Proposal seeks to address greenhouse gas emissions

Bring up the term climate change in a conversation, and you’re sure to provoke a reaction on either side of the spectrum. Some may dismiss the term altogether, while others may say there is solid proof of how it has impacted our planet.

Whatever your thoughts on it may be, one thing that can’t be ignored is how Louisiana’s coastline has eroded and continues to do so.

Over the last several years, state and local officials have led a crusade to protect and restore the fragile coastline. Now, our governor is putting forth a bold proposal that seeks to address greenhouse gas emissions caused by the state’s industries.

Gov. John Bel Edwards made the announcement last month at the LSU Center for River Studies, saying the biggest challenge comes from rising sea levels. He added that science also indicates greenhouse gas emissions as the main culprit for seal level rise.

It’s not something a Louisiana governor has announced before. It could be seen as a political gamble, but Edwards already clinched his second and final term as governor. He doesn’t have as much to lose. A lack of details or proposed regulations make it seem like a baby step of sorts.

Edwards said a Climate Initiatives Task Force will discuss what the state needs to do in terms of reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Carr Brown, secretary of the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality, said the task force will calculate the greenhouse gases released by industries and other sources.

The governor also understands the economic impact industries have on Louisiana and the nation. He said as much in his address, adding that any changes won’t be designed to hurt the state’s industries.

The lack of specifics in the proposal may be one reason why the Louisiana Mid-Continent Oil and Gas Association championed it and issued a news release, stating its interest in working alongside the governor on the effort. Not surprisingly, the Restore the Mississippi River Delta Coalition supported the plan.

Edwards’ plan is a starting point, but it’s important to start talking about the impact greenhouse gas emissions have and how they could alter the coastline if nothing is done to control them.

Opinions on climate change are varied, depending on who you talk to. However, protecting the coastline is something officials should continue to fight for. At least this proposal seeks to keep that fight going.Louisiana-coastline

Associated Press