Next Steps: Climate Policy Commitments

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The climate crisis demands serious action. While the City of Portland is a leader on climate action nationally and globally, we know that we need to double-down and do more if we are going to meet emission reduction targets of 50% by 2030 and reach net-zero by 2050.

Today, Mayor Wheeler announced the next action steps the City of Portland is taking on climate, focused on City operations so that we are walking our talk. At the same time, we are working with community organizations and youth leaders to develop a community-centered approach to climate action and the next impactful actions Portland must take to tackle the climate crisis with the Climate Emergency Declaration for next year.

The latest Climate Policy commitments the City of Portland will undertake:

1. Climate Budget

Direct bureaus to reduce carbon emissions and prepare for the impacts of climate change in their upcoming budget proposals.

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Put Portland on the trajectory to achieve our climate goals, particularly focusing on emissions from transportation and the built environment.

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Build our resilience to projected climate change impacts like extreme precipitation and heat waves.

2. Words to Action

Ensure the City is walking its talk in several ways.

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Implement a ‘climate test’ to ensure major City decisions are integrating climate action by adopting an internal price on carbon. This action will ensure City bureaus are making informed, climate-friendly decisions, particularly for major capital investments and high-carbon impact decisions such as fuel and vehicle purchases.

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Establish a new policy to require the offset of carbon emissions from City-related air travel, and to design and implement a local carbon offset fund to see local carbon reduction benefits. There is an opportunity to open this local offset fund to other partners to support and grow this fund and help finance local carbon reductions.

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Electrify the City’s fleet of sedans. Currently 33 percent of our 450 sedans are electric, but we want to be 100 percent as quickly as possible by:

  1. Developing and implementing an “EV-First Policy” requiring city bureaus to purchase electric vehicles when replacing sedans unless they can make the case that an electric car will not meet their needs.

  2. Exploring public-private partnership opportunities for the affordable installation and maintenance of the charging infrastructure required to fuel the accelerated electrification of our fleet.
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Improve the energy efficiency of City-owned and -managed buildings by exploring funding in next year’s budget to conduct energy efficiency audits of the City’s largest buildings. This information will inform the City’s Energy Action Plan to guide investments so that the City is reducing energy use, costs and saving resources in City-owned buildings.

3. Reduce Barriers

Reduce barriers to Portland Clean Energy Community Benefits Fund projects and pave the way toward a net-zero carbon future.

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The Mayor has directed a cross-bureau team of staff to evaluate and mitigate any barriers or conflicts that may exist in the City’s code and permit requirements that might hamper the kinds of projects expected from the Portland Clean Energy Fund including: energy efficiency, community solar, electric vehicles, and green infrastructure.


Questions? Contact Sam Diaz, Senior Policy Advisor, at samuel.diaz@portlandoregon.gov.