The Oregon Coast Visitors Association (OCVA) has joined “Tourism Declares a Climate Emergency,” an international initiative that supports tourism businesses, organizations and individuals in declaring a climate emergency and taking purposeful action to reduce carbon emissions as per the advice from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) to cut global carbon emissions to 55 percent below 2017 levels by 2030. OCVA will be exploring voluntary, private sector solutions to this complex global issue. 

According to the Oregon Global Warming Commission’s roadmap, there is an immediate need for action across all economic sectors. As stated in the 2020 biennial report to the legislature, Oregon is currently “not on track” to accomplish their envisioned progress. OCVA officials say it only makes sense that tourism, one of Oregon’s largest economic contributors, is stepping up to support climate change mitigation solutions on the Oregon coast. 

“Rising to the occasion and working together requires a little bit of grit and a lot of courage. I can’t think of a more creative and lionhearted group than what we have on the coast, and they will be key to this initiative’s success,” Deputy Director Arica Sears said.

Like all signatories, OCVA has committed to the following five actions:

• Develop a climate emergency plan within the next 12 months, which sets out the group’s intentions to reduce carbon emissions over the next decade.

• Share an initial public declaration of the climate emergency plan and update on progress each year.

• Accept current IPCC advice stating the need to cut global carbon emissions to 55 percent below 2017 levels by 2030 in order to keep the planet within 1.5 degrees of warming. OCVA will ensure its climate emergency plan represents actions designed to achieve this as a minimum, through delivering transparent, measurable and increasing reductions in the total carbon emissions per customer arising from its operations and the travel services sold by OCVA. 

• Encourage OCVA’s suppliers and partners to make the same declaration; sharing best practices among peers; and actively participate in the “Tourism Declares” community

• Advocate for change. OCVA recognizes the need for system change across the industry to accelerate a just transition towards carbon-free tourism.

This spring, OCVA began synthesizing existing research, resources and solutions that are compatible with Oregon coast businesses and started recruiting others to join this work. In the fall, OCVA will host sector-specific focus groups such as hotels, vacation rentals, retail facilities and food industry stakeholders to strategize ways to reduce the carbon footprint in terms of transportation, energy efficiency measures and materials management. 

For more information on this work, go online at https://tinyurl.com/5xwa5thw

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