History

In December 2004, the Governor’s Advisory Group on Global Warming issued its report calling for immediate and significant action to address global warming, to reduce Oregon’s exposure to the risks of global warming and to begin to prepare for the effects of global warming. The advisory group also identified 46 specific recommendations for measurable reductions in the state’s greenhouse gas emissions.

In partnership with the Governor’s advisory group, 50 scientists signed the “Scientific Consensus Statement on the Likely Impacts of Climate Change on the Pacific Northwest,” which examined the potential effects of climate change on temperature, precipitation, sea level, marine ecosystems and terrestrial ecosystems. The scientists recommended additional, improved scientific studies and modeling of the effects of climate change on the atmosphere, oceans and land, as well as modeling of the effects of economic and management policies.

During the 74th Oregon Legislative Assembly (2007) Regular Session, the state legislature passed House Bill (HB) 3543 which related to “climate change; appropriating money; and declaring an emergency”.

HB 3543 created the Oregon Global Warming Commission, which “shall consist of 25 members, including 11 voting members appointed by the Governor under this section and 14 ex officio nonvoting members specified in section 5 of this 2007 Act.” Members of the Oregon Global Warming Commission “shall be appointed so as to be representative of the social, environmental, cultural and economic diversity of the state and to be representative of the policy, science, education and implementation elements of the efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and to prepare Oregon for the effects of global warming.”

The Oregon Global Warming Commission is directed to: “recommend ways to coordinate state and local efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in Oregon consistent with the greenhouse gas emissions reduction goals established by section 2 of HB 3543 and shall recommend efforts to help Oregon prepare for the effects of global warming.” The Office of the Governor and state agencies working on multistate and regional efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions will coordinate with the commission on these efforts.

HB 3543 also created the Oregon Climate Change Research Institute (OCCRI) within the Oregon Department of Higher Education. The institute is administered by Oregon State University (OSU) and other institutional partners within the Oregon University System (OUS).

HB 3543 states that the purpose of OCCRI is to:

  1. Facilitate research by Oregon University System faculty on climate change and its effects on natural and human systems in Oregon
  2. Serve as a clearinghouse for climate change information
  3. Provide climate change information to the public in integrated and accessible formats
  4. Support the Oregon Global Warming Commission in developing strategies to prepare for and to mitigate the effects of climate change on natural and human systems
  5. Provide technical assistance to local governments to assist them in developing climate change policies, practices and programs

In addition, at least once each biennium, OCCRI will assess the state of climate change science as it relates to the state of Oregon, and the likely effects of climate change on the state. This assessment will be delivered to the Governor’s Office and the Legislative Assembly.

OCCRI was launched in 2009 with the hiring of three staff members and Dr. Philip Mote as its first Director.