At last week’s town hall on carbon emissions and House Bill 2020, which called for cap and trade measures, over half of the 80-something members of the audience made comments, suggestions, and asked questions of State Sen. Cliff Bentz and Rep. Daniel Bonham.

Despite a variety of opinions on the merits or faults of cap and trade and possible economic impacts, the people who spoke at FivePine Conference Center were almost unanimous in their message regarding carbon emissions and climate change.

“Do whatever it takes.”

“Do everything we can ­— now.”

“We must use every tool at our disposal to address climate change.”

“Whatever is viable, I am in favor of.”

“I’m worried about the future for our grandchildren.”

“Listen to the climate scientists.”

“Only thing we can’t do is nothing.”

Several speakers noted that 12 other states, including California, have adopted cap and trade measures and 10 have experienced economic gains. The European Union and Canada also have cap and trade measures to reduce carbon emissions.

According to a meteorology professor, who self-identified as in the minority in the room, the forest fires are mainly the result of poor forest management.

A number of people stated that any adverse effects from cap and trade would be mitigated by the gains in climate control. On the other side was a small-business owner who stated unequivocally, “Cap and trade will put me out of business and my seven employees out of work.” He said his two alternatives would be to try to sell his business or lock it up. His one percent profit margin can’t take any increases in fuel costs.

There were suggestions that the legislature should pass HB 2020, even if imperfect, then come back and fix it.

“We pass imperfect legislation all the time,” said one supporter of cap and trade.

A Deschutes County farmer said they use fossil fuel and would “rather pay more for fuel and have a cleaner, clearer environment.” She went on to say that cap and trade is popular with farmers in California due to good agricultural incentives that help to upgrade irrigation. With increased incentives for no-till farming, less carbon is released into the atmosphere.

A Camp Sherman resident raised the concern of whether or not she will be able to get or afford homeowners insurance due to the increase in wildfires.

Some attendees believe that data shows the planet is running out of time to effectively curb climate change. According to a recent OPB radio broadcast, if there isn’t a dramatic reduction in CO2 emissions in 18 months, the earth will reach a tipping point from which it can’t return.

A Bend resident with a PhD from MIT, who specializes in numerical analysis, countered, saying that satellite data doesn’t support the estimate from OSU that by 2100 there will be a nine-degree Celsius increase in temperatures above 1975 levels. He does not support cap and trade.

Suggestions for addressing climate change ranged from the cap and trade bill to improved irrigation programs, clean energy reinvestments, more green energy, stopping subsidies for the fossil fuel industry, in Central Oregon use the sun, wind, and hot springs to generate energy, small dams for hydro power, improved forestry and farming practices, and changing the state constitution.

A farmer born and raised in Redmond voiced his opinion: “Stop all this environmental stuff and the fires would improve.”

The owner of a fuel business admitted that HB 2020 was a threat to his way of living, but, “Life is too important for my business to take precedence.” He criticized Bentz’s slide presentation for having no assessment of possible job creation or better quality of life with the cap and trade bill. He concluded with, “Go back to Salem and get something done. Please make something happen. That’s what people need right now.”

Bonham responded, “We’re trying to do something. I hear you but I’m not there yet. I don’t want to martyr rural Oregon.”