Portland Public Schools adopts new climate policy

Published: Mar. 2, 2022 at 12:23 PM PST
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PORTLAND Ore. (KPTV) - Portland Public Schools is pledging to do more to combat climate change.

After dozens of students and environmental advocates pushed the board in mid-December to advance a climate change policy, school board members unanimously approved a policy Tuesday night that would cut green house gas emissions in half by the year 2030. They also agreed to reach net zero by 2040.

To do this, the district will not allow gas-fired equipment in any of its new buildings and it will phase it out of all existing buildings by 2050.

The district said it will also establish standardized systems for preventing waste including recycling and food waste reduction, and the district plans to minimize greenhouse gas emissions by transitioning to electric or low-emission buses and other vehicles.

Ben Stevenson, a junior at Cleveland High School, spoke at Tuesday’s meeting. He says the policy is a step in the right direction.

“This is an opportunity for PPS to shine bright as a national leader in taking climate action, and protecting and standing up for the safety and concerns of students,” Stevenson said. “In a world defined by the climate crisis, this means uplifting the needs of students, whose safety is jeopardized by climate inaction and eliminating your carbon footprint.”

PPS board meeting Tuesday night
PPS board meeting Tuesday night(KPTV)

PPS said it will also create a curriculum and develop resources to help students understand, prepare for, and respond to climate change and its impacts.

It’s important to note, the district said its new climate change goals are based on a few assumptions:

  • That the technology in the electric vehicle market will advance significantly
  • That the cost of electric school buses will come down significantly over the next 10 to 20 years
  • That the district will use money from their general fund to help reach these goals.