Peter Danko for Portland Business Journal:
Depending on exactly how it is designed, a program in Oregon could place new emissions restrictions on around 100 big carbon emitters in Oregon — several Metro area tech companies, including Intel, among them.
But the effects on statewide economic output would likely be small, coming in at “slightly positive or slightly negative,” the report said.
Plus, the report said, that didn’t even take into consideration health benefits that could result from reduced pollution.
The DEQ report was requested by the Legislature last year and arrives as environmental groups gear up to press lawmakers to enact some version of cap and trade during the current session in Salem.
“The DEQ report makes clear Oregon should absolutely move forward in putting a price on pollution, investing in our communities and doubling down on clean energy jobs,” said Tera Hurst, executive director of Renew Oregon, in a statement. “Other states and provinces that have implemented systems putting a price on pollution and reinvesting in workers, innovation and healthy communities have added thousands of jobs while significantly reducing pollution.”
Under the system studied, the state would place a limit on greenhouse gas emissions from big emitters. That’s the cap. The entities — ranging from fossil-fuel suppliers like Tesoro to institutions of higher learning like Oregon State University — would either have to buy allowances, or cut their emissions. Over time, the overall cap would drop, forcing emissions reductions.
The “trade” part of the equation would allow companies to buy and sell allowances, incentivizing reductions at the least cost possible.