PORTLAND, Ore. (CN) — On the eve of introduction of national legislation that would declare a climate emergency, Washington Governor Jay Inslee told an Oregon crowd that he wanted to prevent the scuttling of Oregon’s landmark cap-and-trade bill by ordering the arrest of Republican legislators hiding in his state — but couldn’t make it happen.
Lamenting the death of Oregon’s cap-and-trade legislation, which the state’s Republican legislators scuttled by fleeing the state to prevent a vote on it, Inslee said he’d tried to help.
“I want you to know that I looked for a way to arrest your legislators in Washington,” Inslee told the Portland crowd. “I couldn’t find it.”
Inslee was the first speaker at an event where U.S. Rep. Earl Blumenauer, D-Portland, announced federal legislation declaring a climate emergency, which he will introduce Tuesday alongside Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-New York. Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders will introduce a companion bill.
Also at Monday’s event was Bill Ripple, professor of ecology at Oregon State University and author of “World Scientists’ Warning to Humanity: a Second Notice,” which inventories the dire problems facing the habitable Earth, noting that of nine major problems, only one — the ozone layer — has improved.
Since its publication in November 2017, the paper has been co-signed by more than 20,000 scientists. Ripple told a crowd packed into a church that what worries him the most are potential climate change “tipping points,” like the melting of permafrost, which releases methane. More methane means more global warming, and that causes more loss of permafrost. Repeat.
Ripple said Oregon’s “mature, unlogged forests” are the state’s best climate solution. He called for a worldwide reforestation effort.
“Tonight, for the first time, I would like to ask us as humanity to plant 100 million trees around the earth,” Ripple said.
Doing so would capture 25% of the carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, according to a new study in Science magazine. Also necessary, Ripple said, is to quickly and drastically reduce fossil fuel use, curb CO2 emissions and prevent deforestation while planting those 100 million trees.
Blumenauer described his legislation as a counterpoint to President Trump’s declaration of a national emergency due to immigration at the southern border.
Blumenauer said, “I opined, ‘The real crisis is the climate, you jerk.’”