Skip to content. | Skip to navigation

Personal tools
You are here: Home Media Room Press Clips Not Waiting on Copenhagen

Not Waiting on Copenhagen

By Steve Nicholas

As the leaders, and eyes, of the world converge on Copenhagen, questions are swirling like storm clouds. Will developed countries agree and commit to a meaningful greenhouse gas emissions reduction target? Will Those Most Responsible pony up some serious dough for a “Green Fund” to help those most affected develop clean energy supplies and climate adaptation strategies? Will Sen. Inhofe (R-Okla.) challenge Al Gore to an arm-wrestling match in the middle of Rådhuspladsen, the Danish capital’s gorgeous City Hall Square?

Most important, will the 115 or so world leaders gathered this week in the Danish capital come to some kind of substantive agreement, or at least an agreement to agree in the not-too-distant future? Will anything come out of these talks other than talk?

Portland’s Clean Energy Works is another great example of an innovative and integrated approach to increasing energy efficiency, saving money, reducing climate pollution, and creating good, green jobs. Like many cities, Portland is ramping up its efforts to significantly increase the energy efficiency of their residential and commercial buildings, which nation-wide use about 70 percent of the electricity load and produce more than 40 percent of our greenhouse gas emissions. Using federal stimulus money as seed funding, the City of Portland and its key partners—Multnomah County, Portland General Electric, Shorebank Enterprise Cascadia, the Energy Trust of Oregon, and the nonprofit Green for All—have established a revolving loan fund that will provide low-interest loans to homeowners to finance energy efficiency audits and measures such as new insulation or the installation of a high-efficiency furnace or water heater. Participants will pay off the loans over time, via their utility bills. The initial goal of the pilot program is to retrofit 500 homes, but the longer-term target is 100,000. To ensure a coherent and equitable approach to the job creation and workforce development elements of the program, the Portland City Council recently approved a Community Workforce Agreement signed by local businesses and labor unions. Among other things, the agreement requires that 80 percent of the workers come from the local workforce, and that 30 percent are people of color, women, or low-income residents.

Read the full story...
Document Actions