Rep. Blumenauer, other PNW leaders head to UN Climate Change Conference

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Blumenauer said the Pacific Northwest is "in the game" when it comes to combatting climate change

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — A number of leaders from the Pacific Northwest are heading to Scotland to participate in the United Nations Climate Change Conference. 

U.S. Representative Earl Blumenauer, D-Ore., is attending the event and said he wants to talk about specifics, not “vague promises,” with world leaders when it comes to addressing climate change. 

Blumenauer said one of those discussions will focus on legislation that’s being called “carbon border adjustment.” He said it will make it harder for countries to export polluting products. 

He spoke to KOIN News Sunday and said he just had a meeting with members of the European trade group and they are already a step ahead on that front. He said it will be important to learn together and move in tandem. 

“I have legislation to make it harder for illegally harvested timber land to produce commodities that end up on our grocery shelves,” he said. “We’ll be working to reinforce our initiatives with the infrastructure program… With the energy production credits we’ve led the charge in congress on alternative transportation on bike and E-bike, on vision zero, reducing the carnage on the highway.” 

There are several leaders from Washington and Oregon that will be attending the climate conference, including Sen. Jeff Merkley, D-Ore., Oregon Gov. Kate Brown and Washington Gov. Jay Inslee.

“It helps demonstrate that we are in the game,” Blumenauer said about having so much regional representation. “We are having Northwest solutions to Northwest Problems.”

Blumenauer said there is likely no place in the U.S. that’s had more devastating climate impact than in the Pacific Northwest during summer 2021. 

While Blumenauer and others remain committed to addressing climate change, there are still other leaders in congress who sidestep the question.

“We had freezing periods in the 1970s. They said it was going to be a new cooling period and now it gets warmer, it gets colder, that’s called Mother Nature. The idea that hurricanes or wildfires were caused in the last few years is just fallacy,” said Republican Whip Steve Scalise, R-La.

The science is clear. The rise in global temperature is caused by humans putting greenhouse gas into the atmosphere. Blumenauer remains committed, pointing to a number of provisions already secured in the recently passed infrastructure bill to move the process forward.

“We’ll be working to reinforce our initiatives with the infrastructure program, with energy production credits,” he said. “It has a number of long term objectives. We’ve been fighting for years to have polluters pay to clean up the toxic waste, like the superfund site in the Willamette River. We worked hard to be able to make it easier for people to burn calories instead of fossil fuel with bicycle reforms, commuter-bike and E-bike tax credits.”

The climate conference will be running through the week and will conclude Nov. 12.

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