In November 2020, Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards called to order the Climate Initiatives Task Force, first established with Executive Order 2020-18 earlier that year. The goals of the Task Force are threefold: (1) review current efforts to update the state’s greenhouse gas inventory, (2) to investigate and make recommendations for reducing greenhouse gas emissions in Louisiana and (3) develop policies and strategies to achieve net emissions reduction targets while improving the health and welfare of the people of Louisiana.
With a diverse group of experts from areas such as transportation, manufacturing, power production and land use, the task force aims to work alongside and build upon other state efforts to produce better outcomes for the people. This includes working with the state government, colleges, universities, the private sector and all Louisianians to promote an inclusive environment.
About the Climate Initiatives Task Force
The establishment of the Climate Initiatives Task Force is a response to an accumulation of data and science sourced from Louisiana’s Coastal Master Plan and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s 2018 Special Report Global Warming of 1.5 Degrees Celsius. These reports include information on greenhouse gas emissions and climate change that will directly impact Coastal Louisiana through sea-level rise. According to the 2017 Coastal Master Plan, sea-level rise and subsidence could result in the loss of 2,250 to 4,120 square miles of Louisiana land over the next 50 years. This loss threatens Louisiana residents, wildlife and the economy through increased flood risk and loss of habitat.
As Governor Edwards put it, global temperature rises and sea level changes along with other impacts of climate change will “harm the state’s natural and cultural heritage.”
To help avoid the worst impacts of climate change and sustain the Louisiana coast, the Task Force will be working to help the state achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. This long-term goal is supported by specific emissions reduction goals set for 2025 and 2030 which are outlined in the image below retrieved from the presentation at the Task Force’s first meeting in November.
The first at-large meeting outlined the climate crisis and its implications for the Gulf Coast Region, the structure and next steps of the Task Force, and the decision-making process that will be used to achieve the defined goals. To start, the Task Force recognized the potential risks for urban infrastructure, health risks and increased flooding in coastal and low-lying regions as a consequence of the climate crisis. Decisions will be supported by an analysis of various solutions, desired outcomes and responses to legal mandates and the integration of science and policy. The first meeting also outlined the advisory groups and committees that will provide support, including the Transportation Committee.
The Transportation Committee of the Climate Initiatives Task Force held their first meeting on December 1, 2020, to discuss the foundational steps of the committee, which will help to propel the work that has just begun. Louisiana Clean Fuels Executive Director Ann Vail was appointed a member of this committee and is excited to help shape a greener future for Louisiana.
“I am thrilled to be part of this esteemed committee,” Ann said of the appointment. “My two main goals are to keep our stakeholders informed of and involved in the process and to ensure that the task force has the most up-to-date, relevant and comprehensive information on the many means by which we can reduce GHG emissions in the transportation sector.”
The primary objectives of this committee will be: (1) reduce emissions specifically in the transportation sector, (2) maintain the viability of transportation providers, and (3) increase access to reliable, efficient and affordable transportation options. Additionally, the committee recognizes the necessity to move away from oil-based fuels and will consider how to prepare the EV grid for these industry shifts. The committee will also promote education about emissions and transportation efficacy as well as other strategies mentioned in the discussion of the fundamental objectives. A recording of the meeting can be found here.
PROGRESS AND CALL FOR IDEAS
Since last year, the Task Force has published their first Interim Report, detailing the purpose and members of each advisory group and committee, establishing a project timeline and goals, and describing the mission and values of the Climate Initiatives Task Force. The deliverable timeline, found below, is expanded upon in the last page of the report.
As shown above, the Task Force is currently calling on the public to comment on the process, materials published by the task force and committees, and on items discussed at the meetings. All public comments and thoughts should be sent to [email protected]. In the subject line of your email, please include reference to the Climate Initiatives Task Force and any specific agenda item # from the meeting you are commenting on. The body of your message should include your name and address before your comment.
The task force will also request project ideas from the public and AFV stakeholders on specific ways that Louisiana can reach its goal of Net Zero Emissions by 2050. For more information, view the recording of LCF’s 2021 Annual Stakeholder Meeting where Task Force members Terrence Chambers and Dr. Chuck Carr Brown were invited to discuss the state’s goals and share information on an upcoming online form for stakeholders to submit their GHG-reducing project ideas.
The Louisiana Climate Initiatives Task Force aims to identify strategies for reducing greenhouse gas emissions across all sectors of the Louisiana economy and society that will be included in the Task Force’s Final Climate Report. To develop comprehensive strategies that reflect the needs and expertise of all Louisianans, the Task Force has crafted an Action Template to solicit input from the public and members of the Climate Initiative groups. The Template provides background and instructions on how to complete an action proposal to the best of your ability during the solicitation period, which opens on February 24, 2021, and closes on April 30, 2021.
Please utilize the Action Template to submit completed action proposals to [email protected] by April 30, 2021. You may also mail a physical copy to the Governor’s Office of Coastal Activities, 1051 N 3rd Street, Baton Rouge, LA 70802. Alternatively, you may complete an action proposal using the online Google Form.
For more information on the Louisiana Climate Initiatives Task Force, please visit https://gov.louisiana.gov/page/climate-initiatives-task-force.