As we all know climate change is a pressing issue that affects the whole world. Whether it’s the rising sea levels, changes in precipitation patterns, or the extreme weather, we all are impacted by climate change. Luckily Portland as a city is very aware of that and have taken matters into their own hands to assure a future for its citizens. In 2014 the Metro Council of Portland introduced a strategy to reduce greenhouse emissions that the region proceeded to adopt. The Climate Smart Strategy essentially acknowledges the region’s needs in aspects such as land use and transportation while also reaching the city’s goal of reducing greenhouse emissions.
In 2009, the Oregon legislature mandated that the Metro had to reduce the region’s per capita greenhouse emissions, which is created by cars and other light trucks, by at least 20 percent by 2035 (Metro, 2015). As a response to the mandate, the Metro Council created the Climate Smart Strategy. The Smart Strategy is essentially a “toolbox” of different policies and actions that could potentially be adopted by the Portland Metro area in order to reduce greenhouse emissions. The “toolbox” consists of different policy options that would invest in issues that are viewed as local priorities. Some of the priorities the Smart Strategy targets include transportation, clean air, land use, as well as equitable communities. Additionally, the Smart Strategy also provides a relative climate benefit rating for each policy. Basically, in the early stages of the strategy, sensitivity analyses were conducted in order to comprehend the possible greenhouse reduction capabilities for each policy. Then each policy was given a rating out of five stars depending on its potential for reducing emissions.
Ever since Metro published the Climate Smart Strategy in 2014 different regions of Oregon, especially the Portland Metro area, have implemented some of the policies. For example, a policy that was endorsed consisted of increasing funding for transit. This was done to expand the transportation routes in order to make travel more accessible. The goal is to encourage more citizens to use public transit rather than burning fuel while stuck in city traffic. With a relative climate benefit of five stars, this policy was seen as a priority. The utilized strategy also consists of investing in transportation, transitioning to low carbon fuels, and endorsing more fuel-efficient vehicles.
In the end, all of the money, time, and effort expended during the implementation of the policy is done in hopes to meet the 2035 mandate. Whether or not Oregon will be able to reach that goal all depends on how effective the usage of the Climate Smart Strategy is during these next few years.