On November 9, the Louisiana Climate Task Force met for the first time, to begin to address the existential crisis that threatens Louisiana’s future. But climate change is not a far-off potentiality, it is here now, lapping at our shores and changing the way we live.
This task force must work together and with the people of our state, to lean into our expertise and to look to proven policies and technologies to reduce emissions and protect our coast.
Most importantly, the task force must center the people who make Louisiana so great.
We all have a shared interest in not only reducing GHG emissions in order to preserve our home for generations to come, but also in eliminating the harmful pollutants and practices that have threatened health and safety for generations past.
In every sector this climate task force opens opportunities to improve health, develop new jobs, grow community wealth for those who have been left out, and support new leaders.
- tackle inefficient and expensive housing stock by investing in energy efficiency
-put people to work capping abandoned wells to manage fugitive emissions
-use our expertise in off-shore energy to lead in new energy industries like wind
-harness combined heat and power from industry to generate clean electricity
-invest in rebuilding our coastline for both protection and to biologically sequester carbon
Our state will be stronger because we rose to this challenge by putting our people first.
It is no secret that the systems and industries that got us here haven’t worked for many Louisianians. In order to succeed in the task of climate action, we must turn this reality around.
As Dr. Virginia Burkett, one of the Task Force members mentioned at the first meeting, disadvantaged communities, including Black, Indigenous, and other People of Color, are bearing the brunt of the climate burden already, and have fewer resources to respond and adapt. These same communities have been harmed by the old systems that are contributing to climate change.
We know what works. Let’s start with affordable no-regrets policies and technologies that are shovel ready.
We know what people want. When asked: a resounding majority of Louisianans want clean renewable energy and coastal protection.
Starting with tech and policies that are proven to work and are affordable today, this Task Force must also plan for the future, when innovation may be part of the solutions. However, the Task Force must not be distracted by industry promises that technologies like Carbon Capture and Sequestration will save the day and enable the status quo.
Finally, no-matter how good or bad the final recommendations report of the Task Force, it will be the agencies and officials who are responsible to take the recommendations and implement them who decide what climate action looks like. This is why the state legislature and agencies like the Louisiana Public Service Commission, will need to carry the ball forward in the coming years.
The Alliance will work with this Task Force to present the kinds of policies we can get moving on right away, and new opportunities that are specific to Louisiana's existing strengths. We will also work hard to get the word out about meetings, and opportunities to use your power at the Task Force.
In the meantime, info on the task force is available here: https://gov.louisiana.gov/page/climate-initiatives-task-force and you can always drop the state a comment on the work of climate action at firstname.lastname@example.org