Coastal Desk

Tegan Wendland / WWNO

Native American tribes in Louisiana and Alaska are asking the United Nations for help. Tribal leaders say climate change is destroying their communities and forcing them to relocate.

Rising seas and bigger storms are threatening tribal communities all across the country. In Louisiana, several tribes live in areas along the coast that are washing away fast, due to coastal erosion, sea level rise and the erosion of canals carved by oil and gas companies.

Pattie Steib / Shutterstock

New research finds that oil and gas development in the gulf south will greatly increase greenhouse gas emissions.

Researchers from the University of Texas looked at existing – and planned – oil, gas and petrochemical infrastructure in Louisiana and Texas.

As the country turns away from heavily-polluting coal fired power plants and towards natural gas, the region has seen huge investments in LNG production.

But the researchers found that all of the new plants and refineries will produce as much pollution as 131 coal-fired power plants.

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

A new study by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers says the federal government should spend $3.2 billion to maintain the levee system around New Orleans over the next 50 years. The study recommends raising the levees and upgrading the flood protection systems in order to match the rising sea levels and sinking land.

In the Lower Ninth Ward, news of future flood risks puts residents on high alert.

Betsy Shepherd

Roughly 150 students from New Orleans gathered in front of City Hall Friday to participate in a nationwide demonstration to raise awareness for climate change. 

 

“We should be in the classroom learning and preparing for our semester exams right now, but we skipped school to teach our representatives about the importance and urgency of our climate crisis,” says Layla Harmon, a 16-year-old junior at Benjamin Franklin High School. 

 

Lancet Countdown on Health and Climate Change, 2019

Climate change will affect today’s children at every stage of their life. That’s one of the takeaways from a new study from the Lancet Countdown, a project of the medical journal The Lancet.

To talk more about the study, and what it means for the Gulf Coast, reporter Travis Lux spoke with Dr. Jeremy Hess. Hess is a professor of emergency medicine, environmental health, and global health at the University of Washington, and is one of the authors of the report.

Beardo62 / Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)

A bill that could increase the amount of royalty money Louisiana gets from offshore oil and gas drilling advanced in the U.S. Senate on Tuesday.

The bill, called the Conservation of America’s Shoreline Terrain and Aquatic Life Act, or COASTAL Act, is sponsored by Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-La). It would reduce how much oil and gas money goes to the federal government, and increase the amount that goes to states along the Gulf of Mexico -- Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama.

Travis Lux / WWNO

A network of advocacy organizations across the Gulf South has published regional Green New Deal policy platform that aims to build on the national policy of the same name.

The Green New Deal is a resolution in Congress that outlines several ways the country can address climate change. It emphasizes clean energy jobs, environmental justice, and transitioning away from fossil fuels. It’s a non-binding resolution -- so it would not change any laws, if passed.

For the last six months, advocacy organizations from Texas to Florida have been working on a regional version, called Gulf South for a Green New Deal.

It’s only midmorning, but shrimper Thomas Olander is already calling it quits for the day in a small bayou in St. Mary Parish, on the central Louisiana coast.

There aren’t enough shrimp out there — especially the highly sought-after jumbo shrimp that fetch the highest prices at the market.

“It's just not worth it,” Olander said, of his morning burning fuel, supplies and time.

When corn and soybean farmer Kenny Reichard stopped plowing some of his fields in northern Missouri in 1982, other farmers told him that it was a terrible decision that would lower his yields. 

“I’ve been told many times that no-till doesn’t work,” said Reichard, 62, who farms north of Brunswick in Chariton County. 

More than three decades later, state programs and agriculture initiatives are trying to encourage farmers to adopt no-till and other practices that reduce fertilizer runoff that contributes to the dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico. While many farmers think such methods are expensive, they’re critical to cleaning up the Mississippi River basin. 

Michael Isaac Stein / The Lens

Have you ever read a story about climate change, and by the end of the article thought, ”Great, now what?” Or maybe, “What do I do with that information? I have questions!”

The Coastal Desk of WWNO and WRKF wants to answer your questions about living with climate change for an upcoming project.

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