How climate change has affected Oregon, and where to go from here

ShellrockMountain. (Photo: ODOT/March 6, 2018)

LANE COUNTY, Ore. - The latest government climate change report has shocked many people

The potential effects vary by region but all of the u-s is expected to see economic impacts.

Scientists have been preaching it for decades.

“'This will happen, we think this will happen,'” said Philip Mote, an OSU Professor. “Well now 20 years later a lot of that has happened and a lot more things that we didn't expect.”

You heard it right; climate change is here in Oregon.

Mote, who co-authored this region's climate report, says warming temperatures are prolonging droughts and wildfire seasons.

Looking back to 2015, snow pack was 89 percent below average across the state, leading to low river levels, and affecting irrigated crops and causing the most severe wildfire season in the northwest history. It led to the burning of more than 1.5 million acres.

Mote says 2015 is now the "example year" for what's to be considered the new norm, and it's costing us.

“It's not chunk change to have an event like that,” said Mote. “The impacts on the ski industry that year were on the order of $100 to $200 million.”

Along with near $700 million worth of agricultural losses in Washington. That could echo in Oregon.

So, what's causing all of the devastation?

Mote says most of the state's carbon footprint boils down to the average Oregonian who produces vehicle emissions, and imported electricity from other states who produce with coal.

Begging the question if we should re-vamp our fossil fuel industry..

“So there are a lot more jobs in renewable energy and energy efficiency than in the fossil fuel industry which is capital intensive,” said Mote.

Mote also says as the Napa Valley warms in California, winemakers will look to the Willamette Valley for wine grapes.

close video ad
Unmutetoggle ad audio on off