
  • YOUNGO = Also called COY (Conference of Youth), a group of young people who have come together over social media to address climate within the UNFCCC effort. The ‘NGO‘ at the end is for Non-governmental Organizations.
  • RINGO / BINGO = You get the idea, there are a number of groups of those brought together by interests, expertise, and collegiality. YOUNGO as well as RINGO for researchers (Research and Independent Non-governmental Organizations), BINGO for Business and Industry Non-governmental Organizations.
  • Climate Bridge = an effort to allow interested parties, individuals and organizations to attend the COPs virtually.

A Climate Bridge in Oregon. Not everyone can–or should–travel to Glasgow for COP26. But the more folks who can participate in this global process to address climate change the better. Folks are needed from all and everywhere if we are going to tackle the challenge that is right-now all around us. Frank Granshaw has invested tremendous effort into development of a virtual bridge that last year linked Portland, Oregon, to COP25. This Prezi presentation walks you through the idea with links, a timeline, and information. If there is leadership and interest, we could organize a Virtual Bridge to COP26 right here in Southern Oregon.


Need another video? Get some latest policy hopes as you dig deeper with this video, released in honor of today–our first day back into the Paris Agreement!–by TEDCountdown, featuring Christiana Figueres, one of the architects of the Paris Agreement, Al Gore, Chairman of The Climate Reality Project, and John Kerry, the new US Special Envoy for Climate.

Find this video on TED

A Key Resource:

Be sure to order the 8th Edition.

Zac mentioned this book in his presentation, Global Environmental Politics, 8th Edition, by Pamela S. Chasek and David L. Downie. I ordered one! What I liked about the book is that it is packed with information yet organized in a way that I can actually navigate that information. It begins with an introduction as to how Global Environmental Politics started, and covers basics, timelines, stakeholders, research, wealth and energy management, developmental goals, and there is even a little rah-rah in there as people come together in teams to roll up their sleeves and get the work done. It is an academic introduction, and I appreciated that the book covers the changing scope of the effort. This work started with careful measurement of greenhouse gasses. It has grown into an awareness that climate is about environment and so it touches everything from food and water systems to economic systems to pollution to energy to human culture and every life on earth. A great recommendation.

One more resource invitation: Zac works for Climate XChange, a nonprofit focused on research, education and advocacy tools designed to move us toward a clean energy economy. Consider plugging into the State Climate Policy Network!  The SCPN is a nationwide network of professionals in the climate space, a great place to connect with important people and organizations. Send your email to zac@climate-xchange.org to join and receive newsletter updates!


Thank you to our organizers and presenters!

Zac Pinard grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area before moving to the Pacific Northwest for college. He graduated from Oregon State University in 2019 with a B.S. in Environmental Science, specializing in Environmental Economics and Policy. In 2020, he worked as a legislative assistant for the chair of the Oregon House Committee on Energy and the Environment. During that short session, he gained significant exposure to the political battle surrounding an economy-wide carbon pricing bill. He hopes he can take that experience forward to help implement robust carbon pricing mechanisms throughout the nation.


Grace Doleshel is a 19 year old environmental activist and student at Oregon State University pursuing a BS in Environmental Public Policy with a minor in Social Justice. She has worked in environmental advocacy and policy since age 14 and has policy experience at a local, state, national and international level, most recently she attended the COP 25 Climate Conference in Madrid, Spain.  Grace’s experience includes environmental education, policy, public speaking and writing.  She currently works as the Coordinator of Environmental Affairs for the Associated Students of Oregon State University.


Frank Granshaw is a retired geoscience educator, glacial geologist, and insufferably proud grandpa from Portland, Oregon. In addition to being actively involved  in climate education and advocacy through Portland State University, the Greater Portland Sustainability Education Network, Ecumenical Ministries of Oregon’s Creation Justice Program, American Geophysical Union, and the Oregon Science Network of the Union of Concerned Scientists, he has been an observer delegate to two UN Climate summits and is one of the founders of the PDX Climate Bridge.


Gregg B. Walker is Professor and Chair of the Department of Speech Communication, Adjunct Professor of Forest Resources, and Director of the Peace Studies program at Oregon State University in Corvallis. In addition, Professor Walker conducts training programs on collaborative decision making, designs collaborative public participation processes, facilitates collaborative learning community workshops, and researches community-level collaboration efforts. Gregg is also a co-author for Working through Environmental Conflict; The Collaborative Learning Approach.


We plan to do more webinars. Please check back for events, or add your name to the chapter mailing list by emailing us your name. Consider applying to a Leadership Corps training from The Climate Reality Project, and/or joining an Oregon Chapter.

The Paris Agreement 101

This event is over. View the recording and plenty of info and resources on our global solutions from Oregon post!

The Eiffel Tower in Paris France. The Paris Accords, an international agreement to keep earth’s temperature below 1.5 C was signed in 2015. We are not yet anywhere near meeting these goals.

“What goes on at Climate Change COPs?” Now that the U.S. has rejoined the Paris Climate Accords under President Biden, it is more important than ever to learn how the international debate on climate change is conducted and what the U.S. will be participating in going forward.  Join us February 10th at 4pm for a presentation and discussion about the Paris Agreement, COP26, and the work of the United Nations UNFCCC led by The Climate Reality Project SW Oregon Chapter’s two COP alums, Grace Doleshel and Zac Pinard.

This is an opportunity to learn the basics–COP, what? Paris, which?–then dig a little deeper, as well as learn how to get connected with the global effort from right here in beautiful Oregon.

This discussion and presentation offered in partnership with Oregon State University UNFCCC and student programs.

Want to get prepped and ready to go for the discussion? Read up on The Paris Agreement at The Climate Reality Project.

Our Presenters:

Zac Pinard grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area before moving to the Pacific Northwest for college. He graduated from Oregon State University in 2019 with a B.S. in Environmental Science, specializing in Environmental Economics and Policy. In 2020, he worked as a legislative assistant for the chair of the Oregon House Committee on Energy and the Environment. During that short session, he gained significant exposure to the political battle surrounding an economy-wide carbon pricing bill. He hopes he can take that experience forward to help implement robust carbon pricing mechanisms throughout the nation.


Grace is a 19 year old environmental activist and student at Oregon State University pursuing a BS in Environmental Public Policy with a minor in Social Justice. She has worked in environmental advocacy and policy since age 14 and has policy experience at a local, state, national and international level, most recently she attended the COP 25 Climate Conference in Madrid, Spain.  Grace’s experience includes environmental education, policy, public speaking and writing.  She currently works as the Coordinator of Environmental Affairs for the Associated Students of Oregon State University 


Frank Granshaw is a retired geoscience educator, glacial geologist, and insufferably proud grandpa from Portland, Oregon. In addition to being actively involved  in climate education and advocacy through Portland State University, the Greater Portland Sustainability Education Network, Ecumenical Ministries of Oregon’s Creation Justice Program, American Geophysical Union, and the Oregon Science Network of the Union of Concerned Scientists, he has been an observer delegate to two UN Climate summits and is one of the founders of the PDX Climate Bridge.


FAQ: The Oregon Climate Action Plan: What it is and What to do

By Mike Green

What is the Oregon Climate Action Plan?

The Oregon Climate Action Plan, or OCAP, is a comprehensive plan to dramatically reduce climate pollution and protect Oregon’s air and water by systematically increasing the adoption of clean, renewable approaches in transportation, businesses, and buildings. The long-term plan will not only reduce greenhouse gas emissions significantly but will also improve health, save money, and create jobs.

Alvord Desert, Oregon Photo by Elle Storset

What’s new about it?

This plan, authorized by Governor Kate Brown’s Executive Order 20-04 in March 2020, is the most comprehensive and aggressive approach in our state’s history to address the crisis of climate change. You can read the executive order here and follow updates from Governor Brown here.

How comprehensive is the plan?

OCAP is a broad and systematic approach to foster a clean economy, make fuels cleaner, and make buildings more energy-efficient. For example:

  • Clean Economy: OCAP requires corporate polluters to reduce pollution over time by strengthening the existing pollution-reduction targets and requiring large polluters, by law, to reduce emissions. Large polluters will be required to lower climate pollution levels 45% below 1990 levels by 2035, and at least 80% below 1990 levels by 2050.
  • Clean Fuels: OCAP extends the state’s successful four-year-old Clean Fuels Program, which creates jobs and lowers pollution from fuels by making cleaner options available. The program’s previous goal was to reduce pollution by 10% by 2025. The added goal, to reduce pollution 25% by 2035, is the most ambitious goal for clean fuels in the nation.
  • Clean Buildings: OCAP requires that new homes and buildings in Oregon be able, by 2030, to produce as much clean energy as they use and to maximize energy efficiency. By broadly applying technologies already in use today, homes and buildings will waste less energy with more efficient heating, cooling, and lighting.

The COVID pandemic and the large-scale movement for racial justice have put a spotlight on the many struggles of Oregonians. How does OCAP help disadvantage populations and communities?

The plan has an intense focus on communities of color and lower-income communities who are more likely to live and work closest to the major pollution sources and thus be harmed most by climate change. For example, OCAP requires state agencies to consult with impacted communities and the Environmental Justice Task Force on climate actions. The plan also prioritizes actions that help impacted communities adapt to climate change and calls for the creation of an interagency work group to address climate harms to impacted communities.

Is there any progress yet?

Yes. In May 2020, twelve state agencies submitted their plans to carry out the Governor’s Executive Order establishing the plan. Agencies with specific directives—ranging from the Department of Environment Quality to the state’s departments of Energy and Transportation—provided detailed plans to achieve major climate progress in Oregon. These include concrete plans for increasing transportation electrification, using cleaner fuels to replace petroleum, installing more infrastructure for clean energy generation and usage, building cleaner and more energy-efficient homes and commercial buildings, reducing food waste, reducing methane emissions from landfills, and mandating better land use planning. You can read the agencies’ detailed plans here

What comes next?

Much is yet to come from both state agencies and advocacy groups across Oregon. For example, by mid-September the Building Codes Division will outline options for achieving the 2030 energy efficiency goal over the next three cycles of updating the state building code. And many of the state’s administrative processes are making individual directives within the governor’s order a reality. In addition, advocacy groups within the Renew Oregon coalition have submitted letters to many agencies to inform their plans, and those groups are exploring how to coordinate their activities and collaborate with the OCAP goals in mind.

What can we do as Oregonians and as Climate Reality Project members to make OCAP successful—and accelerate its gains?

First, we should work to do everything we can as individuals to set an example and reduce our own emissions and overall carbon footprint, by following the advice of Oregon groups like reneworegon.org and international groups like The Climate Reality Project. Then we should require the companies we buy from to meet or exceed their requirements under OCAP—or do business with companies that do. And we should make sure we VOTE to elect or re-elect the officials who will lead with the integrity and urgency that the climate crisis demands. For more information see the Turn Out for Tomorrow initiative of the Climate Reality Project and follow our Oregon legislative activity here.  

Rulemaking 101: the power of the public voice and the rulemaking process in Oregon.

Rulemaking is an essential part of lawmaking. When the Oregon State Legislature passes a law, that is just the beginning. The law is basically a decree. A new law declares what lawmakers have decided to do, but it says very little about how everyone will need to do it. The how part is called the rulemaking process. It is also the part where the voice of the public is tremendously important.

The voices of Oregon citizens are essential to ensuring the rulemaking process. But because the rulemaking process can sometimes be complex, people who care about issues like climate change do not always know how to take part. To help with that, we put together a ‘Rulemaking 101’ video to help clarify the process.

This video is a conversation featuring Bill Bradbury, former Oregon Secretary of State, and Hogan Sherrow, founder and president of ROCPAC (Rural Oregon Climate Political Action Committee). Questions addressed include ‘what is a rule?’ Answers deal with the examples of recent climate laws, including the new Executive Order (the Oregon Climate Action Plan) passed by the Governor in March 2020.

Click the video as Bill Bradbury and Hogan Sherrow walk us through Rulemaking 101: the power of the public voice and the rulemaking process in Oregon.

We hope you enjoyed the video! To learn more, check out these articles : Rulemaking: The Basics. Check back for new posts, we will be posting also information about public comment periods, as well as the strength building in coalitions.

Thank you for visiting the Southwestern Oregon Chapter of The Climate Reality Project. Click to learn more about our chapter, and more about The Climate Reality Project. If you are interested in joining our chapter, email us and/or apply.

Rulemaking, the Basics

We know that human industry can be extremely destructive to the environment. And we also know that risks require rules. That’s where laws and public policy comes in. This article is a very basic rundown of what rulemaking is, and how rules become public policy. (To learn more about rulemaking in Oregon, see our post and video Rulemaking 101.)

Rules and Law-Making

Rulemaking is an essential part of the process of lawmaking.

Humans enact laws to address environmental problems such as air pollution, water contamination and climate change. A law can come from the legislature, or as an executive order. The passing of a law or the signing of an executive order is only the first step for a brand new law. The very next thing that needs to happen with a new law is to figure out how that new law will be put into effect.

A new law rarely includes specifics about how the law will be enacted. A new law is mostly a directive about what needs to be done in general. So, a law might decree that we ‘reduce fossil fuel emissions to zero.’ Okay, great start! Next, tho, for a new law to actually work, we have to figure out how we are going to do it: ‘how do we reduce fossil fuel emissions to zero?’

Rules and State Agencies

When it comes to how, a new law moves from the legislators to the state agencies, agencies such as DEQ (Department of Environmental Quality) or ODOT (Department of transportation). Depending on how comprehensive a new law is, one or many state agencies might be involved. The agencies are staffed with experts who know the territory they are being asked to deal with. It is the role of the state agencies and state experts to figure out how a law will be carried out. They will need to figure out new rules for how things will be done.

Rules and Environmental Protection

Environmental law has a lot of rules because many things in our everyday industrial world from our cellphones to our cars to the rain run-off from our roof have chemicals, heavy metals, and other components that can impact our environment. Some rules specify how old cellphones are disposed of, or what types of fuel can be used in cars. These rules change if the law changes. The idea with environmental laws is to protect public and planetary health. It doesn’t always play out this way, however, so that is why citizen participation is important.

Draft Rules and Public Comment

So. A new law is written and put into effect. This new law goes to the agencies and their experts. And the experts in these agencies work on figuring how the new law can and should be implemented. They need to get into the specific details as to what new rules the new law requires.

Their first effort in writing new rules is a draft. Nothing yet is set in stone. The agencies draft what they believe the new rules could/should be. Then, and this next part is really important; then this draft goes to the public for comment.

Public Comment Periods

Agencies not only draft new rules, they also set up a calendar with times, dates, and places set out for the public to come and address the proposed rules. Public comment is the chance for everyday people and all kinds of experts outside the agency to speak up and give their take on whether or not the draft rules that are being proposed are a good idea. Are the rules effective? Will any proposed rules be too onerous? Or harmful? Do the proposed rules go far enough to actually address the problem they are designed to address?

You can usually find the calendar and current drafts on the agency web pages. Comment periods are scheduled to offer opportunities for the public to give testimony in person, and/or via written comments.

How extensive a comment period is depends on the complexity of the proposed new rules, and the potential impart of those rules. With proposed environmental rules, there can be a lot of energy spent in arguing. There are many interested parties, each with something to gain or lose. How many jobs might the project provide? How much water might be used? How much of that water can be contaminated before all the fish die? Does it really matter if a little arsenic gets in there. Who gets to decide?

With so much at stake, agencies that draft environmental rules often hold multiple comment periods across the state. This is to ensure the public–those who are impacted by what is decided–and businesses–who often are the ones facing regulation–have a chance to speak to the draft.

Why Public Participation Matters

Lawmakers and agency experts don’t and can’t know everything. Public participation is a really important part of the process because the public is like a whole big group of experts who can offer insight into everything from air quality impacts on children, to the cares of teachers, students, and grandparents for the future they envision for their communities and their state.

There are many things that agency members may not know to consider prior to public comment. For example, when regulating, say, the transportation of crude oil by train, agency experts might not know how inadequate last-century train technologies is for transporting highly flammable materials. They may know that air quality is important, but they might not know how important. They may not see the consequences of an inevitable accident the same way members of a community might who actually face that danger near their schools and homes. Lawmakers and agency folks may have seen the beautiful brochures from business interests, without realizing that many, many people want nothing to do with a proposal no matter how slick the trifolds.

Public input is important to lawmakers and state agencies. Public input is essential to the making of good rules.

Rulemaking and Public Policy

A new law goes to the state agencies. The state agencies draft proposed rules so that it is clear how the law will be put into effect. The state agencies hold public comment periods where businesses, experts, and the public can offer their feedback on those draft rules. Based on all of that, the state agencies recommends a final draft of rules, which at some point are codified into public policy. This policy will govern how the law plays out. How much arsenic will get into the water? The policies created in the rulemaking process will be the standard set, and the standard to be met.

For a great conversation about rulemaking and public comment, see our video Rulemaking 101.

Rulemaking is an essential part of lawmaking. This video is a conversation featuring Bill Bradbury, former Oregon Secretary of State, and Hogan Sherrow, founder and president of ROCPAC (Rural Oregon Climate Political Action Committee) as they walk us through what happens after a law is signed, and the months or years long process that is called rulemaking. So, what is rulemaking? And why is it important that citizens pay attention and speak up during this process? Find out ‘what is a rule?’ Learn using examples of recent climate and environmental laws, including the new executive order (the Oregon Climate Action Plan) signed by Governor Kate Brown in March 2020.

Thank you for visiting the Southwestern Oregon Chapter of The Climate Reality Project. Click to learn more about our chapter, and more about The Climate Reality Project. If you are interested in joining our chapter, email us and/or apply.