Now Reading
Environment| Environment

Environment| Environment

Monday’s unanimously approved approval of a task force state by the government a planTo reduce Louisiana’s greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2050. This is a step towards a green future in a state that has been heavily dependent on fossil fuels.

The plan calls on various industries to harness the power of wind, solar and other renewable resources in order to power their operations. It also calls for companies switching from carbon-based fuels towards hydrogen-based ones.

The proposed carbon reduction plan focuses on three major strategies: switching electricity generation to renewable energy, having industrial …

Members of Gov. John Bel Edwards’ Climate Initiatives Task Force met over a year ago to finalize the plans. The group was made up of representatives from the petrochemical, oil and gas, and electric industries. It also included environmental advocates and residents of diverse backgrounds.

Task force members stated that approval of plans is only the first step. Residents must press the state leaders to ensure that plans goals are achieved.

Gov John Bel Edwards appeared at a Monday meeting of his Climate Initiatives Task Force in a pre-taped comment before the task force voted to …

“The success of these activities will depend on the public engaging and really grappling about these issues, understanding and asking for additional action,” stated Harry Vorhoff (chair of the task force) and deputy director of Governor’s Office of Coastal Activities.

Edwards thanked the members of the task force for creating the first state plan in the Deep South that would reduce greenhouse gas emissions and make it net zero from the top energy producing states.

The final version of this plan was made public after the vote. It includes an appendix that lists dissents to individual actions taken by task force members. Lindsay Cooper, a policy advisor at the governor’s coastal activity office, said that 29 of the plan’s 84 action plans were the subject of dissents. There were only five dissents per action; 18 actions had one objection.

Industry representatives expressed concern that plans to replace natural gas and coal with non-carbon fuels in the state’s electricity sector could cause disruptions that will impact the economy. They also suggested that the state should not be the one pushing for greenhouse gas reductions. Additionally, additional state regulations would cause disruptions to existing and new manufacturing facilities.

Many said that even though they voted in favor of the plan they expected to address the provisions as they were considered and approved by the Legislature or the state Public Service Commission.

Terrence Chambers, University of Louisiana at Lafayette, mechanical engineering professor, is a member of Climate Initiatives Task Force.

Overall, I agree with the governor’s goals for reducing greenhouse gas emissions. As Entergy’s representative, our goal of achieving net zero emissions in 2050 is also aligned with the governor and this task force members Jonathan Bourg and Entergy executive.

Bourg was not happy with the plan’s call that power generation be deregulated, as he felt it could pose a threat to the reliability and safety of the state’s transmission network.

Greg Bowser, the executive director of Louisiana Chemical Association, voted in favor, despite raising objections. Bowser said that renewable energy could reduce the availability of electricity and that it should be up to the market to determine how low companies should emit.

Bowser stated, “We look forward to working together with the state (emissions reductions) and achieving them in a way which does not undue harm Louisiana as an economic engine.”

Keep up-to-date with the latest news about Louisiana’s coast, and the environment. Register today.

Concerns were raised by Black residents and environmental groups as well as Black residents about the plan’s reliance upon carbon capture and disposal deep underground. They claimed that the practice was unproven and made more difficult by Louisiana’s complex underground geology. This would also pose a threat to communities.

Colette Pichon battle, co-director of Gulf Coast Center for Law And Policy which represents people with disabilities in cases involving climate change and environmental equity, was a task force member. Her objections to 17 plan’s actions points were the most vocal among all the task force members.

She joined others in opposing carbon sequestration, and the inclusion blue hydrogen. She said that this would produce more greenhouse gases than offset by carbon fuels. She said that the plan’s focus was on the math, statistics, and science of reducing greenhouse gas emissions, which she said tends to downplay its potential benefit to Louisiana residents already negatively affected by climate change.

She said that this is more than just about the technologies we can use to balance the pollutants in the air. This means that we will have to slow down, stop, and halt the production in our communities of bad things that harm our souls and the air we breathe.

Many of the plan’s recommendations can be implemented quickly but others will be difficult “especially in a State that tends to think of it as an oil-and-gas state,” said Terrence Chambers (a University of Louisiana at Lafayette mechanical engineers professor).

Task force to vote on Gov. Edwards' 'net zero' climate plan Monday; Edwards says much is at stake

Gov. John Bel Edwards on Friday discounted concerns that his plan to reduce the states carbon emissions to net zero by 2050 will be rebuffe…

However, the state is well-positioned to embrace new resources since workers and facilities serving the oil industry can adapt to technologies like offshore winds platforms.

Chambers stated, “There is no reason Louisiana shouldn’t be a net-exporter of renewable energy.”

Louisiana climate task force members fret they won't meet 'net zero' goal or make deadline

Many suggest a delay beyond February 1, which could lead to federal funding being cut.

Tyler Gray represents the Louisiana Mid-Continent Oil & Gas Association in the Climate Initiatives Task Force.

Greg Bowser (executive director of the Louisiana Chemical Association), spoke during Monday’s meeting of Climate Initiatives Task Force.

Colette Pichon Battle, co-director of the Gulf Coast Center for Law and Policy, speaks during Monday’s meeting of the Climate Initiatives Task…

This chart shows the tonnage of carbon dioxide and carbon equivalent compounds emitted by the top 10 Louisiana chemical plants in 2018.

Edwards will receive the plan on Tuesday. The task force will meet in the first week of March to discuss the future actions required to implement the plan.

The PlanHere’s a short summary executive summaryThese are also available online.

Affiliate commissions could be earned by purchases made through links on our website

This work is supported by a Walton Family Foundation grant and administered by Society of Environmental Journalists.

View Comments (0)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.