LA - Future of Louisiana climate task force uncertain as Jeff Landry transitions into governor's office
With coastal erosion and rising sea levels threatening to swallow the state, many Louisiana residents are familiar with the effects of climate change.
It was with these issues in mind that Gov. John Bel Edwards formed the Climate Initiatives Task Force in 2020—Louisiana's first-ever foray into studying and forming strategies to reduce the state’s greenhouse gas emissions.
Now Edwards is leaving office, and three years after its inception, the task force held its final meeting Thursday under Edward’s administration.
As Gov.-elect Jeff Landry plans his transition into office, the future of the task force is up in the air.
Shortly after winning his second term as governor, Edwards formed the Climate Initiatives Task Force by executive order in August 2020.
“Louisiana’s working coast is a national treasure,” the order reads, going on to explain the economic, ecological and sociological importance of the region.
The order also points to the fact that Louisiana’s coast is experiencing one of the fastest land losses in the world.
“. . .to improve our resilience, sustain our coast, and help avoid the worst impacts of climate change,” the order continues, “Louisiana must proactively work to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions that are driving up global temperatures, rising sea levels, and increasing the risks that threaten our health and safety, quality of life, economic growth, and vital habitats and ecosystems.”
The Climate Initiatives Task Force’s stated goal was to comment on ongoing efforts to reduce greenhouse gasses in the state and recommend further policies, strategies and incentives.
In 2022 the task force submitted a Climate Action Plan to the governor, outlining the steps that could lead Louisiana to net zero carbon emissions by 2050.
Two-thirds of Louisiana’s greenhouse gasses come from the industrial sector—a sharp figure, given that the national industrial sector accounts for 17% of the U.S.’s total emissions, according to data used by the Climate Action Plan.
The plan found electrifying Louisiana could usher in a greener future.
“Louisiana’s ultimate success will hinge upon a holistic and coordinated approach to these three interconnected policy pillars: renewable electricity generation, industrial electrification, and industrial fuel switching to low and no-carbon hydrogen,” the plan reads.
Aside from the industrial sector, 19% of Louisiana's greenhouse gasses are produced by transportation, 13% by electrical power, 1% by residential and 1% by commercial, according to data from the climate action plan.