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The new mix of energy sources that will be required to met President Joe Biden’s goal of net-zero carbon emissions by 2050 will result in similar or only slightly higher economic costs than today’s mix of coal, oil and natural gas. That’s the conclusion reached in four of five scenarios in a Princeton University study that was presented Wednesday to Louisiana’s Climate Initiatives Task Force, which is reviewing option to reduce carbon in a state long dependent on oil and gas exploration and production.

Louisiana, with our dependence on oil and fossil fuels, might suffer a net job loss while the rest of the country does better.

The study’s lead author, Princeton research engineering professor Eric Larson, foresees significant challenges in rapidly changing today’s United States energy infrastructure. But he said the dramatic economic costs associated with the change will largely be absorbed by the U.S. economy – and that in most cases the changes will produce an increase in high-paying jobs. The direct effects on Louisiana at the end of the 30-year energy transformation are less clear. The study’s initial estimate indicates the state could lose as much as 30 percent of its energy-related jobs between 2040 and 2050. But Larson said it’s really too soon to predict the worst for energy jobs in Louisiana because of uncertainty about where new jobs will be created during the transformation. “I would not put a lot of stock in the numbers in the last decade just because of the uncertainties of getting from here to there,” he said.

The problem lies in the types of jobs. We know full well what the jobs are now and they can be categorized easily. It is harder to categorize jobs on the future. We have an idea what will be needed but no one actually knows until the job is created.

Major process changes in Louisiana’s petrochemical industry also are likely to produce new jobs operating equipment to capture and dispose of carbon. The study assumes that almost 100% of the country’s energy will be produced from renewable sources by 2050, unless new nuclear energy facilities are built.

Additionally the health of the country will improve.

Another major benefit to the switch to a zero-carbon-fueled economy, the study said, is the elimination of 200,000 to 300,000 premature deaths a year that now result from disease related to air pollution. That equates to an increase in the country’s gross domestic product of $2 trillion to $3 trillion a year, Larson said.

This is just another input into the Governors task group.

The task force will use the information as it develops a plan to change Louisiana regulations and laws to reduce carbon emissions in the state. The task force was formed a year ago by Gov. John Bel Edwards to design a strategy to meet his goals of a 26% to 28% reduction in greenhouse gases by 2025, a 40% to 50% reduction by 2030 and reductions resulting in net-zero emissions by 2050. A key part of the task force’s efforts will be to assure that any state rule or policy change is not measured solo in terms of equality of opportunity for the state’s low- income and non-White residents, said Charlotte Pichon Battle, chairman of the task force’s equity advisory committee and director of the Gulf Coast Center for Law & Policy. It’s the actual outcome of those changes that must be experienced equally by all of the state’s residents, she said.

The task force also has to look into inequalities that exist.

And that review of the final plan’s effectiveness must also take into account the historic inequity experienced by the state’s residents, which is represented by the present major income gap between Black and White people. “It means a governance model that considers different kinds of questions than we’re used to,” said Ashleigh Gardere, a member of the equity committee and senior advisor with PolicyLink, a national institute advancing racial and economic equity. “Asking who benefits, who pays, who owns, who decides. It’s also about using data not only to make the case for climate action, but also to identify the most vulnerable communities and target resources to them. Measuring progress not only by emissions reductions, but also about whether or not we’re closing disparities.”

The Task Force will be holding meetings and any submissions can be submitted to:

Emission reduction action proposals may be submitted by the public by April 30. A four-section action proposal template, which includes 26 questions focusing on the proposal’s effect, feasibility and implementation, is available at the task force web site,

2050 Carbon Reduction might hurt Louisiana
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