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Gov. Edwards Sets 2050 Carbon-Neutrality Goal For Louisiana

Listening Coast
Louisiana is losing about a football field's worth of land every hour and a half, which is expected to accelerate unless climate change is slowed.

Gov. John Bel Edwards has unveiled a plan to make the state carbon-neutral by 2050.

Edwards signed two executive orders at a Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority meeting Wednesday, creating a Climate Initiatives Task Force and a new position: chief resilience officer.

The task force will recommend pathways for reducing and capturing carbon emissions, like restoring wetlands and investing in solar and wind energy.

Louisiana is the fifth-largest carbon producer of all the states, and a major petrochemical and oil and gas producer.

Edwards said Louisiana feels a disproportionate impact from climate change in the form of rising seas, bigger storms, heavier rain and extreme heat.

“The problems we’re having in Louisiana with water management, coastal erosion and so forth — many other states are going to have these problems later on,” he said.

The plan is already drawing broad support from environmental groups like the National Audubon Society and the Environmental Defense Fund.

The Louisiana Mid-Continent Oil and Gas Association, an industry group that will have a voting member on the task force, issued a statement saying, “The oil and natural gas industry is tackling our climate challenges head on.”

Edwards is the 25th governor to commit to emissions reductions laid out in the 2015 Paris Climate Accords.

Support for the Coastal Desk comes from the Greater New Orleans Foundation and the Walton Family Foundation.

Tegan has reported on the coast for WWNO since 2015. In this role she has covered a wide range of issues and subjects related to coastal land loss, coastal restoration, and the culture and economy of Louisiana’s coastal zone, with a focus on solutions and the human dimensions of climate change. Her reporting has been aired nationally on Planet Money, Reveal, All Things Considered, Morning Edition, Marketplace, BBC, CBC and other outlets. She’s a recipient of the Pulitzer Connected Coastlines grant, CUNY Resilience Fellowship, Metcalf Fellowship, and countless national and regional awards.

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