Louisiana Climate Action Plan unanimously approved by task force

Staff Report

Gov. John Bel Edwards' Climate Initiatives Task Force unanimously approved the state's first Climate Action Plan.

According to a news release from the governor, the plan contains recommendations to limit climate change while maintaining the state's "economic competitiveness in a low-carbon future."

The plan sets out to reach net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. It puts Louisiana in line with pledges made under the Paris Agreement, and by the federal government, 25 other states, and many companies.

In a file photo, Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards speaks during a conference on Hurricane Ida.

“Today represents a step forward on a new path toward a brighter future for our climate and for our economy,” stated Gov. Edwards. “I am sincerely grateful for the leadership and commitment shown by every member of this Task Force. They confronted a difficult issue with immense implications for our state with dedication, commitment, and integrity. While creating consensus around these strategies was not always easy, they ultimately chose action over inaction. I thank them for their work and look forward to continuing the partnership as we move this plan into implementation.”

The plan contains 28 strategies and 84 specific actions to reduce emissions. It was developed over a 15-month process that was conducted over 49 public meetings.

“From the outset, it was clear that this planning effort had to grapple with more than just greenhouse gas emissions,” stated Harry Vorhoff, the chairman’s designee on the Climate Initiatives Task Force and Deputy Director of the Governor’s Office of Coastal Activities. “Addressing climate change has significant implications for our communities, environment, and economy. Each of those perspectives was reflected in the membership of our Task Force and committees, which helped us maximize co-benefits and avoid potential harms in each recommendation for taking climate action.”

According to the release, some 66 percent of the state's emissions are concentrated in the industrial sector, particularly the refining, chemical manufacturing, and natural gas processing facilities

Another 19 percent of emissions are from the transportation sector, while another 13 percent are from electric power generation.

“The Water Institute of the Gulf was proud to provide scientific and planning support to the Climate Initiatives Task Force as it weighed the best approaches to tackling climate change in Louisiana,” statedAlyssa Dausman, Senior Vice President and Chief Scientist at the Water Institute of the Gulf. “Together our team was able to provide the Task Force with both qualitative and quantitative information across a wide swath of metrics and objectives to help inform their deliberations within a fast-moving planning process.”

The Climate Action Plan contains recommendations spanning eight sections:

  • Clean Energy Transition 
  • Industrial Decarbonization 
  • Actively Managed Methane Emissions 
  • Transportation, Development, and the Built Environment 
  • Natural and Working Lands and Wetlands 
  • An Inclusive, Low-Carbon Economy 
  •  Collaboration and Partnership to Ensure Successful Implementation 
  • Accountability and Adaptability to Ensure Lasting Success 

The plan also includes three priority policy pillars: renewable electricity generation, industrial electrification, and industrial fuel switching to low- and no-carbon hydrogen.

“It’s been an honor to be a part of this Task Force,” stated Task Force member and partner at Breazeale, Sachse & Wilson, LLP, Tim Hardy. “The weather events, the climate events that we have seen in recent years leave no doubt that we need to act. The impacts to communities are no longer speculative; they are real. To take climate action, we need a workforce ready for the low carbon future. As a member of the Board of Supervisors for the Louisiana Community & Technical College System Worker, I am happy to see this plan recognizes that workforce training will be critical for our workers and communities as we transition to more renewable sources of energy.”