Oregon’s Framework to Adapt to Rapid Climate Change
In 2004, Oregon’s Governor established the Governor’s Advisory Group on Global Warming; in 2006, the group was restructured into the Climate Change Integration Group (CCIG). CCIG was tasked with helping Oregon prepare for the effects anthropogenic climate change may have within the state. As part of this process, CCIG released A Framework for Addressing Rapid Climate Change to help Oregon prepare for and adapt to climate change. Since the release of this framework, Oregon has continued to produce adaptation planning documents for public health, transportation, and communities, among others.
In 2006, Governor Ted Kulongoski appointed the Climate Change Integration Group (CCIG) as the successor to the Governor’s Advisory Group on Global Warming, which was established in 2004. CCIG was charged to create a preparation and adaptation strategy for Oregon that built off of the work of its predecessor. CCIG proceeded to publish multiple reports that advocated for a transformation of Oregon’s planning process so that it considers climate change as a key element, recognizes that multiple systems are interconnected, and requires a dynamic and iterative planning process. During its existence, CCIG worked on four key areas:
- Addressing goals and recommendations outlined in the 2004 report, Oregon Strategy for Greenhouse Gas Reductions;
- Preparing recommendations to make the state of Oregon more resilient to the effects of climate change;
- Promoting new research programs in collaboration with the Oregon University system on mitigation and adaptation strategies; and
- Acting as an educational resource for interested citizens and industry.
In 2008, CCIG released the report, A Framework for Addressing Rapid Climate Change. The report was developed at the request of the Governor to develop a framework for Oregon to begin making decisions in light of climate change. In sum, CCIG produced ten key recommendations that would aid Oregon’s climate change adaptation process; they included:
- Begin preparing for climate change immediately;
- Expand and enhance mitigation efforts to reduce Oregon’s greenhouse gas footprint;
- Continue to research how climate change will affect Oregon’s populace and natural resources;
- Support institutional learning about climate change and create a forum for individuals to attain actionable information to help them understand their opportunities for mitigation and adaptation;
- Implement a coordinated education and outreach program;
- Consider the effects of climate change as part of any government planning process;
- Promote climate change adaptation as an economic development opportunity;
- Integrate the public health impacts of climate change into decision making;
- Support climate change research; and
- Provide funding for key action areas/programs.
Outcomes and Conclusions
In 2004, the Global Warming Commission presented the Oregon Strategy for Greenhouse Gas Reductions. It provided an agenda of mitigation actions for the state and its residents; most of the recommendations were not implemented. The 2008 report tabulates Oregon’s mitigation efforts relative to the 2004 suggested actions and details mitigation projects and future recommended actions.
CCIG identified multiple issues and challenges when working on their 2008 report, including a lack of public understanding regarding the scientific basis behind climate change. Without this comprehension, it becomes increasingly difficult to pass climate-related legislation. Additionally, at the time, few groups had undertaken vulnerability assessments, making it difficult to prepare an adequate adaptation plan. Finally. they found that climate change-related research is underfunded relative to its import, particularly in regards to the public health sector.
CCIG developed recommendations to help shape and update the earlier recommendations outlined by the Global Warming Commission. Notable suggestions included prioritizing prevention efforts over reactionary projects, incorporating climate change planning into all state and local agencies programs and policies, linking the economic, natural, and climatic aspects of climate change, and coordinating research agendas across the state and region.
Since the release of Oregon's Framework to Adapt to Rapid Climate Change, the state has produced a number of additional climate change adaptation planning documents, including:
- Climate Ready Communities: A Strategy for Adapting to Impacts of Climate Change on the Oregon Coast
- The Oregon Climate Change Adaptation Framework
- Oregon Department of Transportation Climate Change Adaptation Strategy Report
- Oregon Climate and Health Resilience Plan
- Oregon Natural Hazards Mitigation Plan
Project File (s)
Feifel, K. (2021). Oregon's Framework to Adapt to Rapid Climate Change [Case study on a project of the Oregon Department of Energy]. Version 2.0. Product of EcoAdapt's State of Adaptation Program. (Last updated May 2021)