Image by KELLEPICS from Pixabay

The editors of The Advocate took a stance that a bit surprised me as they usually back oil which is contributing to what they decry.

The toll of death and suffering from hurricanes is only going to go up. That’s a hard lesson from the last few years. The costs of a warming Gulf of Mexico matter to the entire coastline, not just those of us in Louisiana. Not that we’re in a clear zone: “The hurricanes that we get, there’s a higher probability that they can bloom up into major hurricanes,” says Louisiana’s state climatologist Barry Keim. He was responding to a new United Nations report that focused on the areas bordering the Gulf — the southern United States, and also our friends in Mexico and Central America and the island nations around its periphery. The UN report called its catalog of impacts from climate change “an atlas of human suffering.” If it is a global problem, the local impacts of rising and warmer seas are tremendous.


These past five years have not been good the state, and the projections say it will only get worse.

Over the last five years, we’ve seen severe flooding in Louisiana, particularly from the giant semitropical rain dump of 2016 that hit the Baton Rouge area particularly hard. The next year, more than 50 inches of rain fell on the Texas and Louisiana coasts from Hurricane Harvey. The flooding in Houston cost billions in property damage. For southwestern Louisiana, it was the shape of things to come: In 2020 two major hurricanes slammed the region around Lake Charles. Hurricane Laura was one of the worst wind events in U.S. history, and Delta followed weeks later, hitting people who were still struggling with repairs to homes and businesses. And last year, Hurricane Ida sharpened into a Laura-sized storm in just a few days. Large parts of the greater New Orleans area were without power for days. The Houma area and parishes along the Mississippi River were extremely hard-hit. It is the last storm that ought to drive home the urgency of adaptation to a changing climate: Ida’s transformation from run-of-the-mill threat to destructive monster in just a few days made it difficult to respond, even with a lot of experience with Gulf storms.

The UN report looked at specifics but also looked in to the future.

The UN report pulls together a large number of specific weather events but also pulls back to look at the larger context of economic progress in the region. The South’s coastal states, and particularly Louisiana and Texas in energy production, are vital to the future of the country and the world. The UN report did find some higher ground, so to speak, including the far-reaching climate adaptation plan for south Florida and Miami. In Louisiana, the state’s Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority has a plan with “very specific projects” to replenish wetlands and rebuild barrier islands damaged by storms. Louisiana’s plans also include a climate response keyed to zero emissions by 2050, a dramatic goal endorsed by a panel of experts named by Gov. John Bel Edwards.

They come to the point and, then as usual, side with the dark side. Then they veer again to support renewables.

But in political terms, the UN report faulted Republican legislators across the largely GOP-led region for focusing on adaptation without enough emphasis on efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions or promote cleaner energy. We don’t think that’s entirely true because of the burgeoning wind and solar industries in, among other places, the Gulf. Louisiana’s commitment to wind power development is bipartisan. Industry is on board with the Edwards panel’s goals of reducing emissions and developing new approaches, like the $4.5 billion “blue hydrogen” project near Baton Rouge. Human suffering is a broad brush but fair enough: The challenges are so great and numerous that a variety of strategies will be required. We must adapt and change in many ways, for even if climate impacts are mitigated in the coming decades, the world — and the Gulf — will be a different region for our children and grandchildren.

These are good words but do they back them up with action? To they challenge the republicans in the legislature? They need to put their money where their mouth is.

Adapt or Die, The Advocate takes a stance
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