Leaders from across the world traveled to Glasgow, Scotland on November 6, 2021 to attend the 26th United Nations Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP 26) where they discussed the impacts of- and solutions for- climate change.
Governor Kate Brown represented Oregon at COP 26 and highlighted the dramatic impacts of climate change on Oregonians, and the urgent actions Oregon is taking to decrease carbon emissions and transition to clean energy.
Appearing on panels with fellow governors and other global leaders, Governor Brown shared two important messages with the world. First, that the historic wildfires, massive ice storms, and recent heat dome events should serve as eye-openers for the rest of the world that climate change is here. And second, that it’s not too late to take immediate action, sharing ways that small states like Oregon are making a huge impact in fighting climate change.
“To put it simply, climate change is hitting Oregon like a hammer in the head,” said Governor Brown at a panel hosted by the U.S. Department of Energy on transitioning to a clean energy economy.
“I’m here to tell you that we are a warning for the rest of the world. Like the 2020 wildfires of Australia, the droughts of East Africa, the flooding and landslides of South Asia, together we are canaries in the coal mine if action isn’t taken. But, I’m also here to tell you we can tackle climate change and grow our economy at the same time. And Oregon is a shining example of how it can be done.”
Governor Brown joined several discussions at COP 26 with leaders from Brazil, Canada, Japan, and fellow West Coast governors. Topics ranged from ocean acidification, to the impacts of food waste, and the important role states play in fighting climate change.
Oregon has led the nation on addressing climate action with an equity lens.
Oregon’s low-income, rural, and communities of color are being disproportionately impacted by climate change — and around the world, poorer countries are bearing the impacts of climate change more than wealthier nations. Governor Brown believes it is Oregon’s responsibility to tackle climate challenges through an equity lens and focusing on vulnerable communities.
For example, Oregon lost over 4,000 houses due to the devastating Labor Day wildfires in 2020, with undocumented families impacted greatly. The state took the initiative to invest millions of dollars in assisting non-documented migrants with housing.
In Oregon’s efforts to work toward 100% clean energy by 2040, the state has prioritized working with low-income families to help them access clean energy. This allows Oregonians to save money as well as energy.
Another way Oregon is centering equity in its climate work is by helping make electric vehicles more affordable for middle class families by offering.
During Governor Brown’s time at COP 26, she used the international platform to warn the rest of the world about the dire effects of climate change and showcase how Oregon is using an equity-based approach to taking climate action. The Governor made a pitch to the world on how we must act collectively to address the climate crisis immediately, working together with private businesses, local communities, states, and global leaders to create a better, cleaner future.
In the closing remarks of Governor Brown’s COP 26 speech, she stressed that “the future generations will judge us not on the fact of climate change, but what we have done to tackle it. The time is now; we can’t afford to wait.”