Louisiana's Zero-Carbon Commitment Shows How Coastal, Energy-Producing States Can Act on Climate
- Lacey McCormick
- Aug 19, 2020
“Governor Edwards is providing a roadmap for how states with a substantial energy sector can still lead on climate action.”
BATON ROUGE — Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards has signed an executive order that commits to net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. Louisiana’s low-lying and rapidly-eroding coastline is extremely vulnerable to sea-level rise driven by climate change.
“The Mississippi River Delta is among America’s natural treasures. Unfortunately, Coastal Louisiana’s low-lying marshes, swamps, barrier islands and bays are at grave risk from sea-level rise,” said Collin O’Mara, president and CEO of the National Wildlife Federation. “By setting science-based reduction targets, Governor Edwards is providing a roadmap for how states with a substantial energy sector can still lead on climate action.”
- The executive order sets targets for reducing net greenhouse gas emissions by up to 28 percent by 2025, up to 50 percent by 2030, and achieving net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. The order also establishes a Climate Initiatives Task Force with representatives from the public and industry charged with developing recommendations for how Louisiana can achieve these goals.
- A second executive order establishes the role of Chief Resilience Officer within the Office of the Governor and requires state agencies to incorporate resilience into their operations and strategic planning. Those strategic plans will become part of the State’s Coastal Master Plan.
- Over the next century, prospects for coastal Louisiana, like all of the world’s coastlines, are bleak unless the world meets the Paris Accord targets.
- Without action, Louisiana could lose an additional 2,250 to 4,120 square miles of coastal land over the next 50 years, according to the Coastal Master Plan. The extent of land loss is primarily based on rates of sea-level rise that are directly influenced by rates of global greenhouse gas emissions.
- Louisiana has unique opportunities, including carbon sequestration in spent subsurface oil and gas fields, the potential for carbon storage through wetland restoration, and a shallow offshore shelf with high wind energy potential. However, the state must find ways to reduce or offset its very high greenhouse gas emissions from refineries and chemical plants.