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Report Finds Industry Is Biggest Source Of Carbon Emissions In Louisiana

David Dismukes, LSU

Gov. John Bel Edwards has set a goal for the state to be carbon neutral by 2050. That’s going to take a lot of work. He created a special Climate Initiatives Task Force to come up with a plan, and on Thursday Climate Initiatives Task Forcethey reviewed an official report on the state’s emissions.

The inventory, done by David Dismukes at LSU’s Center for Energy Studies, finds that industries — like oil and gas, chemical plants and refineries — are the biggest emitters in the state. Some of the biggest emitters are Exxon, Sabine Pass LNG, a Donaldsonville fertilizer plant and CITGO.

The top 20 industrial facilities in Louisiana account for more than half of the state’s total emissions.

While that didn’t come as a surprise to the task force members, it does mean that in order to cut overall emissions, industry will play a big role. Using less electricity or cutting down on car emissions isn’t going to be enough.

Director of the Gulf Coast Center for Law & Policy and task force member, Colette Pichon Battle, said the report reiterates what her organization has been fighting for for years - it’s time to phase out big oil and gas.

“We have a bigger problem here,” she said. “In addition to the global climate crisis that we’re continuing to contribute to at a higher rate than the national average, our people are sick, our communities are dying - they’re actually sick because of the industry that we have here,” said Pichon Battle.

Advocacy groups are not happy with the report, saying it’s out of date because it doesn’t include any industry permitted after 2018.

In a press release, a coalition of groups said that if those facilities were included - permitted plants like the huge proposed Formosa plastics plant in St. James Parish — the report would show that industry is producing even MORE than half of the emissions, mostly in communities of color along the Mississippi River.

The last report was done in 2005.

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

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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