Image by Erich Westendarp from Pixabay

Rob Verchick is a professor at Loyola and on the Louisiana Climate Initiatives Task Force. This opinion piece says the State needs to get serious about Climate Change and that we are in an ideal position to switch from oil to natural resources.

Since I began serving on Louisiana’s Climate Initiatives Task Force, charged with finding a way to zero out net greenhouse-gas emissions by 2050, there is one question I get from people more than any other: “C’mon, are you serious?” It’s not that Louisianans don’t see the need. Sea-level rise could soon swallow our coast, and hurricanes souped up by climate change are now the new normal. The problem is how we see ourselves. Louisiana, I’m reminded, is an oil-and-gas state. Whatever were we thinking? My quick response is Louisiana is really an energy state, with more sun and offshore wind than most of our peers.

The Advocate

The materials are here for wind and solar power. Yet the state is still stuck in the oil-and-gas industry. Rob offers a few ideas.

Admit that fossil fuel is the problem. This sounds obvious. Climate scientists are clear that we have to stop burning so much oil, gas, and coal if we are to avoid catastrophe. But many in the oil-and-gas industry pretend they haven’t seen the memo. Instead, they argue that it is not fossil fuel that is bad, but only the carbon dioxide emissions. Their solution is to keep burning carbon and to use new technologies to capture carbon dioxide from big facilities and store all the waste underground. “Fossil fuels aren’t the enemy,” Rep. Garret Graves, R-Baton Rouge, likes to say, “It’s emissions.”

This is wrong as the technologies for carbon dioxide capture have not been proven and to be effective we would still need to cut 70% of our oil and gas usage.

Embrace a “renewable energy standard.” A renewable energy standard is a law that requires electric utilities to buy a certain amount of energy from renewable sources like wind and solar. When green energy companies look for states to invest in, they want reliable demand. A renewable energy standard in Louisiana would be a magnet for big investments in offshore wind and solar technologies. More than half the states now have such standards, including every state that has made the net-zero pledge — except us.

Other articles have said that already we have companies making off shore vessels to care for windmills. So some are looking forward.

Share the winnings. If you are going to do something big, like modernize your state’s energy economy, all residents need to benefit. In our current economy, that’s not happening. The oil-and-gas industry has been shedding jobs for years, leaving many families with uncertain futures. Others live in polluted “sacrifice zones,” where their health and property values are traded away for the prosperity of others. Pursuing net-zero emissions can expand our economy, lower energy costs, save lives and improve health. But Louisianans will be cheated if we don’t insist that these winnings are shared equitably across the state.

Subsidize home solar systems is one of the winnings I would like! And State? Wake up

Louisiana – Get Serious about Climate Change